Outliers: The Story of Success Outliers discussion


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AustinMen We had a good discussion on this book.


Kressel Housman I loved it, especially the 10,000 hour rule. So inspiring.


Akshay Yep , 10000 hour rule was great chapter.


Marsha Bridgeman Fellow teachers and I conducted a book talk about this one. I loved it so much that I downloaded it to my Kindle.


Michael I hated this book with a fiery passion!


Annemarie Donahue Loved this book!


Tallulah A. Scribbles Michael wrote: "I hated this book with a fiery passion!"

why?


Kathleen I loved this book. The 10000 hours chapter made so much sense. I really enjoy Malcolm's work in general.


message 9: by Bob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bob A good one to look at next is The Talent Code. It's very good on what happens in the brain to require that 10,000 hours and how the process can be helped.


Tallulah A. Scribbles Bob wrote: "A good one to look at next is The Talent Code. It's very good on what happens in the brain to require that 10,000 hours and how the process can be helped."

Thanks for the suggestion. I will add it to my reading list.


Michael Tallulah wrote: "Michael wrote: "I hated this book with a fiery passion!"

why?"


It had a wrong view about success, so you are successful based on the year you were born? what travesty!


message 12: by Bob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bob That's one particular incidence connected with the dates that trials for hockey players are held. He makes the point that, for young kids, holding trials only once a year makes some kids months older, depending on their birthdays, which is an important difference at that age. Succeed in the trials and you get access to coaching that will develop your abilities.
I think The Talent Code is better at making the link with good coaching, but his main point is that you need to work on it to get good at it. I suspect that Michael hasn't really read the book, as that point is repeated over and over again.
Success has nothing to do with birth year, except where birth year meant access. Mozart was never going to become a great computer programmmer and that was all to do with him being born at the wrong time. Bill Gates could become a code writer at an early age because his school had computers. If he'd been born ten years earlier, he'd have had a job doing something else when computers came along and would have probably been too busy to have spent the time writing and building experience. That's the only way he refers to success and birth year. Throughout the book, he goes back again and again to the fact that you don't become successful without work. There are no easy options.


message 13: by Matt (new) - rated it 4 stars

Matt All of Gladwell's books are like this. Take something "everybody knows" and turn it on it's head, dig into it from angles that very few people have thought of. Sort of like Freakonomics, but much better written and with much more time spent on each topic.

As a contrarian, he isn't so much trying to present absolutes about how the world really works. He's trying to get us to understand the topic better by forcing us into a new perspective. And that is an incredibly valuable gift to everyone who reads his books.

My biggest complaint about Gladwell is he doesn't write enough books.


Kressel Housman Matt wrote: "My biggest complaint about Gladwell is he doesn't write enough books."

Yeah, I've been wondering when his next would be out. Perhaps he feels OUTLIERS can't be beat.


message 15: by Bob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bob Thebook after Outliers is What The Dog Saw. It's a collection of his essays. Some excellent, some just ok.


Israel Adetokunbo Emmanuel One of the best books I've read ever. Engaging. Down-to-earth. Makes sense. Provoking. Need to read again.


message 17: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Gottschalk This is a favorite of mine. The 10,000 hours discussion is particularly persuasive: it's hard to be truly successful without being fully prepared, but being prepared just isn't enough. As Gladwell illustrates with hockey players and Silicon Valley, you've got to the be prepared for the opportunities that exist in your world.


message 18: by CD (new) - rated it 3 stars

CD Outliers is a book that I initially rated as three stars, now to my chagrin and embarrassment. The rating can be corrected and this discussion may encourage me to grit my teeth and reread some or all of the book. Then I will feel even better about downgrading it to the one or two stars I now feel it deserves, at most.

This is a seductive 'feel good' book that repeatedly refutes the basic premises it purports are intrinsic to or allied with success. If one plays the same kind of mental thought experiment that is used over and over again in this work, it should be apparent that at most points it is at best, circular logic interruptus. Or something like that. Even the definitions of success are on cursory examination vague and incomplete.

The first two examples, discussion/chapters, in this work alone are not good start upon more than casual reflection. The example of the people living longer is all well and good, but further study, which was more than hinted at in the 'referenced originally research' almost completely dispels anything other than a extraordinarily strong genetic component as a the reasons for their longevity and vitality. Community has this cultural appeal at the moment that Gladwell either intentionally exploits or is caught on the intellectual shaky ground of many others.

Hockey, the second example or illustration used, isn't merely this numbers game the author Gladwell tries to sell us on. He wants us to believe both that it is and is not related to age, birth month, etc. Pick one if you are going to make a strong case for analysis. Yes, birth month doesn't mean by itself anything. Combined with what the rules say about how you enter the system of hockey it does make a difference. So it is important. Then notice he doesn't use Wayne Gretzky and his experience either. I don't see anywhere in his analysis that until recently (thirty years maybe) that even in Canada this was a seasonal sport for most. It was and is their most important sport, and a constant topic, but hockey was changed forever by the Soviet system. Their introduction of different methods and activities that by even thirty years ago, with the exception of one freak American team, allowed the Soviet to rule the world of amateur hockey. I'm pretty much a life long hockey fan and all this book does is to point out esoteric phenomena.

What Gladwell uses is cherry picking. There is a hypothesis that data, anecdotal and filtered, supports in ways that are contrary to anything logical or scientific because of how the proof is selected. By intent and design. This is another intellectual conceit indulged in for too long.

Instead of rewriting the review I have considered, and I may yet do that, I will close for now with two more 'tidbits'.

Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule chapter is almost the perfect example of everything wrong with the book He states a case and then writes about a group of ultra wealthy people, many of whom the only success they have had is pure luck, and isn't related to 'work and dedication' based on a complex skill set at all. There is a more that can be said about the 10K concept that causes most of his analysis to collapse unless one is in deep denial.

'Tidbit' two. Does Gladwell have any idea what rice is and that it grows around the world?

O.K. less that 600 words..


Stacy I was intrigued about the chapter on different kinds of intelligences and how poor and rich parents raise their kids somewhat differently. It really hit home as I realize I was raised more in the poor method. It made me think about how I raise my children and what I might do differently.


Kressel Housman Stacy wrote: "I was intrigued about the chapter on different kinds of intelligences and how poor and rich parents raise their kids somewhat differently. It really hit home as I realize I was raised more in the ..."

I read Outliers to learn how to become a success at writing, but what it changed most was my parenting style.


Chinmaya Khole Every page of Outliers helps you look inward and change yourself for good in every aspect of life !! Any comments on Tipping Point??


Rashmi Menon Israel Adetokunbo wrote: "One of the best books I've read ever. Engaging. Down-to-earth. Makes sense. Provoking. Need to read again."

This should be a school text book...why dint anyone tell me about the 10k rule when i was a kid??..only one complain - i dont have time to implement the 10k rule!!!! Arrgghh...now That infuriates me...a few of us must have even blamed our parents after reading Malcom's hypothesis stating successes to a major extent also depends on parenting/ upbringing..well, i'm so inspired that i have decided i will not destroy my kid's crucial years by sending it to pre-k, school, college..my child can invest it's 10,000 hours in whatever it wishes to do in life..Drama apart, i agree with the author when he says most successes are circumstantial and he has given some apt rags-to- riches illustrations to support this...however the 10,000 hr rule is just another way of saying "practice makes a man perfect" Touche...But provoking!? seriously??


Nichola St. Anthony Love, love, love Malcolm Gladwell's way of seeing the world. I've read all his books and can't wait for his next.


message 24: by John (new)

John Ten Thousand Hours. 10,000 hours. With full forty-hour weeks, no vacations, no cutting, that comes to 250 weeks, or somewhat more than 4.8 YEARS of one's life to become - what? What's the goal, here? Indulge one's greed by becoming rich? Indulge one's narcissism by becoming famous? I don't know.

I do know, however, that I don't enjoy books that rely on collections of anecdotes to support any proposition, however preposterous. Anecdote is not evidence.


Rebecca This book is a synthesis of sociological studies, not a double blind scientific experiment. I thought the book was thought-provoking and logical. Particularly, I enjoyed the chapter about the airplane pilots.


Kressel Housman Rashmi wrote: "This should be a school text book...why dint anyone tell me about the 10k rule when i was a kid??..only one complain - i dont have time to implement the 10k rule!!!!"

Totally agree on both points: it should be read in schools, and I got to it too late.


Velamur Vasu My take on this book is that it starts with a brisk pace and looking to try and understand what factors constitutes for someone to be SUCCESSFUL or A GENIUS but as the book wares on, the pace also slows down and the author tries to bring in anecdotes just to satisfy his point. I do not think very highly of the 10K hour theory which is what everyone tries to highlight in this book, also the community which Gates was exposed to when he was young was also not so convincing for me.

On the whole, it is a good past time read for someone who wants to understand why others succeed while you don’t. One other very subtle point which comes out of this book is that the author wants all the readers to kindle their greed for money and fame and not their passion which is why this I don’t rate this book very high.


Susan I enjoyed the book but found that women were severely under-represented among the 'success stories'. Gladwell also failed to notice that gender does affect people's opportunities (though he does touch on race, which is good).


message 29: by Will (new) - rated it 5 stars

Will Once Apart from the Polgar sisters.

Or the Williams sisters.

Or the central theme that training and practise matters more than we think and possibly more than innate talent - or whether you were born male or female.

Apart from that, what have the Romans ever done for us?


Louisse This is one of my favourite reads ever. Makes me feel good.


Barbara Wade I, too, loved the 10,000 hour rule and what that meant. Passion for your field and doing what you love and spending hours doing it, trumps "talent". I think that is wonderful for all humans to know this. That is hopeful for all of us who are willing to do the work. To me it's not about money, it is more about joy and caring about what you do. I can live with less crap, and can be happier with myself and what I am doing in the world. There is the real payoff. It's spiritual.


Rahul Kumar Loved this one like other books of Mr Gladwell.


Silvino great book. I gave one exemplar of this book to my niece and she loves it


message 34: by Julie (new)

Julie Foster CD wrote: "Outliers is a book that I initially rated as three stars, now to my chagrin and embarrassment. The rating can be corrected and this discussion may encourage me to grit my teeth and reread some or ..."

I hated this book for the same reasons you did.


message 35: by Will (new) - rated it 5 stars

Will Once Odd. Some people love the book. A small minority hate it.

Why the hate? Gladwell sometimes oversimplifies and exaggerates, but then he is writing a populist book for non scientists. His core presumption - that practice matters more than innate talent - is more or less accepted by the majority of the scientific community.

Lots of people don't understand the book. They read it as if it is saying that 10,000 hours of practice will guarantee success. But Gladwell doesn't say that. He says that most successful people have had 10,000 hours of focused practice. They may have had other advantages too, such as an advantageous birth date. The quality of their practice may have been better. But there is no absolute guarantee than 10,000 hours will make you a world champion in any sport. If everyone is putting in 10,000 hours, then to excel you might need to practice for 12,000 hours and so on.

But why the hate for this book? Is it because it is telling you something that you don't want to hear?


message 36: by Julie (new)

Julie Foster Will wrote: "Odd. Some people love the book. A small minority hate it.

Why the hate? Gladwell sometimes oversimplifies and exaggerates, but then he is writing a populist book for non scientists. His core presu..."


You know, it probably is! I tried so hard to like it, but I guess I looked at it through the lens of an educator, and it seemed hopeless and pointlessly elitist. Hate IS a strong word. I disliked it enormously, and I would recommend it to noone.


message 37: by Will (new) - rated it 5 stars

Will Once I would have thought that an educator would rejoice in the book, because its core message is that anyone can be trained to be better than they would otherwise be.

The book focuses on the outliers - the elite performers. But what it concludes is actually quite egalitarian. Success, whether at the top level or somewhere more achievable, is more about practice, environment and quality teaching than it is about innate talent.

And when you think about it, that it actually very liberating. We can all achieve great things if we are prepared to put in focused practice. Only a small proportion of people can reach the top in any profession, but any one of us can benefit from the same principles.

So I don't see "hopeless and pointlessly elitist". The examples he uses are of elite performers, but the core message is universal.


message 38: by Julie (new)

Julie Foster I will give that some thought.


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