Today I finished reading Outliersby Malcolm Gladwell. I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it. I have really enjoyed all of Gladwell’s books (The Tipping Pointand Blink) and find his writing style to be clear and intriguing and his topics to be highly interesting.
This book is about “The Story of Success” - basically he talks about how many of the things that we think make people successful aren’t necessarily the whole story. He argues that much of what makes someone successful are the opportunities they are given and the culture they are born into. He writes:
“People don’t rise from nothing. We do owe something to parentage and patronage. The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot. It makes a difference where and when we grew up. The culture we belong to and the legacies passed down by our forebears shape the patterns of our achievement in ways we cannot begin to imagine. It’s not enough to ask what successful people are like, in other words. It is only by asking where they are from that we can unravel the logic behind who succeeds and who doesn’t.”
This is not a book to help you learn how you can pull yourself up by the boot straps and be successful. It’s much broader and bigger than that. It’s more about how we as a larger group of people can understand success culturally and instead of blocking success for people can extend the boundaries and give more opportunities for more people to be successful.
“The lesson here is very simple. But it is striking how often it is overlooked. We are so caught in the myths of the best and the brightest and the self-made that we think outliers spring naturally from the earth. We look at the young Bill Gates and marvel that our world allowed that thirteen-year-old unlimited access to a time-sharing terminal in 1968. If a million teenagers had been given the same opportunity, how many more Microsoft’s would we have today? To build a better world we need to replace the patchwork of lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determine success – the fortunate birth dates and the happy accidents of history – with a society that provides opportunities for all. If Canada had a second hockey league for those children born in the last half of the year, it would today have twice as many adult hockey stars. Now multiply that sudden flowering of talent by every field and profession. The world could be so much richer than the world we have settled for.”
I found this book to be incredibly intriguing and I encourage you to read it as well.
Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany