Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Where to find: Amazon.com
What is it about?
I am always curious what makes successful people accomplish things in their life. That is why the books that I read are mostly about self-improvement. I found this book based on Bill Gates’s book recommendation on his website. This book is a very interesting book. The way it is written and the way the writer tells the story about successful people is so enticing that I feel like I am reading a novel instead of a self-improvement book.
The way Malcolm gladwell tell each chapter is so interesting, it makes me curious about what happen in the next chapter. Outliers is truly an enjoyable and easy to read book. The book layout the important factors behind successful people. How they do, why they do it and even when someone was born can be a crucial key to a successful life. Why a man that has IQ higher than Einstein, cannot leverage his gift, instead facing failures in his life. The book also layout other factors of successful life lays within a person’s cultural background.
One of interesting chapter is the Ethnic theory of plane crashes. How to turn an airlines company who used to deal with many plane crash accidents into one of the safest airline company to ride on. And the real problem is nothing to do with the airplane machine or performance, but more on ethnic and culture problem. I never known such a fact.
My Favorite Highlights of the book are:
- The Mathew effects
I do not know much about hockey, according to the book for those who wanted to be a hockey athlete will have an advantage toward success if they are born between the month of January to March. The reason for this is “It’s simply that in Canada the eligibility cutoff for age-class hockey is January”. That means if a boy turns 10 years old in January, he will get the advantage that a boy who turns 10 by the month of December for example. It is basically the cut off age and the physical maturity which give an early start to those who born in earliest month.
Of course, you don’t have to be born between January to March to be incredible athlete, there are other factors to make a great athlete. It is just surprising for me to know that in some cases, being born in the earliest month of a year can bring an early start for those who wants to be an athlete.
- The 10,000 hours
I often heard about the 10,000 hours. If you want to be excellent at something, you must do that same thing over and over again for 10,000 hours. My opinion was, “wow that is a lot of hours”. In this book I finally understand why 10,000 hours. One of the example of successful people who have done their 10,000 hours is the Beatles. In the beginning of their career, the Beatles is just like any other ordinary band. Nothing really stands out from them.
In 1960, they were invited to perform in Hamburg, Germany. They play their music in a club for 8 hours straight fro seven days a week. at that time, according to the book, The Beatles had played from 1960 until the end of 1962. The have performed for 270 nights, which in total they have performed live for about twelve hundred times. In 1964, the begin their successful journey. Those twelve hundred hours they did is what set them apart from the others.
- Being smart is not enough
It is amazing to see someone who have an IQ above average. We must be thinking that person is so lucky and everything in his/her live will go smoothly because they are born as a genius. But having an IQ above average is not enough to be successful. The smart brain needs other factors to support them to reach a victory. That other factors are social skill, environment and family. The book telling a story about Christopher Langan, who has an IQ of 195 and as a comparison Einstein has an IQ OF 150. According to the book Christopher Langan was speaking at the age of six months. He can walk into a test in foreign language class, not having studied at all and able to ace the test. Langan received a scholarship from Reed Collage in Oregon, but end up losing his scholarship due to his mother’s mistake of not able to fill out a parents’ financial statement that required to extend the scholarship.
Family, environment and social skill also plays important role in someone’s chance to success. In Langan’s case, he did not grow up with adequate support from his parents. Still, with his high IQ, we would assume he will find a way to fix his situation. As it turns out, Langan’s social skill is also a bit lacking. He could not convince his adviser and the dean to let him continue his study in Reed College. He does not have the ability to communicate his intention in the right way, so it block him from getting the success he wanted.
I really enjoy this book, reading it faster than I usually did with other books. There are new lessons to learn from this book about how people achieve their success from different perspective. Beside hard work, discipline, determination and consistency. When you are born and also in what year you are born can also contribute to your chance to reach success.