Allie’s review of Outliers: The Story of Success > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Jeweleye (new)

Jeweleye Right on! When I reviewed the book, I considered whether to ask why he didn't discuss how women are affected by the lack of opportunity and luck that men take for granted, or at least point out the disparity to explain why no women were featured. Would that I had and I'm glad you nailed him on it.


message 2: by Bogdan (new)

Bogdan (I wonder how getting comments to 5 months old reviews feels like)

I noticed this as well at some point, but on the bright side, some of the chapters feature the wrong kind of outliers (such as the plane-crash one, or the Chris Langan one). So you could consider these as -1 for the men ... or +1 for the other team.

And you also missed the one about the young KIPP student, who I thought was worth more than two Howards or Turners from Kentucky.


message 3: by Laura (new)

Laura I think that the smaller ratio of female outliers just drives home the points that Gladwell makes about opportunities driving success. It's no secret that women have always had to fight for opportunity in a predominantly "man's world" and it would make perfect sense as to why there would be fewer female outlier examples to cite. He clearly points out that so many of the events in his examples were intertwined with cultural beliefs and shaped by the societal values of the times. Why must anyone feel that he had an obligation to use "equal opportunity" examples? Next people will be complaining that he didn't cover all races and ethnicities. Gender bias was and is real, and is all part of the history.


message 4: by Sin (new)

Sin I really don't understand comments like this.
So do you suggest that every book should have the same number of male and female characters?
Homosexuals and heterosexuals?
Russians and Americans?



message 5: by Pritam (new)

Pritam Exactly, calling someone sexist, just because they didn't use female characters makes no sense at all. What if he didn't use any examples of Latino outliers or Black outliers. Would that make him a racist?


message 6: by Jeweleye (new)

Jeweleye Actually I think the criticisms were simply aimed at pointing out the cultural bias in his case studies. As Laura points out, the paucity of female outliers drives home the point Gladwell makes about opportunities driving success. It isn't that he should have included more female outliers, but perhaps he could have noted their lack and drawn a conclusion from his observation.


message 7: by Sydney (new)

Sydney Young I completely agree that it distracted from my enjoyment of the book that there weren't any women success stories out there. And don't say that its because there aren't any women success stories, because there are plenty. I'm glad to know that other women felt the same way. I still read the book and finished it, but was disappointed with this glaring omission.


message 8: by Bill (new)

Bill While I agree it is not right to say that there are not any women success stories, I think it is fair that you offer a few examples you feel should have been included.


message 9: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Robinson I noticed that too, it bothered me, but then there's the epilogue. Daisy, Gladwell's grandmother, to whom the book is dedicated, has a whole chapter and is clearly the outlier who started it all for Malcolm G.


message 10: by Patrina (new)

Patrina Pink I agree I felt as if his reference to his mother was an attempt at dropping in a token woman. Her story was by far the most unremarkable.


message 11: by Calvin (new)

Calvin Christopher Wow, all you women conveniently skipped the author's epilogue, which focused on not one but two women.

Please do your homework before labeling someone sexist


message 12: by Sue (new)

Sue I felt the last chapter about the author's own mother was more about his own success and why he was who he was. His mother achieved many things in life that are similar to what we can all achieve if we look for opportunities: education, successful family, writing a book. She didn't strike me as a Bill Gates but as someone who took advantage of her fate. So I have to agree. . . where were the women outliers?


message 13: by Edie (new)

Edie I agree the Epilogue does pay homage to his mother but I would like to believe that there are female Outliers ie, Oprah Winfrey,Hillary Clinton to name a couple. I am curious why he did not feature them.


message 14: by Theann (new)

Theann Faucher His focus, I think, was generationally based. All the big successful generations were in the distant past--a world where women didn't compete. Women didn't start becoming their own official success stories until recently. Therefore there isn't enough data to produce information on a generation of successful women.


message 15: by Jaclyn (new)

Jaclyn I definitely felt the absence of any female outliers. I would have appreciated Gladwell mentioning something as to why he left female stories out. I don't think that would be asking too much. On the other hand, I truly enjoyed this book.


message 16: by Lynn (new)

Lynn I was born in 1955. Kept waiting for him to note that you could become an accomplished computer nerd if you were born in 1955 and born MALE. I think you are
Correct; he was totally blind to this bias.


message 17: by David (new)

David Quijano Good comments.


message 18: by Jaseem (new)

Jaseem wow! I didn't even think about it. thank you for the eye opener.


message 19: by Maura (new)

Maura Satchell That never occurred to me either. The end does pay homage to his mother, but I see your point. Thank you for pointing it out to me.


message 20: by Annie (new)

Annie Liu The same thought first came to me when I read this bit " Gate's father was a wealthy lawyer in Seattle, and his mother was the daughter of a well-to-do banker." So typical


message 21: by Zoe (new)

Zoe I read this, as a woman, and didn't even notice the lack of female outliers. Some people are over sensitive to these things :) great read I thought!


message 22: by Keri (new)

Keri This is such a great point. Thank you for sharing this opinion. I agree that Gladwell fails to include high profile women in his story.


message 23: by Brian (new)

Brian Smith Accuracy aside, disregarding the info because it ignores one's acceptable social standards is kinda why people crash airplanes into mountains...


message 24: by Andrea (new)

Andrea I think the lack of spoken female accomplishments is actually right on target with why you don't hear about the failures as much as you hear about the accomplishments. The opportunity and chance aspect is already stacked against women born into mostly patriarchal societies, and given the lack of discussion in history classes, technology and other sectors outside of Women's History Month furthers his point. You have to be born at a certain time, in a certain place, within certain environments and with certain attributes that allow success to be "easier" than those who don't have all that stacked up for them.


message 25: by Karen (new)

Karen Great point. I hadn't thought of it, and I am a woman. It would have been nice to see women included. I think the lack of female outliers in this book reflects our society, it has really been only recently that women were given opportunity in the fields of their choice.


message 26: by Ilse (last edited Nov 22, 2017 09:58AM) (new)

Ilse What Gladwell fails to mention when he talks about his success stories is that they are male. Being male is the fundamental reason they were put in those situations. It is not lack of female examples that is the problem. Look around you. Most females are not brought up to believe they can succeed and definitely have fewer doors open to them. I explained my opinion to my husband and he said that gender is a part of the bigger picture that Gladwell does not address. Bigger picture including race and class.


message 27: by Karen (new)

Karen I think Gladwell addresses the issue indirectly with the use of the word help. I think he basically used examples of people he had easy access too or those whose stories he knew. He certainly could have gone into more depth on the sex, race side of the issue of Help, but that didn't seem to be the point of his book. So I'm not sure we can criticize him for the scope he chose for his book. I didn't think the point of the book was success. I thought the point of the book was that to succeed in any field, one must put in at least 10,000 hours of intense study and one must have help, no matter what color they are, how intelligent they are, or what sex they are. He's mixed himself. If I remember correctly he discussed his mother, a black woman who received help. Could he have mentioned that help is sometimes harder for women and non whites to receive? Yes, but I don't think that was the point he was trying to make. And I'm not sure he can be faulted for that.


message 28: by Merry (new)

Merry Clark Wholeheartedly agree. Most people do not realize they are sexist or racist. But we all are to some degree


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship Pretty weird to say he "included" women by including his grandmother, when her big achievement was in a support role - getting her daughters through school. Her daughters don't really seem to be "outliers" either - it's Gladwell himself who's famous, not his mom.


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