Book Review: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

I have seen people rave about this one, so I decided to give it a try.

As humans, we tend to idolise world-renowned people for achievements in their respective disciplines. Usually, when seen from the outside, their success seems equal parts daunting yet attainable.

Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.

Malcolm Galdwell

Through this book, Malcolm Gladwell calls these people ‘Outliers’ and breaks down their journey before reaching the peak of their career. It is what they did, in the beginning, is what matters.

Gladwell establishes that an average human takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert. He supports this theory, taking examples of personalities like Bill Gates, Bill Joy, Robert Oppenheimer, The Beatles etc. These famous personalities became masters because of the opportunities and conditions that moulded them early on in their career. They were lucky to have these moments to practise their craft tirelessly. If not for these milestones, they wouldn’t have climbed the ladder of success.

He also explains what makes Asians good at math, why the Canadian hockey team is triumphant, and the other cross-cultural linguistic nuances. I found it enlightening as he used logic and statistics to justify his arguments. However, the only qualm I had with the book is that Gladwell takes people who fit in the mould of his theory. I am sure there are outliers in history who do not adhere to these rules. I would have liked to know about them just to understand the other side of the argument.

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