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As each human being explores what they would like from life, they seek answers about their own potential for making their unique experience significant. There are a plethora of biographies and autobiographies of people who have made their particular path spectacular in some way.
But Malcolm Gladwell asks the questions that we often ponder: What is so special about a chap who did not finish university, but became one of the wealthiest people in the world? Of all the bands in the Sixties, why were The Beatles so outstandingly successful? Does intelligence really matter to be successful? What does your birthday have to do with sporting prowess? Why do some airlines have immaculate safety records while others literally crash? What do rice paddies and maths ability have in common?
In Outliers: The Story of Success (Penguin), Gladwell traces the timelines and opportunities that were presented to people like Bill Gates and Bill Joy. Almost thriller-like, he shows that these people were born at a particular time (early 1950s) that put them in a position to embrace the wonderful new world of computers. Luck? Being presented with an opportunity and not necessarily seeing where exactly it would take them, these people became passionately involved with the new technology and spent long hours engrossed in a pastime that eventually became a spectacular career. Gladwell suggests the magical benchmark of time for this type of success is 10 000 hours.
Outliers will surprise you and challenge your preconceived ideas about success. It is also imminently inspiring and makes the reader feel that commitment and dedication will give you the edge. It is an adventure that satisfies so many of those questions that accompany thoughts of one’s own particular life route. The stories and anecdotes are relatively short and very illuminating too, which will appeal to the computer-aged younger reader too. In fact, Outliers should be required reading for teenagers of every age!