Book Review – Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Book Review – Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Read. This. Book.

Seriously, read this book. You will not regret it and it is most definitely worth your time.

Outliers is one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time. I couldn’t put it down. It was refreshing to read something so different to what I usually read (self-help, motivation and novels hello!) From Bill Gates to rice farmers, Canadian ice hockey players to Korean pilots, you will find these topics fascinating by the end of it. Well I did anyway!

I wrote an earlier post – My 10,000 hours starts now – on the concept of masters of something have 10,000 hours of practice in their fields. I was intrigued by this as I start my 10,000 hours working on this blog, I learnt about so much more!

Don’t feel bad if you’re an unsuccessful genius…
it takes a lot more than just being really really smart!

One part of the book talks about geniuses. We may think that geniuses will reach the top no matter what based solely on their intellect. We seem to think that’s all it takes. Gladwell explains the series of fortunate events and opportunities that lead to Bill Gates becoming what he is. Yes he is smart but it’s not the sole reason he’s a computer genius. Bill Gates is the master of his field because he was lucky enough to go to a school that bought one of the first computers due to a group of fundraising mums. From there he spent most of his waking life teaching himself how to use it and code. After many lucky coincidences he had spent 10,000 hours (actually waaay more than that) at his craft and he was ready and able when it came time to drop out of Harvard and start Microsoft.

The point that I took from it, is that ok we may not reach the level of Bill Gates but it shows if we put in the time and practice practice practice that even Bill Gates had to do, we can become a master of our own chosen field.

If you have kids, read this

Another part of the book is about how kids also need a set of circumstances to be able to do well at school. The ‘successful’ adults will often be the children that came from more well off families. As there often would be more time and effort put into their reading and studies. With more discipline in completing their homework. But it doesn’t mean the kids from poorer environments were any less smart than the other kids were. Most were probably of the same aptitude before some got the benefit of so much more attention and time spent on their learning. So much of it is to do with the learning and work ethics that are instilled in us from our environment. The difference between the kids who were made to keep up their reading practice over school holidays and those who were allowed to just play.

It’s all so fascinating. I wonder how much more ambitious I’d be if I’d studied harder or been more disciplined when I was younger?! It may sound rather bleak for those poor kids, (I don’t mean in the money sense) but he uses examples from these incredible schools in the US in the poorest areas, and the kids are thriving! Because they have an environment where more is expected from them.

The book also explains why Asians are generally smarter at math. Hint: it’s to do with rice paddies! Or the INSANE crash rate of the airline Korean Air before the year 2000. Which was due in part to the fact there are 6 different conversational ways of talking to people based on their ‘rank’ in society. Unbelievable.

I don’t do it justice

Anyway, this attempt at a book review can’t compare to how the author explains everything in his book. If you’re looking for something to blow your mind, I highly recommend this book!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: