Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

This is a different kind of book from what I normally read, but it was a fascinating trip through how people can be set up for success through a variety of different ways. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell was recommended to me by a co-worker. It started out as just a conversation while we were on the Acela, bound for D.C. and a client meeting.

The conversation, and the preview chapter from the Kindle store, centered around a Canadian youth hockey league and the stats that showed some of the most successful players were born in the first half of the year. Sure, there were some born after July 1, but most were born in the early part of the year and one of the reasons they succeed is, based on how hockey divisions were divided by birth date, they were older and therefore bigger and stronger than their counterparts (among other things).

Among the other interesting bits in this book are “the 10,000 hour rule”–you have to practice/work at something 10,000 hours to become really proficient at it; some fascinating looks at geniuses and how they use their genius (and what happens if it’s not cultivated); a very disturbing look behind plane crashes, which also delves into how we all communicate with each other.

It’s really amazing how Gladwell strings all of this together and makes it seem so common sense and yet, in the majority of the cases, I never gave any of these things consideration. It’s certainly a different way to look at things and I’m glad I read this so this knowledge is with me. I’m honestly not sure if I’ll use it, but I can see it sitting in my subconscious to draw on at random times.

If you’ve got a Kindle, give the first chapter preview a try and see what you think.

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