A Very Amateur Book Review–Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

I guess the ironic thing here is that my first blog post is about a book I just finished reading. However, it is a very good book and my inner-dork motivated me to write something about it!

So, I just finished the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. It was a very good read and offered a different perspective on success and good fortune. This is probably one of the more challenging reads that I have had in quite some time, but because the material was interesting, it kept my attention.

Probably the most eye opening topic in the book, in my opinion, was about cultural backgrounds. There is so much to learn from a person’s heritage and family tree! I never knew that cultural background could be so pertinent in something like respecting authority. And those cultures that statistically test higher in respecting authority can possibly breed pilots that are more likely to crash a plane. Amazing how that is a factor in most plane crashes that have happened in our history. Basically, the co-pilots that notice something amiss would not speak up to the captain solely on the premise that they culturally just do not question authority! When a simple outgoing remark could have saved their lives, cultural norms held them back.

I am around so many diverse people on a daily basis, it makes me really want to learn more about where they come from…especially if from a different country. It would help anyone become a better leader or manager I would think.

The other eye opening piece of success, is sometimes, people are just lucky. They are born the right time or born in the right area of the country or born into the right family. These lucky placements in time get them around opportunities that others aren’t lucky to have. The timing was just right and the opportunity was there for the taking. Opportunity gives more practice and more practice makes you improve and improvement breeds more opportunity. So, you see, the main thing is opportunity. If given a CHANCE, some people can just take off perfectly in the right direction. The smartest person in the world would have a hard time living up to their potential if they were never let into college. The most talented athlete will never get better and have the opportunity to take their game to the next level, if the coach keeps them on the bench. It’s all about reps and hours and hours of doing what they do best.

This book has definitely driven me to read more “intellectually”. I’ve been stuck on fiction books my whole life and reading about these imaginary worlds. It’s finally nice to read something that is supported by actual facts!