Greg's Reviews > Outliers: The Story of Success

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
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Jan 05, 12

bookshelves: personal-development, professional-development, thought-provoking, history-and-biography, reference
Read from December 26 to 31, 2011, read count: 1

With Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell has given us a fascinating perspective on some variables that might help cut through the confusion as to how we can best bring out the talents and potential of the rising generation. And not only them, but all of us. The book is well-known by now, and has been adequately summarized by others. Sometimes, other reviewers have downgraded it because it wasn’t more academically rigorous, but it was, after all, written by a journalist and has a different purpose than a more statistically sound piece of research.

I suspect that Gladwell’s purpose in writing was simply to raise awareness in the general population of some of the things we are not doing very well, and the negative impact it is having on society as a while and individuals in particular whose potential is undermined. For that purpose, I found it well-worth reading (or listening to, as I did).

Gladwell’s main points are that we give too much attention to the innate talents that people seem to have, and not enough to variables outside their control, such as culture, familial inheritance (genetics), generational implications, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their childhood and youth. If we can recognize the power these things have to help determine who gets special attention and resources (and ultimately who succeeds in life), then perhaps we can re-organize to better tap into the potential of more people. At the very least, parents can understand how better to help support their children’s growth and the emergence and development of their talents.
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