Malcolm Gladwell – Outliers

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

Malcolm Gladwell a Canadian Journalist of “The Tipping Point: How little things can make a difference” fame, a book he published in 2000; has gone on to write approx 5 books.

I have been meaning to read one of these for some time it is called “Outliers: The Story of Success” – published in 2008. OutliersIt examines how a person's environment, including birth date and month, ethnicity, religious affiliation, familial background, world history and luck, in conjunction with personal drive (read hard work) and motivation, affects his or her possibility and opportunity for success. Gladwell's main point deals with how essential opportunity is to success. Success, he argues, is never self-made.


I was quite disappointed in this book and its premise. It seems Gladwell is saying - you can work as hard as you like, be as intelligent as all get-out, but if the other factors he mentions (most of them completely beyond your control) do not come into the equation in a major way, you are basically f@#$%&.


There are a few examples given which he claims to prove the rule, but apart from the need to accumulate a massive amount of time (approx 10,000 hours) practising your craft or skill, there is not much to make me believe this is a general theory.

He mentions Bill Joy, Bill Gates, The Beatles and quite a few others not all so well known and extrapolates from their experiences to decide that no matter how hard they worked, nor how clever they were, if the planets had not been in alignment, or some-such gobbledygook they would not have been as successful as they ended up.


I believe this is bollocks, and the small base of the research data does not give me any true feeling that this premise, let alone the whole book is really worth our time.

Pity, because after reading his earlier publication I expected much better. This is sloppy and is basically designed to prove a theory he had before he started. As we all know if you have an end in mind you can always find evidence to substantiate this. Ignoring any or all evidence to the contrary does not prove the hypothesis at all.

Henry Ford

This is why so many people live lives at a much lower level than the can. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right,” said Henry Ford.

I'd rather go with that philosophy.

I give it a 2.

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