Malcom Gladwell is a gift and a joy to read. You feel smarter after reading his writing. If there is anything to grab out of OUTLIERS, it is the example of Gladwell himself: that success isn’t an accident; it is a series of events, a bunch of hard work, and the right team. Some people claim Gladwell to be a genius, which he may be, but he is the cumulative effort of hours of research, hours of writing, a great team of editors, and having the perfect timing.
One of the more famous concepts from OUTLIERS is the 10,000 hour rule: if you spend 10,000 hours doing anything, you’ll become an international expert in that thing. This includes playing a sport, becoming a scientist, perfecting an art form—anything. Gladwell uses such notables as The Beatles and Bill Gates as his case study subjects. But what I really appreciate about Gladwell is his astute use of seemingly obscure examples. He uses people that have appeared in game shows to people that live on the sides of hills in Kentucky. And it all blends together perfectly to make a point.
Gladwell starts off talking about Canadian hockey, then moves on to stories about computer programing, and then on to planting rice paddies, and probably a dozen other things—but it’s all congruent. Gladwell continually refers back to his previous examples as reminders and proof of his case. His ties it all together at the end and—even better—offers the last chapter as a personal history of his own family. I love it.
Whether you agree with Gladwell or not, he makes you think—and that’s a good thing. He presents his case in a logical, flowing format that turns your mind into gear. Often I found myself discussing this book with others around me. So, if you’re going to pick this up, warn people that you’ll be talking to them. It starts discussions and broods thought.
There’s a reason you’ve heard of this book or are looking it up. Go with your instinct on this and you won’t regret it.