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Outliers: The Story of Success

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  333,989 Ratings  ·  17,682 Reviews
There is a story that is usually told about extremely successful people, a story that focuses on intelligence and ambition. Gladwell argues that the true story of success is very different, and that if we want to understand how some people thrive, we should spend more time looking around them-at such things as their family, their birthplace, or even their birth date. And i ...more
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Published July 1st 2010 by Little, Brown & Company (first published January 1st 2008)
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Aurelien Well, there's no prescriptive component because, that's not the point of the author to provide one. What he is doing here is, trying to find out what…moreWell, there's no prescriptive component because, that's not the point of the author to provide one. What he is doing here is, trying to find out what differentiate great successes ('outliers') from other successful endeavours. His argument might seem naïve at first (I had a bit of a trouble swallowing it) but, his multiple examples are quite convincing in the end. Actually, keeping with that line of thinking that is, hard work and golden opportunities -helping to work even harder- serving people coming out of age right at the time when a society is ripe for their so hardly won skills, we can find even more examples. What about the astronauts having pioneered the space age? Same pattern. I am sure we can find more! (less)
Előd Szabó Yes. It is not enough to spend 10.000 hours on a subject, but it has to be "deep practice". Let's say you play the violin, you have a bad teacher, who…moreYes. It is not enough to spend 10.000 hours on a subject, but it has to be "deep practice". Let's say you play the violin, you have a bad teacher, who does not help you to love playing the violin, your parents force you to play, they are angry with you, if you don't deliver the results. You can excercise as much as possible, but it will be in vein. Only those books are popular in this topic, which gives you a simple, one-dimensional answer, but this way you will not be able to bring up genius. If you are ready to accept to complexity of this question, then try this: https://goo.gl/hJo1x9(less)
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Rebecca
Dec 06, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, political
Gladwell argues that success is tightly married to opportunity and time on task. He states that it takes approximately 10,000 hours to master something and that gives me comfort. It helps me feel better about my many failures at initial attempts to master things (like glazing pottery, algebra, Salsa dancing, skiing and sewing... to name a few). I kept thinking, "I've just got to put in more hours if I want to do better."

While I can see a different way of spinning the data provided to support Gl
...more
Trevor
I know, you don’t think you have the time and there are other and more important books to read at the moment, but be warned, you do need to read this book.

There are a number of ways I can tell a book will be good; one of those ways is if Graham has recommended it to me (how am I going to cope without our lunches together, mate?). And there is basically one way for me to I know that I’ve really enjoyed a book, and that is if I keep telling people about it over and over again. Well, not since Pred
...more
Bill  Kerwin

When I think about Malcolm Gladwell, the first phrase that comes to mind is "less than meets the eye."

At first glance, his work seems thoroughly researched, even visionary at times. Beginning with a few maverick, counter-intuitive insights, he often ends with an affirmation of consensus, but it is a consensus that has been broadened by investigation and enriched by nuance.

On second look, however, I'm no longer sure any of this is true. What first appeared to be new insights are nothing but fami
...more
Allie
Dec 03, 2013 Allie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't exactly read this book - Joe and I listened to it in the car on the way home from visiting family for Christmas. I really enjoyed it, and was very fascinated by certain parts of it, especially the sections about the Beatles, computer programmers and Korean co-pilots.

But my enjoyment of the book was marred by the glaring absence of any well-known female "outliers." By chapter four or so, I noticed it and mentioned it to Joe, and then it just kept getting worse to the point that it was comi
...more
David
Nov 22, 2008 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture-society
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve
Dec 16, 2008 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Occasionally insightful, but Gladwell's science is pretty junky. His reasons for success change by the page. And he cherry-picks examples to exactly fit the scheme under consideration. Plus, he's obsessed with callbacks and summary statements that only showcase the faulty connections between ideas.
Jonathan
Mar 24, 2011 Jonathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Here's what I wrote earlier. I have to admit to the more I think and talk about the book, the less I think of it. It all seems too superficial.

A pretty interesting book, albeit with not quite as many "knock me over with a feather" moments as Blink. It starts off with a bang, as he discusses amateur hockey teams and how it was noticed that virtually all the players on an Under-18 hockey team came from the first three months of the year. Turns out the age cutoff is January 1 in Canada, so the olde
...more
Eric
Dec 19, 2008 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can save you the trouble of reading the book: smart people don't automatically become successful, they do so because they got lucky. This rule applies to everyone including the likes of Bill Gates and Robert Oppenheimer. That's it. That's what the whole book is about. Gladwell looks at case after case of this: Canadian hockey players, Korean airline pilots, poor kids in the Bronx, Jewish lawyers, etc... Even with all this evidence it feels like he's pulling in examples that fit his theory and ...more
Adam
Dec 30, 2008 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
People are criticizing this book because it is not a journal article. Well guess what: we're not all sociologists. I have read plenty of journal articles in my own field (law). I'm in no position to read journal articles in fields outside my own. Having a well-written piece of mass-market writing is just the thing I need to access this information.

Another criticism of the book is that Gladwell is the "master of the anecdote." Well, it seems to me that ALL SOCIAL SCIENCE is in some sense anecdota
...more
Jason
Apr 23, 2012 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-kindle, reviewed
I skimmed this book instead of reading it. I didn’t entirely love it.

Although the author makes some interesting points, I find some of the correlations he tries to draw a little silly. Like the Italian community in Pennsylvania where people are healthier and live longer because they have a sense of “community” or the fact that Southerners react more violently to certain situations than Northerners because they derive from a “culture of honor.” Sounds like extrapolated horseshit to me, especially
...more
seak
Jul 23, 2013 seak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2013
Outliers. Or as it should be called, "Outliers don't exist." I not only couldn't put it down, but my wife feels like she's read it now too.

It starts with a story about a town whose inhabitants only ever die from old age (i.e., not from cancer or ANY OTHER problem) and quickly goes into a story about hockey players in Canada.

For some reason the best hockey players are born in January through March and rarely any time after. The reason - it's all because of the date of the cut-off for playing hoc
...more
Hank Mishkoff
Well, it's official: Malcolm Gladwell has run out of things to say.

His prose is still lively and entertaining, and he maintains his famous I-look-at-things-differently-than-anyone-else attitude, but "Outliers" has so little meat that it would have more appropriately been published as a magazine article.

I think that the main value of reading Gladwell is that he plants a seed in your brain that encourages you to seek unconventional explanations for familiar phenomena. That's a very healthy thing,
...more
Claudia
Mar 20, 2009 Claudia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all non-fiction fans
Recommended to Claudia by: Bob and Shirley
Shelves: nonfiction
"Outliers" those wildly successful people, for whom 'normal rules don't apply.' Are they just lucky, talented? Maybe...but, outliers may not be outliers after all...after reading the entire book, I was slapped by that at the very end. Gladwell looks closely at success, and those who seem to have waltzed into incredible success...Canadian hockey players, who just happened to have been born in the right month of the year; Bill Gates, who just happened to go to a school where the PTA moms bought a ...more
Ben
Dec 28, 2008 Ben rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in sociology or the oustide factors involved with success.
Shelves: sociology
This is not a feeling oriented review like those that seem to be getting esteem here. While this is a well-researched and easily readable book that makes some interesting points, most of its contents are pure common sense.

In a world so highly populated with such strong inequities, of course there will be a lot of luck and chance involved with how someone turns out, aside from those that result from innate ability. You already knew that, right? So, shouldn't specific ideas and remedies be offere
...more
أشرف فقيه
لنتخيل معاً رسمة بيانية.. تتبعثر القيم على سطحها. لنتخيل أن معظم هذه القيم متمركزة معاً في منطقة ما من الرسمة، ولنتصور أيضاً قيماً أخرى قليلة مبعثرة بعيداً عن زميلاتها.. محلقة بعيداً عن الأغلبية.
في علم الإحصاء، فإن هذه النقاط أو القيم البعيدة تسمى قيماً شاذة أو متطرفة –Outliers باللغة الإنجليزية- والكلمة تطلق كذلك على كل ماهو خارج السياق الطبيعي ضمن مجموعته. تلك هي التسمية التي اختارها (مالكوم غلادويل) لكتابه والذي حقق شهرة مدوية وتصدر لائحة المبيعات خلال العام الماضي.
يقول (غلادويل) أن كتابه يهد
...more
Siddharth
Jan 20, 2013 Siddharth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"If only I'd read this book earlier," the old man sighed. He shook his head sadly. "I was at the wrong end of the cut-off age. I'd have made a champion swimmer...". His voice trailed off.
"Hmmm."
He sighed again. "Then there's this 10000 hour rule. What the hell am I supposed to do about it now? The only thing I have 10000 hours practice is of scrunching my nose when my wife farts. And even that is more due to habit now. You get used to the smell pretty quickly." He shook his head again. "It's the
...more
Sarah
Dec 05, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the unabridged copy while driving to/from Thanksgiving. Gladwell's books are often controversial because he tends to present only one side -- HIS side -- of an argument and gloss over anything that doesn't jive with his view. That said, the guy knows how to write and how to tell a story. His examples of why our success may be due to random uncontrollable factors like birthdate, family upbrining, and cultural background never fail to make me think "huh...that's interesting!"
Kressel Housman
This has got to be Malcolm Gladwell’s best book yet, and coming from a fan like me, that’s saying something!

As the subtitle states, this is a book of success stories, and true to his usual style, Gladwell draws on a diverse and interesting set of examples and presents a unique thesis on the ingredients it takes to make a person a success. The first half of the equation is much like Carol Dweck’s thesis in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success . Hard work matters much more than raw talent. In
...more
David
May 28, 2012 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Malcolm Gladwell writes very interesting and entertaining books. J.R.R. Tolkein writes very interesting and entertaining books as well. However, after reading Tolkein, I did not venture out into the world in search of hobbits, dwarves and elves to be my new friends, or worry about being attacked by trolls. Tolkein's books, while entertaining, have little connection to reality. Unfortunately, the same can be said about Gladwell. "Outliers" is a series of well-written and interesting essays along ...more
Chloe
Malcolm, meet Fonzie. Fonzie, Malcolm. I think you two will get along well together now that you’ve both jumped the shark. I never wanted to introduce the two of them, but I sort of feel obligated to after reading Outliers. In this, his third book, Gladwell stretches his sociological study of all things common sense to its ultimate breaking point. The cover touts the book as an answer to the long-standing question that thousands have tried to answer before him: why is it that some people succeed ...more
Riku Sayuj
Feb 04, 2012 Riku Sayuj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My first exposure to Gladwell. SO was more or les blown away by the ideas. Have grown more conservative in acceptance of his views as I have grown familiar with his topics through other books. But still an eminently quotable book.
Miriam
Sep 01, 2008 Miriam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A completely fascinating account of why some people succeed and some don't--from when a person is born to the number of hours they go to school to circumstance. This will be of interest to anyone who is thinking about when to start their kids in school, people interested in education policy, ok, everybody. But I'm DEFINITELY sending one to my dad who was an elementary school principal and now is a mentor to principals. The stuff about how schools in the US are run and how just changing how vacat ...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
More pop science from Gladwell. The premise is people need more than talent to succeed, they need opportunity. Everything from when you were born, your ethnic background, and your economic status can affect your chances to succeed in life.
Gladwell gives us one anecdotal example after another, and it's interesting, but hard to put into use. So, all the big Silicon Valley computer heads were born within a certain range of years. What do I DO with that?
On the other hand, the fact that even with acc
...more
Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
While Gladwell does occasionally go off on tangents, and while there are some examples which seem superfluous or out-of-the-blue, this is a breeze to read, and Gladwell's enthusiasm and passion really bleeds through the pages. It's nice to read a nonfiction book with as much heart as this one had. Plus, the underlying theme is an important one.

Away with our underdog tales, our teary stories of triumph over adversity with the only boon being the protagonist's big brain and ambition! Away with ou
...more
Cher
Mar 25, 2016 Cher rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, nonfiction
2.5 stars - It was alright, an average book.

Interesting premise with well illustrated examples - will make you think about successful people in a different way. Also made me feel as though I have been utterly cheated by being born in the last week of the year. The author at times uses weak "evidence"/arguments though, and over-explains his ideas.
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Favorite Quote: It's not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It's w
...more
Charlthony
Sep 09, 2014 Charlthony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book is white. White is often associated with surrender. I surrendered my soul to this book. It is, without doubt, the finest achievement that humankind has ever achieved. The main point of this book is about success.Success,everyone want to be succeed,but what can we do to achieve this dream?This book can tell you what you want,you can find your bosom friend forever,the story will inspire you when you are in the bottom,it can encourage you when you are fighting for your dream and give you
...more
Sara Alaee
Sep 09, 2015 Sara Alaee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ALL
In only 3 words I can sum up my feeling towards this book: IT IS AWESOME!
The whole point of the book is that outliers are not outliers in ways we might sense they are - which is through intelligence, self-determination or even hard work. Rather, a series of major, somewhat uncontrollable factors have been playing roles in their success. (For those of you who don’t know who/what an outlier is, here is a concise definition from Oxford dictionary: “A person or thing differing from all other member
...more
Hanne
Mar 03, 2014 Hanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Over the past week, I’ve started half a dozen sentences with “I’m reading this book by Malcolm Gladwell and …”. That’s immediately a big thumbs up for me because it implies that this book gave me everything I want from a non-fiction book: to teach me something new and interesting, but also to give me something to think and talk about.
With Blink and The Tipping Point, Michael Gladwell already wrote a few books I really enjoyed reading, and this one definitely strikes gold once again.

Outliers sta
...more
Ruth
Jul 22, 2009 Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'd heard about this book, so when it came in the library the other day, I cracked it open to see what it was like. I couldn't put it down. I checked it out, jumping the line (librarian's priviledge!), and proceeded to devour it.

It reminded me very much of "Freakonomics", as Gladwell analyzed what made rich and successful people rich and successful. He dismissed the idea of an "overnight success", showing that anyone could become expert at anything, from piano to computer programming, if they j
...more
S.Baqer Al-Meshqab
Outliers is a freaky book indeed. Malcolm brilliantly outlines a set of reasons for why people become successful. Did you always believe that you had to be the smartest of the smartest with an IQ boosting up to the roof in order to find a place in the hierarchical ladder of Success? Think again. According to Gladwell, you only have to be smart "enough"(and of course some other conditions are in play).

All Can be summarized in two main words: Opportunities, and Culture. The author explains his re
...more
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HMSA Summer Reading: Book Review: Outliers The Story of Success 1 6 Aug 04, 2016 08:20PM  
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Malcolm Gladwell is a United Kingdom-born, Canadian-raised journalist now based in New York City. He is a former business and science writer at the Washington Post. He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996. He is best known as the author of the books The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (2000), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), Outliers ...more
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“Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good.” 742 likes
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