Saturday, October 24, 2009

Outliers - Book Review

When it comes to the most successful people we can think of we tend to believe things like:
"He was just born with that ability."
"She just has the gift for it."

But from the beginning of this compelling and enlightening book, Malcolm Gladwell quickly and convincingly proves us wrong time after time.

Gladwell shows us:

How being discriminated against as a Jewish attorney was the key ingredient to later producing the most successful and respected (and yes, Jewish) attorneys.

That it is not the brightest who succeed.

Success is not the sum total of our decisions and effort.

How cultural background led to more airline disasters in history; and how it was overcome.

That if we have ancestors who feuded, we are still a hothead.

How lucky are kids are if they play baseball and have an August birthday.

How a white plantation owner buying a slave because of her beauty changed the author's life.

Why Asians with rice paddy heritage are indeed better at math. (And how everyone can be better at it.)

And much much more...

Gladwell does an amazing job of relating data through stories that keep us hanging on like a "whodunit" novel. This is not a book for "eggheads." It is for everyone who wants to better understand the ingredients that make us who we are and why that matters.

When I think of who most needs to read this, parents, teachers, educators, and coaches come to mind. But I think that's too narrow; it's simply great information for us all.

I've read Gladwell's Blink and now this, and I must say that if a certain beer company were reviewing this author they'd say, "He has readability!" He owns that unique intersection where intriguing information meets compelling style.

This a great book that I have thoroughly enjoyed and couldn't help but tell people about--one of the best reads of the year! (maybe the best)

Malcolm Gladwell