Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Book Recommendation: OUTLIERS: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

I’d seen OUTLIERS around, and although that title caught my eye (I’m the only person I know who actually likes statistics), it wasn’t until I saw Liesl’s recommendation that I finally said, “Okay, I’ll read it.” And a good thing I did.

OUTLIERS is precisely what it purports to be: the story of success. But that story is probably not the one you think it is. According to Mr. Gladwell, success is a function not of a person’s intelligence or talent, but of his or her opportunities and legacy. He finds evidence for this claim in all of the expected places--the Canadian Hockey League, for instance, and Bill Gates’s life story--but also in a few less expected ones. Like the rice paddies of southern China. And the cockpits of Korean Air jetliners (back when they had a bad habit of crashing planes).

As someone who’s enjoyed a fair amount of success in life, I should probably find this book insulting:) (What’s that, Mr. Gladwell? I’m not really smarter/swifter/stronger than everybody else?) But I don’t. Because I think he’s right. My own life only confirms his theory. In terms of opportunity and legacy, I have been richly blessed.

OUTLIERS was a fascinating read. If you’re looking for a book to share with that eclectic reader in your life, this could definitely be the one. And if you’re that eclectic reader, definitely give this one a read.

6 comments:

Matthew Rush said...

What an interesting point of view, can't say I agree right off hand but I haven't read it so ... perhaps I'll have to take a look.

Thanks for sharing Krista.

JustineDell said...

Another book to add to my growing list of "to reads". Thanks ;-)

~JD

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

My husband just finished another of his books. He's very insightful.

Krista V. said...

Matthew, I suppose I should have said success is a function not SO MUCH of a person's intelligence or talent, but of his or her opportunities and legacy. Mr. Gladwell doesn't suggest that Bill Gates and Canadian hockey players aren't smart or talented, only that the threshold for achieving true success has little to do with those factors. He presents a very interesting case study of a man who is perhaps the smartest person born in the last few thousand years (this man's IQ is higher than Einstein's by 40 or 50 points), and yet he has achieved very little worldly success or acclaim. His life story is scratch-your-head baffling.

I do what I can, Justine:)

Yeah, Kayeleen, I've been thinking of reading another because this one was so interesting.

Liesl said...

Such an eye-opening book. I recommend it to everyone who walks through my house and views my wall of books. Sometimes I shove it into their hands.

Krista V. said...

Oh, to have a wall of books. Good for you, Liesl.