Book Review: Outliers

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Outliers : the story of success by Malcolm Gladwell. Little, Brown and Co., 2008.

Best selling author of The Tipping Point and Blink, Malcolm Gladwell studied the lives of people whose achievements go far beyond normal expectations to discover what makes people successful. He concludes that success arises out of an accumulation of advantages, such as when and where you are born, or what your parents did for a living. People like Bill Gates or John Lennon were enormously successful, not due to extraordinary talent but because of their extraordinary opportunities. But while they were incredibly lucky, but they also had the strength and intelligence to make the most of their opportunities.

In the second part of the book, Gladwell discusses cultural traditions and attitudes that are inherited from forebears. He studied cultural traits such as persistence and expression of respect to determine how much they matter to an individual’s professional success. Not surprisingly, they matter a lot.

Gladwell concludes that “success is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky, but all critical to making them who they are.” Like Gladwell’s other books, Outliers is an interesting and easy read, sure to be a blockbuster best seller.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business. All rights reserved.


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