Book Review: Outliers

“Hard work is only a prison sentence when you lack motivation” – Malcolm Gladwell

This is a book by Malcolm Gladwell, who is such a king. The book is about stories of success and how people got there. One of the main points of the book is about how the people that reached success didn’t do it on their own. They had opportunities and they weren’t afraid of taking them.

It shows how lucky successful people are and also, how lucky you are and how successful you can be. The book covers a lot of different areas from hockey players, to tech tycoons, to rice paddy workers.

Throughout the book Gladwell mentions that it purely talent that gets people places, although talent helps, it is talent plus preparation. This is something so many people get wrong. It’s the ten thousand hours, yes. But it’s having the time and ability to even practice for those ten thousand hours.

Success isn’t random, it is predictable. Success isn’t a solo act, no one ever makes it alone.

So many simple factors are powerful forces that dictate whether we succeed or not. Cultural legacies, what class you’re born into when you were born (down to the day you were born, not just the year), all have a profound impact on if and where you will succeed.

Some might look at this and find it rather upsetting. If you aren’t born at the perfect time to take advantage of your gifts then you’re a useless kind of mindset. But, I challenge you to change your mindset. Take into account your life, you might not be Bill Gates but you can still be a success.


I will end on one of my favorite quotes from the book: “Superstar lawyers and math whizzes and software entrepreneurs appear at first blush to lie outside ordinary experience. But they don’t. They are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Their success is not exceptional or mysterious. It 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. The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all.”

We are all outliers because there are none. Take that and run with it.

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