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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Outliers: The Story of Success » User review

Brings Us Closer to a Difficult Truth

  • Dec 14, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+3
The difficult truth is that human success, like human failure is a result of both nature and nurture. The quality of the seed and the opportunity offered by the ground in which it is planted. For some reason, it's hard for us to keep both of these things in mind.
Gladwell's book is a neatly-told reminder of the importance of nurture, but it is definitely not a 'proof' of anything. He picks for his cases only the ones that demonstrate his conclusion. Since the pendulum seems to be swinging in the direction of the 'great man' theory these days, Outliers is an interesting corrective. It may even provoke some school useful reforms.
Let's just not make too much of it.

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About the reviewer
Lynn Hoffman ()
Ranked #899
I cook therefore I. .therefore I eat. No, maybe that's thereby I eat'.   Anyway, I love food, beer and wine: I like to write about them too,(The New Short Course in Wine is adapted from … more
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Amazon Best of the Month, November 2008: Now that he's gotten us talking about the viral life of ideas and the power of gut reactions, Malcolm Gladwell poses a more provocative question inOutliers: why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? Challenging our cherished belief of the "self-made man," he makes the democratic assertion that superstars don't arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: "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." Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, "some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky."

Outlierscan be enjoyed for its bits of trivia, like why most pro hockey players were born in January, how many hours of practice it takes to master a skill, why the descendents of Jewish immigrant garment workers became the most powerful lawyers in New York, how a pilots' culture impacts their crash record, how a centuries-old culture of rice farming helps Asian kids master math. But there's more to it than that. Throughout all of these examples--and in more that delve into the social benefits of lighter skin color, and the ...
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Details

ISBN-10: 0316017922
ISBN-13: 978-0316017923
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Genre: Business & Investing, Health, Mind & Body, Nonfiction
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
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