September 10, 2009
Outliers, The Story of SuccessThis is one of the best books I have ever read. I don't read books on how to be successful (wear a suit, look the other guy in the eye etc) but my wife told me about the book a few times and the first chapter starts with a discussion about hockey so I gave it a try. I was hooked within a few pages. An outlier is a person with a reasonable amount of intelligence, who makes tons and tons of effort to get to someplace, and is in the right place at the right time - the stars align for him or her. Malcolm Gladwell proves this beautifully. I expect unfortunately that people are going to be described now as outliers until the word loses its significance. The young USC quarterback, Matt Barkley, was called an outlier in a recent article and Prof. Steve Bainbridge calls himself an outlier on his blog. An outlier is not just some super smart person or great athlete; he is, as we all are, a product of a lots of things that result in what we call success. To be sure, he is a person who makes a monster effort at what he is doing, but lots of people make monster efforts and don't reach the pinnacle of success - that's what the book is about - why do some get there and some don't? Let me know what you think.
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