WHAT IS SUCCESS and what does being successful mean to you? If you asked 100 people, you would get 100 different answers. As a society, we primarily measure success by one’s accumulated wealth, power and/or status. What if you found out that there was a “revolutionary” formula for success, would you try it? OUTLIERS: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell shows you that indeed there are a myriad of factors that help make someone successful and are not “revolutionary” after all.
IF AN OUTLIER is “a man or woman who does things that are out of the ordinary,” and success “is less about talent than it is about opportunity,” why aren’t more people successful? What they are missing is the important link . . . Practice. Throughout the entire book Mr. Gladwell presents numerous examples of just how critically important “practice” is to a successful individual. It has always been said that hard work and dedication will eventually pay off. For some, they are still waiting, for others it is a fleeting memory and for the rest of us, we have OUTLIERS to show us the way. The opportunities he discusses are simple things, things easily missed if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
FACTORS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE:
- The month you were born. This plays a big part in sports and education, why? For example, in sports, if the eligibility cut-off is September 1. For the children born after September 1, they would have to wait a year before they become eligible again. “A twelve-month gap in age represents an enormous difference in physical maturity . . . What are they doing while waiting? Practicing.”
- The Matthew Effect. “Those who are successful are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success.”
- Accumulative Advantage. “A little difference leads to an opportunity that makes that edge a bit bigger.”
- The Ten Thousand Hour Rule. “Ten thousand hours of practice is the magic number of greatness associated with being a world-class expert – in anything.”
- Background (parentage and patronage). For example, Bill Gates. His father was a wealthy attorney, his maternal grandfather was a well-to-do banker. His success is a direct result of “an incredibly lucky series of events,” which his upbringing and parental connections helped give him from grades eight through twelve. These opportunities or “events” gave Bill Gates time to practice creating computer programs, etc., which ultimately led to the creation of Microsoft.
The theme that was reiterated throughout the entire book, in every story, in every example was “hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies allow [us] to learn, and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.” The common denominator is the ability to practice their passion. To become a “subject matter expert.”
THOUGHTS for your SOUL:
- “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”
- “It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether our work fulfills us.
Now more than ever the playing field has been leveled, as far as one’s ability to find out, research and implement information. At no time in history has it been easier for somebody to become a subject matter expert, to help your child to excel, create a new business, etc. However, OUTLIERS reminds us that all we need to be successful is a chance. Destiny, once planted in the seeds of opportunities are sometimes deferred and oftentimes ignored by the lack of understanding about the importance of seizing the moment.
Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates OUTLIERS as MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pgs) . . . just the right mixture of content and pages.
*This review was originally posted on April 30, 2014.