The Outliers: the story of success by Malcom Gladwell

February 25, 2009 at 1:04 am Leave a comment

outliersYou have probably heard about this bestseller sensation but may wonder what kind of book it is to be one of the most popular non-fiction titles ever. In one of the most fascinating books I’ve read, “success” was examined and analyzed in the most unusual way.  Outliers tries to demystify so called personal attributes such as talents, efforts or social-economic class to determine one’s success.  What do three most important figures in PC history, Bill Joy, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have in common? Surely they’re outstandingly talented but the answer will definitely surprise you.

Does IQ, hard work or family upbringing really play main roles in determining one’s success?  Or is it more the sheer luck of being born in the right time, the right culture and the right community in order to create a “genius” of our time? Chapter after chapter, the author weaves through compelling evidence of case studies and cultural analyses to show us the truth behind a success story. Amazingly insightful and ingenious, Gladwell takes the readers in for a treat to dissect the parts and pieces which put an individual or culture ahead of the curve. And by the same token, he found compelling reasons why certain individuals or cultures just couldn’t make the cut.  Chris Langan, world’s smartest man, whose IQ is above Einstein’s, is a quintessential case of why just high IQ is not enough to be an outlier.

In searching for a high-quality non-fiction title for teens, I found myself extremely gratified with this groundbreaking book. Teens will be immersed with Gladwell’s refreshing ideas in a mission to find the factors that made one an “outlier”. Also try his earlier works “The Tipping Point” and “Blink” with the same kind of enlightening power.

Teresa Chang, Eastchester

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