Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

When it comes to success, what are the ingredients needed? According to Malcolm Gladwell, there’s no such thing as a self-made man and that those who are successful are where they are because of their circumstances, their families, and their drive to work hard. It’s obvious that some of our circumstances are fixed, however, the amount of sheer hard work and hours that you put into something is one of the biggest determinants of your success. Points from the book:


1. When you were born can play a factor in your level of success (depending on the industry that you’re in) due to the circumstances of that industry that you’re unaware of. In any elite group of hockey players – the very best of the best – 40 percent of the players have been born between January and March, 30 percent between April and June, 20 percent between July and September, and 10 percent between October and December.


2. In the book Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger, he writes that one of the reasons why he became so successful is because of the hard work he put into getting what he wanted. He wanted to win body building competitions so he’d spend 6 hours a day at the gym just lifting weights and fine tuning his poses. Coming from someone as successful as him, this demonstrates that there’s no magic bullet; hard work is what will pay off. The amateurs never practiced more than about three hours a week over the course of their childhood, and by the age of twenty had totalled two thousand hours of practice. The professionals, on the other hand, steadily increased their practice time every year, until by the age of twenty they had reached ten thousand hours.



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3. One of the reasons why people think that successful people got to where they are is because of their intelligence. Intelligence does play a factor in level of success, but it probably doesn’t matter as much as you believe it does. The average IQ of humans is 100. A low IQ would be 70 and below and a high IQ would be 120 and above. However, anything over 120 isn’t going to make a substantial difference in your level of success.What Hudson is saying is that IQ is a lot like height in basketball. Does someone who is five foot six have a realistic chance of playing professional basketball? Not really. You need to be at least six foot or six one to play at that level, and, all things being equal, it’s probably better to be six two than six one, and better to be six three than six two. But past a certain point, height stops mattering so much. A player who is six foot eight is not automatically better than someone two inches shorter. (Michael Jordan, the greatest player ever, was six six after all.) A basketball player only has to be tall enough – and the same is true of intelligence. Intelligence has a threshold.”


4. Continual education is your key to success. If you stop learning, you’re giving others the opportunity more hungry than you are to catch up and potentially even surpass you. It’s no surprise that a lot of millionaires and billionaires spend a good portion of their day reading. In addition, by putting a pause on your education, you’re losing any momentum and traction that you’ve gained which makes starting back up even more difficult. Alexander, in fact, has done a very simple calculation to demonstrate what would happen if the children of Baltimore went to school year-round. The answer is that poor kids and wealthy kids would, by the end of elementary school, be doing math and reading at almost the same level.”


By Ryan Lee


My rating:
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