Monday, May 15, 2023

Malcolm Gladwell: Outliers

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is a book that has a way of making you question your beliefs about success and what it takes to achieve it. On the one hand, Gladwell presents the 10,000-hour rule, which suggests that expertise is achieved through practice and time spent honing one's craft. This concept is empowering, as it implies that anyone can become great at something if they are willing to put in the effort.

However, the book also explores the idea that success is not just about hard work and innate ability, but also about external factors such as where and when you were born. Gladwell uses examples such as Bill Gates to show how being in the right place at the right time can play a significant role in success. Gates was born into a world where computers were just starting to become popular, and he happened to have access to a computer at a young age. This gave him a head start in programming that many others did not have.

This concept can be difficult to reconcile with the idea of the 10,000-hour rule. If success is not just about hard work, then what is the point of putting in all that effort? Gladwell's argument, however, is not that hard work is meaningless, but that it is not the only factor in success. External circumstances, such as where you were born, can play a role as well.

This can be a hard pill to swallow for those who believe in the "just pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality. The book presents a compelling argument that success is not solely determined by individual effort, but also by outside factors that may be out of our control. It is not a matter of blaming external circumstances for our failures, but rather recognizing that they play a role in our success.

Overall, Outliers is a thought-provoking read that challenges assumptions about success and what it takes to achieve it. It does encourage you to look beyond the individual and consider the external factors that may be contributing to our success or lack thereof. It is a book that will leave you questioning your thought processes and reevaluating what it takes to truly excel. To be honest, I'm kind of split on this book. I like the idea of becoming an expert through time and perseverance but I did not care as much for the victim aspect of the book. The victimhood aspect of the book interferes enough I don’t think I would recommend it. 

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