Someone asked me to read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. So I did. Unfortunately.
I don’t really read these kind of books. Not really my thing. But the few I have read have been fine. Nothing life changing, but at least they didn’t make me want to take a gun to my head!
The sad part is that the book came out four years ago, and people have been praising him for FOUR years. In case you didn’t get a chance to read Malcolm Gladwell’s brilliant and inspiring book Outliers, here it is in a nutshell:
- You don’t work towards success, you need to be lucky
- You have to be born after wars, or before industrial growth if you want to be successful. If you want your kids to be successful, wait for a war to have them, or a good twenty years before industrial growth. And give him/her lots of jujubes, rabbits’ feet, and four-leaved clovers. But keep child away from black cats, and ensure he/she doesn’t walk under ladders, otherwise they may not be successful.
- If you are poor, you probably won’t be successful, and neither will your kids. However, you can be good at math by having rice paddies.
- Ensure your child is born in January, he will become a famous hockey player.
- Having a higher IQ doesn’t make you successful. Neither does it mean that you’re smarter. (It’s true, successful people don’t necessarily have high IQs. A good example is Malcom Gladwell and his popular book Outliers that sold millions of copies worldwide)
- If you want to be a successful lawyer, work in the garment industry.
- In the end, luck is everything.
I think Gladwell is like the golden boy of the elite. His points are repetitive and most of the time contradict each other. Also, I think he’s a bit of a racist.
Favorite quote: “Elementary and middle schools could put the January through April-born students in one class, the May through August in another class, and those born in September through December in the third class. They could let students learn with and compete against other students of the same maturity level. It would be a little bit more complicated administratively. But it wouldn’t necessarily cost that much more money, and it would level the playing field for those who—through no fault of their own—have been dealt a big disadvantage by the educational system.” That’s a great suggestion Gladwell! That doesn’t sound completely pointless at all! I bet if we did that, EVERYONE would be a Nobel Prize winner!
If you are looking for a book which tells you that while innate talent has some effect, how far you get ahead depends on your circumstances, your culture, hard work and a lot of luck, this is the book for you. But I still have to meet someone who doesn’t know that already. All in all lowering your expectations of Gladwell is the best option. That way he can never disappoint you.
I will, however, say that Gladwell is a very clever man. To take such a topic, that people undeniably want to know about, and write an entire book on it is utter genius. Gladwell’s knack for making a reader say “huh, interesting” is something for other writers to marvel at. I’m convinced that he could write a book called ‘Green: It’s the color of grass’, and he would write it in such a way that would make most people say “huh, who knew?!?”.