Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Outliers, The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell ******

What determines success?

In a discussion with my daughter, we considered three factors that contributed to individual success: intelligence, money, and persistence. I suggested that any one of these was sufficient to graduate from college. In Outliers, The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell considered achievements well beyond college graduation. He asked the What leads to success question about the people who were the best of the best? What factors contributed to the success of Bill Gates, The Beatles, Gordie Howe, J P Morgan, Robert Oppenheimer etc?

Malcom Gladwell searches beyond the traditional factors I listed above to uncover a new list of precedents to success: culture, generation, and luck. Convincingly, he argues that to be the best of the best, you need to be born in the right place, at the right time, and be lucky. These are required in addition to the traditional factors of intelligence, persistence, and hard work.

Who should read this book?

If you or your child or someone you advise or mentor has a career ahead of them, this book provides valuable directions for success. In particular, success is as much the timely choice of career as the effort applied to reach it.

If you, as I, are retired or at the end of your career, and want to understand What happened? this book provides some interesting insights into the ecology of success.

If you just like interesting (analytical, human) stories. This book is a great read.

I would place this in the top three recent nonfiction books, along with and Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond and Freakonomics by Steven Levitt.

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