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Outliers: The Story of Success

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Learn what sets high achievers apart — from Bill Gates to the Beatles — in this #1 bestseller from "a singular talent" (New York Times Book Review).

In this stunning book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"—the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

Brilliant and entertaining, Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.

309 pages, Hardcover

First published November 18, 2008

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About the author

Malcolm Gladwell

142 books34.5k followers
Malcolm Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers—The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath. He is also the co-founder of Pushkin Industries, an audio content company that produces the podcasts Revisionist History, which reconsiders things both overlooked and misunderstood, and Broken Record, where he, Rick Rubin, and Bruce Headlam interview musicians across a wide range of genres. Gladwell has been included in the TIME 100 Most Influential People list and touted as one of Foreign Policy's Top Global Thinkers.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 31,639 reviews
Profile Image for Rebecca.
410 reviews90 followers
December 6, 2008
Gladwell argues that success is tightly married to opportunity and time on task. He states that it takes approximately 10,000 hours to master something and that gives me comfort. It helps me feel better about my many failures at initial attempts to master things (like glazing pottery, algebra, Salsa dancing, skiing and sewing... to name a few). I kept thinking, "I've just got to put in more hours if I want to do better."

While I can see a different way of spinning the data provided to support Gladwell's argument, I didn't care. In a rare moment, I found myself not wanting to argue. : ) Instead, I found myself reflecting on things that have felt like lucky opportunities in my own life. This reflection was very humbling.

Moreover, I felt the text tugging at the need for greater equity. What could all the people with limited opportunities do if given greater opportunities? Think Darfur. How many people who might have come up with the cure for pancreatic cancer been forced to spend their time standing in lines waiting for clean water or food?

My own personal experience as a teacher of refugees reflects Gladwell's primary thesis. Many of my refugee students are pre-literate. They have not been given the opportunity to gain a formal education. As a result, there are many well-intended, but misinformed people who place these students in special education courses or deem their I.Q. low, diminishing their opportunities even more.

The students I teach are hungry for skills and spend hours outside of class practicing. They make huge gains despite earlier opportunities denied them. While many will not go on to big colleges out of high school, I feel like given enough opportunity and time they could make it there. Sadly, many have families who depend on them to work to help financially support the family. (Yet, another limited opportunity to spend time focused on developing skills.)

In the past week, I have shared Gladwell's thesis with my students. We have applied the 10,000 hours to master a task to reading and writing. I remind students that if we don't get our 10,000 hours this year together, they must continue on their own. I remind them that it IS possible to move forward if they are focused and keep adding hours of work to their reading and writing. We even write on the board how many hours left before we are masters.

"2 hours down, only 9,998 left to go."

Friday, I had a student from Somalia smile and ask, "So it's not true that white people are smarter than black Africans? They just get more chances to read?" Imagine my pleasure when I could respond, "YES! That's correct. You are just as smart as any white kid in this school. It's just that some of them have been reading for years and you are just getting started."

Thank you for your work Galdwell, it is salient in today's political conversation surrounding education (especially for our most vulnerable students who have been given the fewest opportunities).
Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book81.9k followers
May 5, 2019

When I think about Malcolm Gladwell, the first phrase that comes to mind is "less than meets the eye."

At first glance, his work seems thoroughly researched, even visionary at times. Beginning with a few maverick, counter-intuitive insights, he often ends with an affirmation of consensus, but it is a consensus that has been broadened by investigation and enriched by nuance.

On second look, however, I'm no longer sure any of this is true. What first appeared to be new insights are nothing but familiar landmarks, previously unrecognizable because of the adoption of a deliberately mannered perspective; even the once apparent breadth and nuance now seem triumphs of language over logic, the apparent inevitability of his arguments an illusion conjured by the spell of his limpid prose.

Take one small example from "Outliers." With a flurry of standardized test statistics, Gladwell makes the case that the traditional summer vacation--however rewarding it may be for the middle class--is just not working for the poor. (I'll concede the point, for the sake of argument, but any high school teacher will tell you how suspect conclusions drawn from such statistics can be.) He then presents a sustained anecdote about a successful all-year-round secondary school in a poor neighborhood. His conclusion? We should go to school year round.

Sounds reasonable, right? But what about a more obvious solution: as a society we could decide to work together so that summer can be a learning experience for the poor by instituting a myriad of basketball camps, music camps, art camps, chess camps, traditional summer camps, etc., held at schools, community centers, and city parks, and staffed by college students, artists and teachers from the neighborhood.

Gladwell often reminds me of the last panel of a Dilbert cartoon: two panels of plain-speaking criticism, followed by one panel of resignation. And no real insight, no real hope for the future.
Profile Image for Trevor.
1,301 reviews22k followers
August 29, 2009
I know, you don’t think you have the time and there are other and more important books to read at the moment, but be warned, you do need to read this book.

There are a number of ways I can tell a book will be good; one of those ways is if Graham has recommended it to me (how am I going to cope without our lunches together, mate?). And there is basically one way for me to I know that I’ve really enjoyed a book, and that is if I keep telling people about it over and over again. Well, not since Predictably Irrational (also recommended to me by Graham) have I gone on and on about a book to people. First to Ruth over lunch, then to mum on the phone, and then the kids after they had just gotten out of bed in the early hours of the afternoon – my poor children, I’ve told them virtually the entire book.

Now it is your turn.

As a culture we tend to believe that people who are successful (people like Mozart, Bill Gates, The Beatles) all are ‘self-made-men’ and have risen to the summit of achievement on the basis of some incredibly special power they have and that we do not. It is a comforting thought, in some ways. If we have not done as well we are hardly to blame, because we just didn’t have that certain something. We don’t have the thing that sets them people apart from the crowd. And in this cult of celebrity we even get a chance to live vicariously in the reflection of their glory. Perhaps we can never all be Lady Di, (at least, not in public) but we can all attempt suicide with a pate knife and get into colonic irrigation. John Safran talks somewhere about a guy he knows saying to him that the only reason John made it and he didn’t was because John was Jewish. John then talks about how much hard work he had to put in to becoming successful, none of which relied on the mythical leg up he would have gotten from some secret Jewish conspiracy.

This book isn’t about Lady Di, but it is about a series of biographies of people who have become incredibly successful. The biographies are generally told twice. The first time in a way that confirms all our prejudices about self made men and then in a way that makes sense of the success in ways we may find much more uncomfortable. I really struggled with this book – I loved every minute of it, but I still felt remarkably challenged by it. It was very hard not to think of my own life while reading this book. And this did not make me feel comfortable.

I guess we are all fairly predictable, and one of the things that makes us especially predictable is that we generally like to have our prejudices confirmed. We buy books that tell us over and over again what we already know and believe. The Left Behind series is just one such example, as are most self help books. And I’m as guilty of this as anyone else. But there is a much better sensation we can get from a book, although this is much more rare. It is when the person you are reading starts telling you the deeper reasons why your beliefs are valid and not just based on prejudice. I have always believed talent is another (although, less apparent and all too vague) word for hard work. I’ve also believed that we are products of a range of different variables too complex to know in any real detail. This book confirms those prejudices.

First he talks about ice hockey and a fascinating fact about the birthdays of the best players. They are all born at around the same time of the year. It is as if there is a cut off date for when you will be a professional ice hockey player – and, in fact, there is. The short version is that if you are born on the wrong side of the date they use to group kids into age levels you are likely to be a year younger than the other kids you are playing ice hockey with and therefore a year smaller than them too. That is going to make them look like they are better players than you are – and they will be too. A year at 10 is a huge difference, a huge advantage. And then we compound that advantage, by giving the older kids more practice, more experience in games and then more experience and more practice until there is no way the kid who happened to be born on the wrong side of the cut off date has any chance of catching up.

The point he makes strongly here and repeatedly in the first part of the book is that there are other factors to success that are more than just ‘natural ability’. In fact, he does not believe in ‘natural ability’ – only in effort and time. Essentially he shows that if you put in 10,000 hours on any task you will be highly proficient at that task. Innate ability does not exist and ability is actually a function of effort expended. This is both liberating and incredibly challenging. Liberating because success is related to the effort you put in (and I think you should believe that is true even if it isn’t – it is the myth of Sisyphus, the only way we can really cope with the world is to believe our efforts have meaning). Challenging, because ultimately we are responsible for our own success as we are directly responsible for how much effort we are prepared to put in.

The second great theme of this book is that where you come from matters. The culture that we are from has a remarkable impact on the rest of our lives. For example, if you are from a working class background you are much less likely to approach life with an attitude of ‘entitlement’. When people in authority speak to you, you are probably less likely to question them. In fact, you might believe you should defer to them. You are probably more likely to believe rules exist for a reason and that rules can’t be changed and can’t be moved. People from the middle class are much more likely to see rules as things that can be shaped or changed or ignored to make their life more easy or rewarding. Having come from the working class, even a particularly radical end of it, I can still see aspects of this deference in my own character and this was perhaps the most challenging part of the book for me.

The other challenging bit was the part about the Hatfields and McCoys. As a Northern Irish boy, even if I’m not as obsessed with ‘honour’ as I might have been, this does make sense of things I have wondered about for a long time. The solution might be a little too neat, but the Irish, particularly the Northern Irish, are far too likely to feuds that are intractable and recognising that that might have cultural roots beyond the excuse of religion is utterly fascinating to me.

The lessons of this book can be put into a brief sentence: success depends on a series of cultural and other factors that are mostly beyond your control – however, the thing that is totally within your control about success is how much effort you put in. And the more effort you put in the more likely you will be successful. They are directly proportional and we should all praise work as the key thing that really makes us human.

I loved this book. I noticed that Ginnie points to a pilot who disputes some of what Gladwell says about culture and plane crashes, but this is a minor point. His bigger point about culture and plane crashes still stands and is remarkable. If you have kids, read this book – it will give you hints on how to bring them up with perhaps a modest sense of entitlement – it could make all of the difference. Ginnie also has a link to an article with a photo of the man himself – I was saying to the kids yesterday that I would give a couple of toes to look nearly as cool as he does, but I think it would take more than just toes.


Look, what can I say? Read this book, it is life altering. Well, maybe not life altering, but a delight nonetheless.
Profile Image for Allie.
73 reviews2 followers
December 3, 2013
Didn't exactly read this book - Joe and I listened to it in the car on the way home from visiting family for Christmas. I really enjoyed it, and was very fascinated by certain parts of it, especially the sections about the Beatles, computer programmers and Korean co-pilots.

But my enjoyment of the book was marred by the glaring absence of any well-known female "outliers." By chapter four or so, I noticed it and mentioned it to Joe, and then it just kept getting worse to the point that it was comical and distracting. Man after man after high-achieving man was featured. Any time a woman was mentioned, it seemed she was a wife or mother helping to boost a high achiever to success - or, in one case toward the end of the book, a somewhat slow female math student that a male professor had videotaped trying to figure out a math problem. By the time we got to that vignette, it was so ridiculous that Joe and I both started laughing, and Joe joked that "the only woman in the book is dumb - but persistent."

When we got home, I Googled "Gladwell Outliers sexist" or something like that and found that several female bloggers and columnists also were ticked off about it and had taken Gladwell to task for it. Gladwell doesn't strike me as a raging sexist, so my guess is that he is so used to being a male in this world and constantly hearing about and identifying with male high achievers that maybe he didn't even realize what he was doing. I noticed that he gave a pretty weak response when questioned in an interview about his omission of women - he claimed that he had not omitted women because he mentioned his grandmother's story at the end of the book, in the epilogue, I think. Um, okay.
Profile Image for Steve.
90 reviews13 followers
December 16, 2008
Occasionally insightful, but Gladwell's science is pretty junky. His reasons for success change by the page. And he cherry-picks examples to exactly fit the scheme under consideration. Plus, he's obsessed with callbacks and summary statements that only showcase the faulty connections between ideas.
Profile Image for Kevin.
289 reviews915 followers
September 21, 2023
The Banality of Neoliberalism...

1) Sloppy methodology:
--Let's take a gentle start. Even a lottery has real people winning it. If your methodology is to only examine the winners (and bypass the structure of the lottery system), then you can surely come up with some highly entertaining (and biased) results!
--The whole point of study designs/methodologies and statistics is to analyze the chaotic noise of the real world without getting distracted by certain human heuristics/biases (this does not mean we can avoid morals/politics, more later); see Ben Goldacre:
-I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That
-Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks
...In fact, Goldacre has a couple words on Gladwell:
On my left shoulder there is an angel. She says it's risky to extrapolate from rarefied laboratory conditions to the real world. She says that publication bias in this field [psychology] is extensive, so whenever researches get negative findings, they're probably left unpublished in a desk drawer. And she says it's uncommon to see a genuinely systematic review of the literature on these topics, so you rarely get to see all the conflicting research in one place. My angel has read the books of Malcolm Gladwell, and she finds them to be silly and overstated.
--Here's a revealing interview of Gladwell as a salesperson rather than a serious social theorist, study design be damned (emphases added; source: https://www.avclub.com/malcolm-gladwe... ):
The A.V. Club: Your books all focus on singularities—in The Tipping Point, singular events, in Blink, singular moments, and in Outliers, singular people. Was there a single instance in your life that made you start seeing the world in terms of single points?

Malcolm Gladwell: I just think I'm attracted to those kinds of singular things because they always make the best stories. I'm in the storytelling business, and so you're always drawn to the unusual. And early on, I discovered that's the easiest way to tell stories, so I've stuck with it ever since. And if you come up through a newspaper as I did, your whole goal is to get a story on the front page, and you only get something on the front page if it's unusual, so you're quickly weaned off the notion that you should be interested in the mundane.
...My definition of "mundane" (banality) features salespeople (con artists?) pretending to popularize social theory while actually just selling quirky stories that conveniently re-enforce status quo myths.

2) A First-World, Middle-Class Fantasy:
--"John Steinbeck once said that socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." -Ronald Wright
--Onto morals/politics: the real-world lottery system, with its violent conquests, inherited wealth, abstract contradictions and social struggles are whitewashed into a bland, apolitical marketplace composed of competitive automatons each trying to maximize their personal gains/utility, culminating in a meritocracy.
--On this edifice, we see the heaps of First-World glossy-covered self-help (The 4-Hour Workweek), pop-psy, pop-econ (Freakonomics), and business books to make the target audience feel more professional/self-accomplished.
--Of course, this system (capitalism, state capitalism, neoliberalism, whatever you want to call it) has to work for some given its ceaseless mobilization of wage labour generating tremendous surpluses to extract from. The question is to what degree competition and meritocracy exist (not to mention the perverse consequences, let alone alternatives).
--Gladwell's storytelling features some highly political figures (Gates/Skadden/Oppenheimer); we have firmly stepped outside of cute marketing gimmicks and quirky entertainment/sports stats...
--Sterilizing the politics from the story requires limiting the scope of analysis to make meritocracy ("10,000-Hour Rule" to gain world-class expertise) more plausible. This requires skimming off undeserving peoples, usually starting with a national/colonial bias (by assuming the US/First World) and then certain classes/social groups.

--However, the system of capitalism is global; that was the whole point of colonialism, the slave market, the "coolie" market that replaced slavery, and today's transnational corporations and institutions (World Trade Organization, World Bank, IMF) backed by the US military to maintain capitalism's imperialism. Many poor countries are perfectly embedded into global capitalism, being the most "open for business" for transnational corporations their resources, dump their pollution, and (crucially) prevent alternatives ("Red Scare", "War on Terror", etc.): The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions
...Global capitalism features social dislocation, be it:
i) Booms of financial speculation/gentrification (And the Weak Suffer What They Must? Europe's Crisis and America's Economic Future) and jobless growth (Capitalism: A Ghost Story), or
ii) Busts leaving behind rust belts and mega slums (Planet of Slums).
...Thus, there's always enough dispossessed poor people to exploit (tens of millions of preventable deaths each year under global capitalism is somehow normalized), just as there's always enough environment to exploit (well, until that collapses: Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System).

--Curiously, the US (in particular the book's "middle class" target audience) is more and more experiencing the spatial (global) and temporal (boom/bust cycles) nature of capitalism that have ravaged the Global South.
--The most destructive war in human history (WWII) was the "creative destruction" that saved global capitalism from the endless Great Depression, with the US as chief creditor/arms dealer. The post-WWII boom built the US "middle class" with the US as the factory of the world; this lasted only decades before it collapsed under contradictions (Super Imperialism: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance).
--The US's next "creative destruction" was to smash its unions and factories (outsourcing) to unleash Wall Street's Finance Capitalism, resulting in the past 40+ years of global booms/busts while parts of the US were left with Rust Belt deindustrialization, opioid crises, precarious work, mass homelessness and uninsured, etc.
--Without a clear understanding of the profit-seeking spatial/temporal logic and disruptions of global capitalism (indeed abstract, where long-term power hides), those disillusioned with the status quo are susceptible to scapegoating, symptomatic explanations targeting the visibly-different and vulnerable. Hence, "global Trumpism" repeating the history of fascism which arose during the Great Depression. Vijay Prashad elaborates:
--Accessible resources capitalism's abstract contradictions:
-Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: or, How Capitalism Works—and How It Fails
-Another Now: Dispatches from an Alternative Present (including alternatives!)
-Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism
-Bullshit Jobs: A Theory

--On a more positive(?) note, search up "Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator" and look at all the fashionable book covers and subtitles:
-My Retirement: What Super-Trendy Book Buyers Like Yourself Are Paying For
-Subtitles: How Secondary Titles Inflate a Sense of Importance
-Vague: The Power of Generalization to Impress the Bored
...and my favorite:
-Nothing: What Sandcastles Can Teach Us About North Korean Economic Policy
139 reviews37 followers
November 23, 2008
Malcolm Gladwell's new book reads like a series of cocktail-party anecdotes. Whether the book is a mere fluff piece or something more is open to debate. At its heart, it has two themes: (1) That success depends not just on talent but opportunity, and (2) that success (and failure) also depend on the cultural legacies we inherit from our forebears. Boiled down, here are his essential ideas:


1. Luck matters. Hockey players who happened to be born between January and March were disproportionately represented in professional hockey leagues. From an early age, these players were the oldest in their age bracket, and therefore bigger and more coordinated. Coaches selected them for better training and playing opportunities, and overtime, success bred success. Likewise, students who happened to be older for their class scored higher on math and science tests than their younger classmates, and were more likely to be picked for "gifted" and other advanced programs.

2. Even smart people need 10,000 hours of practice before they master a skill. Those that can get those 10,000 hours during childhood are a step ahead. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and The Beatles all had unique opportunities to have lots and lots of practice in their specialties at an early age before becoming successful.

3. After 120, increases in IQ are less important than creativity and "practical intelligence" -- knowing what to say to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it for maximum effect. A lifelong study of geniuses showed they were no more successful than the average population. Nobel laureates are just as likely to come from City College of NY, Augsburg College, or Gettysburg College as they are from Harvard.


4. Rural Americans in backcountry states -- Kentucky, Tennessee, North & South Carolina -- inherited a "culture of honor" from their Scotch-Irish forefathers. These herdsmen warriors brought with them a willingness to fight in response to the smallest slight. This led to a pattern of bloody and violent feuds between families across the Appalachian states. (Think Hatfields vs. McCoys.)

5. Korean Airlines had an unusually high rate of plane crashes because of the Korean culture's extreme deference to superiors. Junior pilots were reluctant to directly contradict their Captain on a flight, even in the face of grave error. This explains, for instance, the Korean Air Flight 801 crash in Guam in 1997. When the airline hired a specialist from Delta to retrain the pilots to speak more transparently, their safety record went up dramatically.

6. Asians are good at math and science because their ancestors planted rice paddies. Rice farming was more labor intensive than Western agriculture. Asians have inherited this stick-with-it-ness that allows them to excel in math and science, where perseverance is mandatory.

7. Unlike rice paddies, wheat or corn fields need to be left fallow every few years. Early American educators adopted this principle toward schooling - that students must not be exhausted. Hence, the long summer vacation, a distinctly American legacy. But this legacy is counterproductive, because kids tend to forget things over the summer. Kids who go to schools with shorter summer breaks tend to have higher test scores.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Eric.
83 reviews4 followers
December 19, 2008
I can save you the trouble of reading the book: smart people don't automatically become successful, they do so because they got lucky. This rule applies to everyone including the likes of Bill Gates and Robert Oppenheimer. That's it. That's what the whole book is about. Gladwell looks at case after case of this: Canadian hockey players, Korean airline pilots, poor kids in the Bronx, Jewish lawyers, etc... Even with all this evidence it feels like he's pulling in examples that fit his theory and ignoring others. Thus while we look at many examples of geniuses who got lucky we do not look at Einstein which seems strange as he's the best known genius of the 20th century. While the book can be summarized in one sentence, the individual chapters are interesting such as the chapter that discusses a plane crash that happened in New York because the pilots were too subservient to make it clear to the air traffic controllers that they were almost out of gas. In short, the parts of this book were more interesting then the whole.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
May 11, 2022
Outliers : the story of success, Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers has been described as a form of autobiography, as Gladwell mixes in elements from his own life into the book to give it a more personal touch. Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «تافته های جدا بافته: داستان موفقیت»؛ «نخبگان چگونه نخبه میشوند»؛ «استثنایی ها: داستان موفقیت»؛ «قصه آدمهای استثنایی: توفیق از نگاهی دیگر»؛ تاریخ نخستین خوا��ش: پانزدهم ماه سپتامبر سال2010میلادی

عنوان: تافته های جدا بافته: داستان موفقیت؛ نویسنده: مالکوم گلدول؛ مترجم: میترا معتضد؛ تهران، نشر البرز، سال1388؛ چاپ دوم سال1389؛ در325ص؛ شابک9789644426797؛ موضوع: مهارتای کلیدی در کسب و کار و زندگی - موفقیت - مردمان موفق از نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده21م

عنوان: نخبگان چگونه نخبه میشوند؛ نویسنده: مالکوم گلدول؛ مترجم: فرناز عسکری؛ فائزه عسکری؛ تهران، نشر سبزان، سال1389؛ در160ص؛ شابک9786005033984؛ چاپ دوم سال1389؛ چاپ سوم سال1393؛

عنوان: استثنایی ها: داستان موفقیت؛ نویسنده: مالکوم گلدول؛ مترجم: محمدعلی سروری؛ تهران، نشر جمهوری، سال1389؛ در328ص؛ شابک9786005687170؛

عنوان: تافته جدا بافته: داستان موفقیت؛ نویسنده: مالکوم گلدول؛ مترجم: سپیده علی کاشانی؛ تهران، نشر آنیسا، سال1393؛ در251ص؛ شابک9786009481408؛

عنوان: قصه آدمهای استثنایی: توفیق از نگاهی دیگر؛ نویسنده: مالکوم گلدول؛ مترجم: شهرزاد بیات موحد؛ کرج، نشر دُرَ دانش بهمن، سال1393؛ در305ص؛ شابک9789641740698؛

بررسی زندگی غولهای تجارت، نابغه های علمی، ستارگان ورزشی، و موسیقیدانها؛ و اینکه آنها چه وجوه اشتراکی با هم دارند؛ به فراسوی نتایج چشمگیر، اسطوره ها و افسانه ها مینگرد، تا معلوم کند چه توضیح درستی برای اشخاص بسیار موفق وجود دارد؛ به پرسشهای زیر پاسخ میدهد

ضریب هوشی شما چه ربطی با میزان حقوقتان دارد؟

یک زبانشناس دربارة ایمنی خطوط هوایی چه چیزهایی میتواند به ما بگوید؟

طرز صحبت فرزند شما با یک بزرگسال چگونه بر موفقیت آنها در زندگی تاثیر میگذارد؟

شالیزارها چه ربطی به تبحر ریاضی دارند؟

و شما چگونه میتوانید یک فرد با استعداد و درخشان در ریاضی را بدون گرفتن آزمون شناسایی کنید؟

عنوانهای مطالب کتاب: «مقدمه: راز رزه‌تو»؛ «فصل اول: اثر متیو»؛ «فصل دوم: قانون10000ثانیه»؛ «فصل سوم: مشکل نابغه‌ها، قسمت اول»؛ «فصل چهارم:مشکل نابغه‌ها، قسمت دوم»؛ «فصل پنجم: سه درس از جو فلوم»؛ «فصل ششم: هارلن، کنتاکی»؛ «فصل هفتم: نظریه‌ قومی سقوط هواپیماها»؛ «فصل هشتم: شالیزارهای برنج و آزمون‌های ریاضی»؛ «فصل نهم: معامله ماریتا»؛ «فصل دهم: سخن آخر، یک داستان جامائیکایی»؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 13/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 20/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for David.
348 reviews
May 29, 2012
Malcolm Gladwell writes very interesting and entertaining books. J.R.R. Tolkein writes very interesting and entertaining books as well. However, after reading Tolkein, I did not venture out into the world in search of hobbits, dwarves and elves to be my new friends, or worry about being attacked by trolls. Tolkein's books, while entertaining, have little connection to reality. Unfortunately, the same can be said about Gladwell. "Outliers" is a series of well-written and interesting essays along the lines of New Yorker or Vanity Fair articles. However, their connection with reality is highly, highly dubious.

This book is a big disappointment after "The Tipping Point" and "Blink", both interesting books that don't have the reader arguing with the author the entire way through. One main problem is that there isn't really an identifiable thesis in the book. It seems like Gladwell wants to say that the myth of the "self-made" person is not true, since every successful person has had help and lucky breaks along the way. Well, duh! But then he goes on to say that successful people spend 10,000 hours on their chosen area of success. Do they get any credit for that? Does working on something for 10,000 hours when you could be goofing off make you a bit "self-made"? In my book it certainly does.

Take Bill Gates. Yes, he came from a rich family, had some breaks and some unique opportunities. But what about his former classmates who are now meth addicts or bitter failures who had similar opportunities, but didn't sieze them? Or those who simply were too lazy to put in 10,000 hours in front of the computer? Is Gates "lucky" that he had the drive to do that? So either the main thesis falls apart -- that if you are privileged and lucky you will be successful, or it becomes something completely prosaic, such as "Gates worked hard, but he had some unique breaks". Again, duh! That's life. Every person can identify positives and negatives in their own lives. It is the choice to overcome the negatives and to capitalize on the positives that makes the difference. If Gates hadn't found the computer lab Gladwell discusses, would he have just given up, or would he have kept on looking? I think that he would have kept looking until he found a similar opportunity.

The science is also incredibly flimsy. He asserts - "Successful hockey players are almost all born in January - March". Well, wouldn't that apply to all athletes? Wouldn't somebody before Gladwell have figured that out? Where is the data from the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB? It really is an example of inductive reasoning, not good science. Gladwell is made aware of a pattern with *certain* hockey teams in Canada, and then assumes that this small sample proves that if you are born in April or after, you won't become a good athlete. Maybe so, but Gladwell needs more data to prove his point.

Another assertion is: "Asians are good at math because their ancestors were rice farmers - They come from a patient, hard-working culture". But perhaps there are other reasons that could explain the same thing: religious traditions, government, how education is structured. Hey, maybe Asians have a high tolerance for their own body odor and can spend more hours in the field than Europeans! I'm not seriously arguing that, but it is an example of Gladwell making a connection between two things that is far from proven.

The book is best read as a series of colorful essays on some interesting topics. However, as a guide or explanation of success, it is an example of truly sloppy science and shoddy reasoning. True, successful people don't get there on their own. But everyone can review their lives and identify lucky breaks as well as unfair disadvantages. In the end, Gladwell doesn't explain success at all in a convincing fashion, and risks leaving the reader with the impression that fatalism is the only attitude to have towards their own success. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
288 reviews558 followers
November 27, 2020
"This is not a book about tall trees. It's a book about forests."
"Why are manhole covers round?"

This is my second Gladwell book - The Tipping Point being first - and after reading it, I'm still a little confused what to make of it. I originally thought this to be a self-improvement kind of book, but quickly figured that's not the case, then may be some sort of a business development one, which also fell apart quickly. I cannot round off this any closer than to some kind of a sociology - psychology combo.

"the teachers are confusing maturity with ability."
"We prematurely write off people as failures."

I have to confess first, that I started reading this book with a lot of skepticism, mainly because of Peter Thiel's Zero to One. I liked that book a lot, and out of nowhere, Thiel attacks Gladwell in his book for being a negative influence on readers. But after reading the entire book now, I'm don't believe Thiel's criticisms are fully justified. Being said that, some of the concepts in outliers like 10,000 hour rule, though explained in a very clear and attractive manner, still seems a little bit out there. It's true that we are naturally reluctant to accept that certain unchangeable parameters in life to have any significant meaning towards our successes and failures in life, such as the birth month. It's kind of confusing how that kind of information suppose to help a person, unless of course the reader is purely interested in understanding such limitations and just accept them. This could indeed create a negative spiral of events, if someone embraces these limitations and give up on everything.

"Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning."

Still, I have to give credit for how interestingly Gladwell interprets everything. If this is the first non-fiction or self-help book someone reads, it's easy to imagine that reader becoming a lifetime fan of Gladwell, for everything is laid out perfectly, in that unique Gladwell style. But read it with an open mind, and a tiny bit of skepticism, and you will come across some interesting interpretations of certain events. And finally, as to the concepts of outliers itself: obviously the environmental factors - both positive and negative - are going to impact any persons success or failures. It's interesting to see if there are any relationships or patterns in these factors, but, personally, I think it is a bit of a stretch. We should not let things like that affect the way we want to organize our lives. However, if one is purely interested in studying which environmental factors were important for a SELECTED FEW PERSONNEL in last century, this would be a good read. It might even go as far as to show you some hidden opportunities around you, how they managed to overcome their difficulties and how to utilize whatever resources available, and to provide some motivation. But that is not the point of the book is it... at least as the name suggests...

"We are too much in awe of those who succeed and far too dismissive in those who fail,"
Profile Image for Michael Perkins.
Author 6 books375 followers
October 7, 2022
The term I've coined for books such as these is "the illusion of erudition." We love the anecdotes, many a form of comfirmation bias---the author telling us what we want to hear (cha-ching)---and we feel oh so much wiser once the wheels of the plane touch down on the runway at our destination because of having read a book such as this on our flight.


The famous, or infamous concept of the 10,000 "rule" in this book is not real. In a 2012 paper in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the lead author of the original study about the practice time of elite violinists, K. Anders Ericsson, ascribed the phrase’s popularity to a chapter title in Outliers, which, Ericsson wrote, “misconstrued” the conclusions of the violin study. Ericsson himself never used the number 10,000 or the term "rule." Gladwell made that up.

Ericsson extended his study to sports. Author David Espstein reports on the results (next four paragraphs)....

In fact, in absolutely every single study of sports expertise, there is a tremendous range of hours of practice logged by athletes who reach the same level, and very rarely do elite performers log 10,000 hours of sport-specific practice prior to reaching the top competitive plane, often competing in a number of other sports— and acquiring a range of other athletic skills— before zeroing in on one.

Studies of athletes have tended to find that the top competitors require far less than 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to reach elite status. According to the scientific literature, the average sport-specific practice hours to reach the international levels in basketball, field hockey, and wrestling are closer to 2,000, 4,000, and 6,000, respectively.

In a sample of Australian women competing in netball (sort of like basketball but without dribbling or backboards), arguably the best player in the world at the time, Vicki Wilson, had compiled only 600 hours of practice when she made the national team. A study of athletes on Australia’s senior national teams found that 28 percent of them started their sport at an average age of seventeen, having previously tried on average three other sports, and and debuted at the international level just four years later.

Even in this age of hyperspecialization in sports, some rare individuals become world-class athletes, and even world champions, in sports from running to rowing with less than a year or two of training. As with studies of chess players, in all sports and skills, the only real rule is that there is a tremendous natural range.


The down side to the Gladwell "rule" is that you see many unhappy kids out there being ground through the requisite "hours" by parents hoping their children will get scholarships or maybe go pro. I've coached enough youth sports to know there needs to be some base talent to build on for a young person to excel. I've also seen many 12-year olds who were stars at that age, but who faded by age 16, no matter how many hours they put in. I've coached youth sports for years. I've seen this over and over.



At the gym one day, I ran into a varsity high school football coach, whose team had just won the California state championship.

I asked him about "the 10,000 rule."

He said: "it's ruined many kids' lives."

70% of kids quit sports by age 13, many of them because “it’s not fun anymore.”


More falsehood called out by The Sports Gene....

"In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell makes a point about height in basketball by comparing it to IQ. There is a threshold, he writes, above which more does not really matter. Above an IQ of 120—which already eliminates most of humanity—he argues, one is already smart enough to consider the most difficult intellectual problems, and more IQ does not translate into real-world success. In basketball, he adds, “it’s probably better to be six two than six one . . . But past a certain point, height stops mattering so much.”

But the “threshold hypothesis” of IQ is not supported by the work of scientists who specialize in that field, nor is the threshold hypothesis of NBA height supported by player data."

Does Gladwell do any real research or fact-checking? Apparently not. He can't be trusted. I guess he has some readers think they're geniuses if they have an IQ of 120.


It struck me that Gladwell is like a prosperity Gospel preacher who tells people what they want to hear. And uses anecdotes that supposedly prove his points.

I saw a couple of minutes of the most famous such preacher in the U.S. right now, Joel Osteen, who holds forth in a retrofitted basketball stadium in Houston. He began with:

"God is faithful. That promotion you've been waiting for: it's just around the corner. That lifetime soulmate you've always been looking for is on the way to you right now. The bonus money you need to take a vacation: you'll get that check by Christmas."

Then he'll use some story, usually from the Old Testament, to illustrate. And throw in a couple of contemporary anecdotes. "I met a man....."

What if these good things don't come true? The dark side is that you get blamed. Somehow you've incurred God's displeasure.

So you got cut from the team? It must be because you only put in 9,500 hours of practice instead of 10,0000.


The backstory on Gladwell...



More parental insanity pushing kids to make parents proud....

"Backyards feature batting cages, pitching tunnels, fencing pistes, Olympic-size hockey rinks complete with floodlights and generators. Hotly debated zoning-board topics include building codes for at-home squash courts and storm-drainage plans to mitigate runoff from private ice rinks. Whereas the Hoop Dreamers of the Chicago projects pursued sports as a path out of poverty and hardship, the kids of Fairfield County aren’t gunning for the scholarship money. It’s more about status maintenance, by any means necessary."

"Katie Andersen, who runs an Orange County, California–based college-advising company called College Fit, says that among the moral dilemmas the families she works with face is whether to come clean with a college coach about their kids’ multiple concussions. “Parents will be sitting in my office debating whether it makes sense to tell, and I want to scream.” Instead, she tries to play nice: “I say, ‘Can we please step back and think about your child? He’s had three concussions, multiple overuse injuries, multiple surgeries—and he’s playing soccer in college? There’s not even a question of him not playing?’ ”

I call this stolen childhoods.
3 reviews3 followers
December 31, 2008
People are criticizing this book because it is not a journal article. Well guess what: we're not all sociologists. I have read plenty of journal articles in my own field (law). I'm in no position to read journal articles in fields outside my own. Having a well-written piece of mass-market writing is just the thing I need to access this information.

Another criticism of the book is that Gladwell is the "master of the anecdote." Well, it seems to me that ALL SOCIAL SCIENCE is in some sense anecdotal. Every survey (even a methodologically perfect one) is necessarily un-abstract and anecdotal: it is based on survey research from particular people, and there's no way to derive abstract rules governing society from that like math. This notion of how Gladwell is all anecdotal bothers me. So what? If a good anecdote gets you to look at a situation in a new way or makes a powerful point, that's excellent! Any writer worth his or her salt LOVES a good anecdote to grab the attention of the reader.
Profile Image for Henry Mishkoff.
Author 4 books15 followers
January 14, 2009
Well, it's official: Malcolm Gladwell has run out of things to say.

His prose is still lively and entertaining, and he maintains his famous I-look-at-things-differently-than-anyone-else attitude, but "Outliers" has so little meat that it would have more appropriately been published as a magazine article.

I think that the main value of reading Gladwell is that he plants a seed in your brain that encourages you to seek unconventional explanations for familiar phenomena. That's a very healthy thing, and I'm not trying to disparage its significance. But if you're looking for a book that provides meaningful insights, "Outliers" isn't it.
Profile Image for Julie G.
895 reviews2,919 followers
February 10, 2014
In just one week, this book transformed a relatively normal woman into someone who's been saying, "Well, in this book I'm reading. . . you know, Outliers? Yeah, there's this section on. . . there's this part about. . . You should read this chapter. . . No, no, just wait here and let me read these 3 pages out loud for you. . . Have you read it? Oh, you haven't? Let me just show you this one page, it'll just take a minute!"

I can't think of one reason why you shouldn't join me in my enthusiasm.
Profile Image for Amir Tesla.
161 reviews680 followers
July 4, 2021
Recommend to: If you like exploring phenomenon beyond their appearance and if you enjoy story-telling writings about factual subjects, here: success

What this book is about: Here, the famous columnist, Malcolm Gladwell deeply investigates the topic of success and people or nations with far beyond average achievements whom he calls "outliers" to figure out what has contributed to their accomplishments.

The way Gladwell observes and concludes is so enticing and far different from what you might think about why a phenomenon has happened. For example, see how these arguments might sound:
1. Chinese are good at math because of their way of sowing and reaping rice in the fields.
2. The flight number X crashed, because the co-pilot was Colombian. And any other Colombian in his place might have led to the very same outcome.
Strange? Yes, is seems so, and Malcolm nicely shows how these seemingly unrelated events are tightly bound.
So from the point of the way he see's things differently and actually tries to find real reasons behind events you'll find the book amusing and thought provoking.

There are two major problems I have with this book. First, he nicely let’s say detects the roots from which success is grown and these roots he argues, are all mainly what we can have no part on cultivating or choosing. Things like the date of birth (which opens up opportunities for practice in cases he studies etc.), or cultural background. But it would have been much nicer had he provided vivid guidelines on now that we can't choose the roots, how we can provide the opportunities and the environment caused by the roots.

The other problem with some of his observations is that they can be potentially badly flawed or be results of what scientists say clustering. Namely, you look at a particular area with particular trends and specifications and you extend the qualities to the whole group in other areas. Or in situations I think, despite his keen observation and uncovering an aspect of an event, fails to see other dimensions as well. For example, in one part he says “Because of the limitation of lands in china, farmers had to be smarter and work smarter on their lands to increase production in contrast with their counterparts in America who used advanced machinery to increase the harvest and productivity. Now my argument: Haven't the Americans been smart to build such advanced machineries? :|

All in all the book was often engaging and thought provoking and if you want to read it, have it read skeptically, for the book if not absorbed well because of the amount of emphasis he seemingly puts on chance (things we have no will to choose on our own like parents, birthday, cultural background, etc.) might end up discouraging.

The book's message though I think is noble, really noble, which tries to tell that communities and societies are responsible for provisioning an environment in which members can fulfill their potentials.

Oh by the way, the famous 10000 hours rule for mastery is the result of the Swedish psychologist Anders Ericsson studies and was merely popularized, by Malcolm Gladwell.
Profile Image for Jonathan.
531 reviews30 followers
March 24, 2011
Here's what I wrote earlier. I have to admit to the more I think and talk about the book, the less I think of it. It all seems too superficial.

A pretty interesting book, albeit with not quite as many "knock me over with a feather" moments as Blink. It starts off with a bang, as he discusses amateur hockey teams and how it was noticed that virtually all the players on an Under-18 hockey team came from the first three months of the year. Turns out the age cutoff is January 1 in Canada, so the older players (those born early in the year) advanced further due to their slight maturity advantage which continued to multiply, as they got better training, put on better teams etc.

This subject hits close to home, as I am a soccer coach and heavily involved in my daughter's soccer league. My oldest has a birthday at the worst possible time, just a few weeks before the cutoff date, while the younger one has a birthday the month after the cutoff date. So far, it hasn't seemed to slow the older one's progress, but it is something I will certainly keep an eye on. Gladwell's suggestion is to have multiple cutoff dates, so other ages can play against others of the same age. Doesn't seem likely though.

He also explores how the timing of your interests can really change things. Something as simple as how available computer time was to early pioneers like Bill Gates and Bill Joy. Certainly, in the late 60s and early 70s, the amount of keyboard time these guys had pales in comparison to what would be available just a few years before that. He also talks about a major law firm in New York that benefited from getting the kinds of financial cases the other law firms wouldn't deal with, only to explode in popularity as the money days of the 80s and 90s struck.

I thought the book felt like it suffered from data mining, in that there didn't seem to be enough exploration of other equally successful groups that may not have had the same advantages. But still a fascinating look at what kinds of thing influence success, whether we think about them or not.
Profile Image for Jason.
137 reviews2,345 followers
April 23, 2012
I skimmed this book instead of reading it. I didn’t entirely love it.

Although the author makes some interesting points, I find some of the correlations he tries to draw a little silly. Like the Italian community in Pennsylvania where people are healthier and live longer because they have a sense of “community” or the fact that Southerners react more violently to certain situations than Northerners because they derive from a “culture of honor.” Sounds like extrapolated horseshit to me, especially considering the sample size. And when the author is making sense, I feel like he isn’t telling us anything we don’t already know. Like the fact that success breeds success, opportunity is key, practice pays off, etc. One of the few things I do find interesting, however, are differences noted in the way children are raised and the fact that some degree of entitlement being taught to them early can actually be beneficial as they mature into adulthood, mostly because they’d be able to use this sense of entitlement to demand higher salaries and better job positions.

Regardless, this was my first experience skimming. I'm not sure I’ll do it again anytime soon.
10 reviews33 followers
February 9, 2023
Ever wondered why Bill Gates is so rich? Or why the Beatles is considered to be a "once in a millennium" band? (or why people find "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" to be so trippy, lol) Or simply, why some people are so outrageously successful while others wallow in mediocrity?

An enthralling psychology novel by Malcolm Gladwell, "Outliers" reveals the secrets behind the success of some of the most famous people in the world. The book, with its sublime delivery and almost fantastical (though real) anecdotes has the capacity of enamouring even pure fiction lovers. As it is said, "life is stranger than fiction."

Malcolm's meticulous exploration of the various factors that can have a profound effect on success leaves the readers erudite and their interest piqued.

Outliers: The Story of Success leaves audience with knowledge of how to entice some of that success into their own lives. If nothing else, at least you will be able to figure out why those particularly irksome people in your network behave so, lmao (upon extrapolating information gleaned from a part of the book).

"Outliers" is a remarkable piece of non-fiction conveyed in a compelling manner.
Profile Image for seak.
434 reviews473 followers
July 23, 2013
Outliers. Or as it should be called, "Outliers don't exist." I not only couldn't put it down, but my wife feels like she's read it now too.

It starts with a story about a town whose inhabitants only ever die from old age (i.e., not from cancer or ANY OTHER problem) and quickly goes into a story about hockey players in Canada.

For some reason the best hockey players are born in January through March and rarely any time after. The reason - it's all because of the date of the cut-off for playing hockey in the junior leagues (I use that meaning "for little guys first playing" not because it is in any way accurate as to the actual name). Because the cut-off date for kids joining the hockey league is January 1, those born right after have to wait about a year to join. What happens when one kids plays against another who is a year older? They get slaughtered (in only a sports sense ... I hope).

That year makes a difference to the little guys (and girls) and so they get to play on the advanced team, they get to be an all-star and therefore, they get more and more playing time. What starts out as an arbitrary date, turns into something real since those who get more playing time actually become better and end up making up the majority of the professionals.

This strikes a particular cord with me, being a December birthday. Luckily I've never had the desire to become a professional hockey player ... or lived in Canada (not a Canada slight, I love you guys eh!).

Anyway, this book is filled with stories like this, making the point that when it seems like someone is a unique and even a prodigy, it usually is because of way more factors than just they worked hard and they are smart.

From Mozart to Bill Gates and even geniuses who never made a mark on society. To airplane copilots who rather than speak up about a problem, lead the plane directly into a mountain. To the fact that there really isn't a magical type of person who becomes great, but someone who can put in the right amount of practice to do so (10,000 hours to be exact). But then again, you have to be blessed with the ability to have those hours of practice rather than being forced to survival.

His main point is that societies and culture and even timing (like birth) make up a lot of who people are and why they become "outliers." That an outlier doesn't really exist because it's a person who is a product of their surroundings. A good portion of the richest people throughout history were born within 9 years of each other, just in time to take advantage of the industrial revolution.

This is an extremely eye-opening book that comes highly recommended. I couldn't stop thinking about it or talking about it and I already have another of his books, Blink, ready in the queue. The only criticism I can make is that as with most arguments, those that aren't as advantageous to his claims are left in the background a bit. He says that the timing of birth is a factor and I certainly think so, but it's also because of one or two of those people born that the next big shift in society happens and I don't think that can be ruled out. However, that's not even mentioned.

Anyway, it got me thinking and you can too!

4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)

PS. The audiobook is read by the author and he reads his own words well. :)
Profile Image for Mohammad Hrabal.
294 reviews201 followers
June 5, 2020
ژنرال مسئول پروژه منهتن، لسلی گرووز، سرتاسر آمریکا را زیر پا گذاشته بود تا بهترین فرد را برای رهبری پروژه‌ی تولید بمب اتمی پیدا کند. انصافا، اوپنهایمر شانس چندانی نداشت. او فقط 38 سال داشت و از بسیاری از افراد زیر دستش جوان‌تر بود. تخصصش در علوم نظری بود، در حالی که این شغل به مهندسان و آزمونگرها نیاز داشت. تمایلات سیاسی‌اش سمت و سوی مشخصی نداشت: دوستانش اهل فرقه‌های گوناگون کمونیستی بودند. شاید نکته‌ی تعجب آور آن بود که او هرگز تجربه‌ای در کار اجرایی نداشت. یکی از دوستانش بعد‌ها در مورد او می‌گفت: "مردی بسیار بی‌دست و پا بود. با کفش‌هایی مندرس وکلاهی عجیب و غریب این طرف و آن طرف می‌رفت و، مهم‌تر آنکه، درباره‌ی وسایل و تجهیزات کوچکترین اطلاعی نداشت." یا به بیان مختصر و مفید یکی از دانشمندان دانشگاه برکلی، "او حتی دکه‌ی ساندویچ فروشی را هم نمی‌توانست اداره کند." و این نکته را هم اضافه کنید که در دوران تحصیلات تکمیلی سعی کرده بود استاد راهنمایش را بکشد. این رزومه‌ی مردی است که در تلاش بود شغلی را به دست آورد که بی اغراق می‌شد آن را یکی از مهم‌ترین شغل‌های قرن بیستم نامید. و چه اتفاقی افتاد؟ درست همان اتفاقی که بیست سال پیش در کمبریج روی داده بود: کاری کرد که سایرین موضوع را از دریچه‌ی چشم وی ببینند. صفحات 106 و 107 کتاب
غیر ممکن است که یکی از بازیکنان هاکی یا بیل جوی یا روبرت اوپنهایمر یا هر نخبه‌ی دیگری از جایگاه رفیع خود به پایین بنگرد و با صداقت بگوید: "تمام آنچه انجام دادم کار خودم به تنهایی بوده است." در نگاه اول به نظر می‌رسد وکلای بزرگ، نوابغ ریاضی و غول‌های دنیای نرم‌افزار جایی ورای تجارب عادی قرار می‌گیرند، اما این طور نیست. آنها محصول تاریخ و جامعه‌ی خود هستند، محصول فرصت‌ها و میراثشان. موفقیت آنها امری استثنایی یا راز آلود نیست، بلکه در شبکه‌ی در هم تنیده‌ای از امتیازها و ویژگی‌های وراثتی- که گاه شایستگی‌اش را داشته‌اند و گاه نداشته‌اند، بعضی را با تلاش به دست آورده‌اند و بعضی را با شانس محض- در هم پیچیده که همه در ساختن هویت امروزینشان نقش اساسی دارد. ختم کلام آنکه نخبگان اصلا نخبه نیستند. ص 287 کتاب
Profile Image for Ali Karimnejad.
313 reviews164 followers
June 8, 2022
موفقیت یک مقوله فردی نیست. بلکه یک رخداد اجتماعیه

اگر روزی مثل نویسنده ما در حال تماشای بازی هاکی می‌بودید (نویسنده کاناداییه و هاکی اونجا ورزش اوله) و اگر مثل نویسنده ما دقت و کنجکاوی زیادی می‌داشتید ، ممکن بود یک موضوع عجیب و غریب، نظر شما رو هم جلب کنه. اینکه بیشتر بازیکنانی که توی زمینن، متولدین سه ماه اول سال هستن.

برای ما که موفقیت رو صرفا بر مبنای خصلت‌های فردی تعبیر می‌کنیم، این مقوله جزو داده‌های تصادفی قرار می‌گیره. اما لااقل در این مورد بخصوص، دلیل قابل تاملی وجود داره: "نظام استعدادیابی بازکنان هاکی در کانادا بچه‌ها رو سال به سال ارزیابی می‌کنه." کودکی که در مدرسه متولد سه ماه اول سال هست نسبت به کسی که با 8 ماه اختلاف سنی سر همون کلاس نشسته برتری فیزیکی اندکی داره که در سنین پایین خیلی تعیین کننده است. همین برتری خفیف در سنین پایین منجر به انتخاب شدن این بچه ها می‌شه تا روشون کار بشه و نهایتا بعضی از اونها در آینده بازیکنان حرفه‌ای لیگ هاکی کانادا می‌شن. طی این فرایند، جامعه با نظام گزینشی خودش عده‌ای رو به طور اتوماتیک از موفق شدن محروم می‌کنه و به عده‌ای مزیت رقابتی می‌ده.

کتاب نسخه به ظاهر ساده‌ای از چگونگی رسیدن به "موفقیت درخشان" ارائه می‌کنه: ده هزار ساعت کار و تمرین مداوم که چیزی حدود 10 سال زمان می‌طلبه. این عدد رو مالکوم گلدول از یک آزمایشی که روی عده‌ای هنرجوی ویلون انجام شده بدست آورده و به شکل جالبی به خیلی افراد موفق هم نسبت می‌ده: بزرگان "سیلیکون ولی" من‌جمله بیل گیتس، استیو جابز و بیل جوی، گروه موسیقی بیتلز، استادبزرگان شطرنج من جمله بابی فیشر و ... همگی و بلا استثنا با تقریب قابل قبولی همین میزان کار رو قبل از رسیدن به موفقیت داشتن. کتاب خیلی مفصل راجع به ناگفته‌های زندگی افرادی که نام بردیم توضیحاتی داده و انصافا حقایق قانع کننده‌ای ارائه می‌ده که آوردنش در این مقال نمی‌گنجه. اما لُب مطلب که بر خلاف تمایل ما به ساختن افسانه‌هایی راجع به غلبه بر تمام موانع و سختی‌ها برای رسیدن به موفقیت یا احیانا هوش خارق‌العاده و غیر عادی، بسیاری از کسانی که ما اونها رو نابغه می‌دونیم طی دوران نوجوانی شرایط بسیار مساعدی رو تجربه کردن که براشون بستری فراهم آورد تا بتونن حدود 10 هزار ساعت توی اون زمینه دلخواهشون ممارست کنن تا بعدها در زمان مناسب، صاحب تجارب اندوخته کافی باشن که نهایتا "موفقیت‌های درخشان" اونها رو رقم زد. در این رابطه، افسانه‌زدایی از نبوغ دوران کودکی موتسارت حقیقتا برام جالب توجه بود.

در واقع کل بحثی که گلدول توی کتابش ارائه می‌کنه رو میشه اینطور خلاصه کرد: "محاله کسی بدون داشتن یک محیط مساعد بتونه ده هزار ساعت تمرین لازم برای رسیدن به اون "مهارت متمایز کننده از دیگران" رو انجام بده. "
اگر شما فقیر باشی و فراغت کافی برای زمان گذاشتن در اون زمینه بخصوص رو نداشته باشی،
اگر محیط زندگی شما اون امکانات لازم برای انجام تمرین رو در اختیار شما قرار نداده باشه،
یا اگر جامعه مثل بازیکنان هاکی، طی یک فرایند اتوماتیک، شما رو از انجام این میزان تمرین محروم کنه،
شما نخواهی توانست به موفقیت برسی. حتی اگر استعداد ذاتی و ژنتیکی اون در شما باشه.

کتاب با بررسی لیستی از ثروتمندترین افراد جهان نکته‌ای رو به چشم ما میاره. اینکه حدود 20 درصد از ثروتمندترین افراد کل تاریخ جهان (یعنی با معادل سازی از زمان مصر باستان تا به امروز)، متولد آمریکا طی سال‌های 1830 تا 1840 هستن. بسیار تامل برانگیزه که ببینیم چه اتفاقی افتاده. مساله اینه که این افراد طی سالهای 1860 تا 1870 که اوج شکوفایی اقتصادی آمریکا هست، در سن مناسب و در جای مناسب قرار گرفتن. اینها همون افرادی بودن که در زمانی که شرایط اقتصادی مهیا شده بود، اون 10 هزار ساعت کار و مهارت رو اندوخته بودن و کاملا مستعد به موفقیت رسیدن بودن.

مخلص کلام اینکه، موفقیت یک رخداد اجتماعیه. همونطور که ما پیدایش آتش رو به شخص خاصی نسبت نمی‌دیم (اگرچه واقعا اولش یک نفری بوده که بار اول آتیش رو کشف کرده) موفقیت‌های افراد مختلف، نتیجه محیط پیرامون افراد و به نوعی بخشی از نظام طبیعی و اجتماعی انسان‌هاست. درسته که همه متولدین سه ماهه اول سال وارد لیگ حرفه‌ای هاکی کانادا نمی‌شن و فقط اونهایی که ممارست و تلاش زیادی انجام می‌دن به این موفقیت نائل می‌شن، اما نکته بسیار کلیدی اینه که درک کنیم همه کسانی که سخت کار می‌کنن و ممارست زیادی بخرج می‌دن به موفقیت نمی‌رسن. برای موفقیت بسترهایی لازمه که باید جامعه اون رو در اختیار شما قرار بده. چون همونطور که گفتیم، موفقیت یک رخداد اجتماعیه.
Profile Image for Tanu.
355 reviews419 followers
August 23, 2023
One of the finest books I have read this year.

How exactly does this work? How do some people achieve more, while others don’t even get the opportunity?

The fascinating analysis of the American Football(Rugby) team gave me a new way to look at the system. Most American Football players are born in the first 5 months of a calendar year.

I bet not.

I don’t want to spoil the fun, read the book to know more. 

The author tells numerous true stories of what appear to be shining examples of disadvantaged people who ended up being outstanding success stories. But then the author goes back through the same story and takes a look at where that person came from and shows that they benefited from a combination of cultural background and a set of unique opportunities and timing that allowed them to succeed.

Some of his best books are:
1. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (discusses the dynamics of social change)
2. Outliers: The Story of Success (discusses the subject of success)
3. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (discusses decision making)

Grab your copy here or here.
Profile Image for Blaine.
782 reviews653 followers
October 26, 2022
Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.
Malcolm Gladwell always makes you reconsider what you thought you knew. In Outliers, he drills down into the mythos of the so-called self-made man. It turns out that, underneath the surface, there is far more right-place-right-time luck than successful people seem to believe. The second half of the book, about cultural influences in individual success, is in some ways the more interesting part, if only because it is even more counterintuitive than the first half. A quick, entertaining and informative read. Recommended.
Profile Image for Claudia.
2,493 reviews88 followers
March 20, 2009
"Outliers" those wildly successful people, for whom 'normal rules don't apply.' Are they just lucky, talented? Maybe...but, outliers may not be outliers after all...after reading the entire book, I was slapped by that at the very end. Gladwell looks closely at success, and those who seem to have waltzed into incredible success...Canadian hockey players, who just happened to have been born in the right month of the year; Bill Gates, who just happened to go to a school where the PTA moms bought a new-fangled computer system. Mozart, who didn't hit his stride until ten years after he began composing...the Beatles! Their sound was born of the 10,000 hours of performing in Hamburg -- more than other groups could amass in years of playing.

Success is timing, and hard work...10,000 hours of practice required. It's luck -- having the right family, having the right opportunities -- Gladwell's description: "a combination of ability, opportunity, and utterly arbitrary advantage...beneficiaries or some kind of unusual opportunity."

Gladwell's storytelling is so easy to fall into. We go with him anywhere...to a small town in Italy, to his own Jamaican family, and everywhere in between.

I know Gladwell has an essay in TELLING TRUE STORIES, about narrative journalism, and I enjoyed reading this, more aware of the craft he practices...nonfiction storytelling.

When Bill Gates admits he was very lucky, Gladwell hammers home that point. But to me, the 100,000 hour rule is what I'll take with me. Do you want to be the best? Put in the effort! Talent and opportunity can help, but success is hard work.
Profile Image for Siddharth.
125 reviews173 followers
January 20, 2013
"If only I'd read this book earlier," the old man sighed. He shook his head sadly. "I was at the wrong end of the cut-off age. I'd have made a champion swimmer...". His voice trailed off.
He sighed again. "Then there's this 10000 hour rule. What the hell am I supposed to do about it now? The only thing I have 10000 hours practice is of scrunching my nose when my wife farts. And even that is more due to habit now. You get used to the smell pretty quickly." He shook his head again. "It's the cabbages. She loves them too much."
"I guess."
"I wish I was born in a 'culture of honour'. If I had been, I would not have just stood there and nodded meekly when my boss told me that I was the love child of a donkey and a pigeon. I would have given him one - right in the kisser. Right in the kisser, I tell you boy."
"Er...but wouldn't that have landed you in jail?"
"Ah, I would have done good in prison, boy. Would have run the prison library and made it famous, like that guy in Shawshank."
"Of course."
"I wasn't ever meant to be an outlier. Life dealt me the wrong hand."
"Then how would reading the book earlier have helped?"
He looked at me incredulously. "Why, it would have changed my life! I wouldn't have felt sad at my failures. I would have regarded them as inevitable. I would have waved the book at everyone who looked at me as a loser. I would have...I would have..."
I was distraught. "Oh, Mr. Blake, why couldn't you have bought the book 35 years ago when it came out?" I felt really bad. This wasn't fair.
He shook his head and sighed prodigiously. "Ah boy, that's the worst part. My boss gave me this book on my 30th birthday. But I hated him so much, I threw it away in the dustbin."
I burst out crying.
Profile Image for Moeen Sahraei.
29 reviews35 followers
January 15, 2021
بسیار لذت بردم، این کتاب چند تا مزیت اساسی داشت.
۱- اولین و مهم ترین مزیت اینکه به هیچ وجه حوصلتون سر نمیره چون گلدول توی داستان تعریف کردن استاده و یه ترکیب خیلی خوبی از تعریف داستان و اوردن تحقیقات اماری علمی به وجود آورده.
۲- دومین مزیت این بود که مطالبش جدید بود و به آدم دیدگاه متفاوتی نسبت به مسئله موفقیت میداد، بعد از خوندن این کتاب دیگه فردی خودش و دیگران رو راجب وضعیت زندگیشون قضاوت نمیکنه چون میدونه موفقیت تابع هزاران متغیره.
۳- در کنار مطالب جالب این کتاب فایده فردی هم داره و باعث میشه فرد تلاشش رو توی جهت موثری متمرکز کنه، مسیر که توش مزیت نسبی داره. مزیت نسبی از هر جهت که شامل خانواده و کشور و تحصیلات و سن و ... میشه.
۴- افسانه ی افرادی مثل بیل گیتس و استیو جابز و امثالهم توی این کتاب میشکنه و بلاخره همه متوجه میشن که عوامل موفقیت این افراد هم علاوه بر خودشون هزار تا مزیت جانبی بود که از آمریکا و از خانوادشون گرفتن. گلدول به خوبی ثابت میکنه که چیزی به اسم موفق self-made وجود نداره.
۵- زبان کتاب آسونه حتی اگر توی انگلیسی مهارت زیادی ندارید میتونید راحت بخونید البته پارت دوم کتاب یه مقدار کلمات پیچیده تری داره.
Profile Image for CoachJim.
172 reviews103 followers
May 18, 2021


: a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample

: a person or thing that is atypical within a particular group, class, or category

Definition from Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

In this book Malcolm Gladwell examines why some people achieve such extraordinary success. He looks at hockey players who make it to the NHL, a rock band, software entrepreneurs, lawyers and financial tycoons.

There was some controversy over the views he expressed in this book, mainly about his 10,000 hour rule, which he explains as that it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to become a success. The arguments revolve around the question of innate talent versus practice. In supporting this theory he somewhat “Cherry Picks” his examples. However, no matter what your interests there is probably something in these examples that will entertain you. This was a very easy and entertaining book to read.

First of all regarding The Beatles, he tells of the fact that as a young band they played some “gigs” in Hamburg, Germany, where on some occasions they performed on stage for up to eight hours.

The Canadian Hockey players story is perhaps his best example. The cutoff birthday for the different leagues for the young beginning players is January 1. This means a player born in December is playing against a player born in January who is stronger, more coordinated and more mature. This gives the older player an advantage when the selection for the better teams is made. The better teams get better coaching, more practice, they play in more games and they play against better players. He noticed this by examining the rosters of the championship teams where the majority of the players were born in January, February or March.

These examples support his 10,000 hour theory, but there are other interesting stories about the birthdates of some successful people.

He writes about a listing of the 75 richest people in human history (calculated in current US dollars). Fourteen of those on the list are Americans born in a nine year span (1831-1840) in the mid-nineteenth century. Almost 20 percent of the names on this list are men born in a single generation in a single country. The reason:

In the 1860s and 1870s, the American economy went through perhaps the greatest transformation in its history. This was when the railroads were being built and when Wall Street emerged. It was when industrial manufacturing started in earnest.

That meant if you were born in the 1830s you were the perfect age for taking advantage of the emerging economy.

Similarly he points out that some of the well-known software entrepreneurs were born in the mid-1950s. Bill Gates was born in 1955, Paul Allen, born 1953, Steve Ballmer, born 1956, and Steve Jobs, born 1955. These were people born at a time when they reached maturity with the age of the micro-computer, when there was a special opportunity to work hard and achieve extraordinary rewards.

There are also some interesting sections on Jewish lawyers who practiced the law that the “White Firms” ignored. There is some stories of child geniuses and their path in life. He deals with parenting issues of wealthy versus poor children. He ends with the story of his mother and the events of her life which allowed him to have a better life.

This is the second time I have read this book. I have a couple of books coming up soon about success and performance, at least one of which takes issue with Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule. I wanted to familiarize myself with Gladwell’s theory before reading those books. I am not the most astute analyst so I may not accurately be able to dispute Gladwell. However, I am familiar with the criticism that there is some self-fulfilling prophecy present here. I recall a Professor in college saying “Proof by example is fraud.”

However, he does end the book with the following observation which to me seems a good summation:

Superstar lawyers and math whizzes and software entrepreneurs appear at first blush to lie outside ordinary experience. But they don’t. They are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Their success is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky — but all critical to making them who they are. The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all. (Page 285)
Profile Image for Monica.
619 reviews631 followers
December 2, 2018
I don't know about Malcolm Gladwell. I've read 3 of his books. All of them fine, but nothing special. All of them fairly superficial with nothing original or innovative. I think his books are very pop culture and should be read in the time frame (say within a year) that they are published. Too long after that and they become stale, not prolific or prescient. Gladwell is a very good and interesting writer, but I don't think his books have much depth or staying power.

Almost 3.5 Stars

Read on kindle.
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