Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

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Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is a compilation of case studies and research to explain various phenomena. This book specifically targets success by looking into a person’s environment in conjunction with personal motivation and drive.

By using real-life examples, Gladwell breaks down each situation and explains why successful people are successful. Instead of focusing on one’s intelligence, ambition and personality traits, Gladwell argues that environment (culture, family history, experiences) plays an integral role in success.



Some examples Gladwell uses to support his arguments: Bill Gates, The Beatles, Canadian hockey stars, pilots and plane crashes, why Asians are good at math.

This book has a very interesting take on success. Unlike any other books, Gladwell does not focus on intelligence, rather the environment and background of a particular person. He looks at the bigger picture to see all the qualities, influences and mindsets that shape a successful person.

“It makes a difference where and when we grew up. The culture we belong to and the legacies passed down by our forebears shape the patterns of our achievements in a way we cannot begin to imagine” — Gladwell (pg. 19).



4 Comments on “Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell”

  1. This book sounds like it has a very interesting take on leadership.

    I agree that environment, such as family, culture, experiences, etc. do influence our success. If people are raised in an environment where they are told they can accomplish anything and are loved and cared for by their family their success will be different from someone who was neglected by their family and taught that they are worthless.

    I think it does make a difference where and when people grow up because there are different factors that influence their beliefs.

  2. I agree with Kelsea, it seems like a very interesting book in terms of leadership. I believe your culture and background definitely molds the way your leadership traits grow as you mature in business and etc., however I’m not sure I can say intelligence-or at least the desire to learn new things constantly-doesn’t also have a great impact on your abilities as a leader.

    I’d like to hear more about his examples, especially why an environment affects pilots and plane crashes!

  3. I’ve added this book onto my summer reading list, because it seems like such a different take on leadership compared with everything I’ve read or heard in the past. I’ve always believed that part of becoming a leader is learning how to overcome unfortunate circumstances and/or break the mold, so to speak — which seems to run counter to what Gladwell proposes in his book. I’m really interested to read more about his theories and the reasoning behind his belief that environment is often the key factor that shapes success.

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