In Outliers, Gladwell debunks the myth of ‘innate ability, that basing success on hard work is simplistic. Instead, to understand someone’s success we must pay attention to factors often overlooked- their family, culture, birthdate, and childhood idiosyncracies. To understand success we must look at the forest and not the tall trees. Through six distinct case studies, he tries to demonstrate how much of a group effort success is. That success is a result of the contribution of different people and circumstances, so as a society we have more control over who succeeds than we might like to think.
I got the idea Gladwell wanted to make early on, I just wish he’d been quicker with it. Overall, interesting book about an important idea.
This might not be the lesson of the book at all, but I think it’s this. That we aren’t born on an equal footing and that’s alright. Accepting that is necessary, that hard work can work be an equalizer but only to an extent. Perhaps the lesson is to not be too hard on ourselves.
🕵 How I Discovered It
Too many pop culture references to not pick up this book.
✍️ My Favorite Quotes
“Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from.”
“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”
“It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us. Being a teacher is meaningful.”
“Hard work is only a prison sentence when you lack motivation”
“The values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.”