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In the place between Math and Life

  • May 21, 2009
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A philosophical rant, if I may.
The thing that makes outliers unique is exactly the fact that, within a certain system, they lie beyond the norms. Outcasts and hermits in a society, or such a metaphor. To group them together to analyze them is taking away exactly what makes them unique. A group of outliers becomes a new standard (the standard of outliers) and amongst that group, further outliers (outcasts among outcasts) will emerge. In short, this book was a very stupid idea, from page one. It showed. The example given in the prologue is nothing more than magical thinking. Family does not, as a rule, effect health. Much of the evidence given throughout the book is about that bad. To say that Bill Gates must have been born when he was is, obvious. Yes, had he been in the renaissance, he would not have invented an OS. I didn't need Gladwell to tell me this. Or later, he would tell us of certain places that, due to their mild temperament, suffered from more plane crashes. I had been to one of the places he nominates, and met dozens of people from some of the others. A respect for authority is not what they have in common. His point of talent not leading to success is valid, but not for the reasons he lists. Success has never been a measure of Talent, success is a measure of societies response to an individual. This is why you will likely not find one professor of English who enjoyed the Da Vinci code. Here you can begin to see some of the loop-holes in his arguments. Thousands of hours of practice made the Beatles talented. The fact that they spoke to a generation made them a success. If they had made songs no one could relate to, all the talent they had would have done them no good whatsoever. It goes on like this for the entirety of the book.

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review by . August 03, 2013
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review by . July 15, 2010
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review by . May 24, 2010
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review by . December 14, 2009
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review by . December 14, 2009
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Quick Tip by . December 10, 2009
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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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