Saturday, March 10, 2012

Outliers...


The book of the week is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I think Gladwell is a genius. I reviewed The Tipping Point about this time last year and loved it. There is an incredible amount of great content to his books. The last one I need to read is Blink.. and I have no doubt that I will add it to the bookshelf before long.

As much as I loved his book, I cannot give you a lot of information from it. Each chapter has a number of pages and there is very very little repetition of information. What I can tell you is this:

Gladwell contends that Outliers, especially when making reference to success are not really outliers at all. But these people are a product of their culture and other chance encounters that made them who they are. He explains the successes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Bill Joy, All-Star Hockey Players, Mozart, Joe Flomm, and Christopher Langan. These people are remarkable, no doubt, but a large reason they are who they are now is because of the time they were born, or the jobs their parents/grandparents had, or the freak chance they received to be able to write thousands of hours of programing code at the age of 13, while some college professors did not even get that opportunity.

Let me give you a very cliff-notes taste of what I am referring...For instance: 40% of All-Star Canadian Hockey Players are born between January and March. The researcher that discovered this phenomenon found that it was because of the cut-off for junior league teams. The kids that were born in January had more physical development than any kids born in that year (meaning they were just bigger kids). And the larger the kid the better in hockey. So what happened was the larger kids were the ones chosen for better teams which means that they got extra practice and extra attention. The more hours you spend practicing something the better you become... it has been concluded that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to become a master at something. If you were a kid born in December, you were already at a disadvantage. That being said, it's not a surprise to see that a majority of the All-Star Canadian Hockey Team had early birthdays. The information in this book is interesting and eye-opening.

I am a big fan of this book and this author! I recommend this book for everyone, no matter who you are, because it helps you see where some extraordinary success stems from... As always, if you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.



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