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Outliers: The Story of Success

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  360,715 Ratings  ·  19,007 Reviews
In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that
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Audio, 5 Cassette
Published November 1st 2008 by Hachette Audio (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
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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
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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
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Allie
Dec 29, 2008 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
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Stephanie
Interesting and anecdotal book on how success occurs and how society in general may offer broader opportunities for achievement.

I read Outliers: The Story of Success for a real-life book discussion at work. This was a highly engaging read that contained anecdotal information to come to some conclusion on how "outliers" became successful. Examples ranged from hockey to mathematics to computer programming.

A compelling theory was made about how kids in public school are pegged to a learning lev
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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.
David
Nov 14, 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.
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
Jonathan
Dec 05, 2008 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
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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
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Jason
May 11, 2011 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
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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,
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seak
Apr 09, 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
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Claudia
Jan 19, 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
Nov 19, 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
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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
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Siddharth
Jan 12, 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
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David
Sep 10, 2011 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
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!"
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
Amir
Oct 07, 2016 Amir rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: productivity, success
Recommend to: If you like exploring phenomenon beyond their appearance and if you enjoy story-telling writings about factual subjects, here: success

What this book is about: Here, the famous columnist, Malcolm Gladwell deeply investigates the topic of success and people or nations with far beyond average achievements whom he calls "outliers" to figure out what has contributed to their accomplishments.

Pros
The way Gladwell observes and concludes is really enticing. How observes and concludes is int
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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
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Gautam
Oct 09, 2016 Gautam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paradigm-shifter
A well-researched subject put down to plausible conclusions through inductive reasoning. Gladwell did a commendable job in bringing this subject of success into a logical paradigm that is both palatable and eye-opening.
Riku Sayuj
Jul 14, 2011 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.
Sara Alaee
Oct 10, 2013 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
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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
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Cher
Oct 30, 2013 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
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Miriam
Aug 16, 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
Ruth
Nov 20, 2008 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
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Usman Hickmath
Apr 30, 2017 Usman Hickmath rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt have in common? Why do they standout from all the other IT startups of 70s and 80s? Why people from particular part of the world are good in Maths? How an average kid, who don’t perform better in sports than a naturally talented kid, performs well with age when given a chance? Why pilots coming from certain background have a better safety record?

Gladwell has answered all these questions and many more with analysis and references to support. Cases he h
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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.” 799 likes
“Who we are cannot be separated from where we're from.” 319 likes
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