Book Review: Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers – “Outliers” or people who are extremely successful are not “outliers” after all, because they all came from a rich family during a perfect time. Hard work and obsession gets these people to their position, but they never would get there if they did not have a wealthy and focused family. The 10,000 rule is the most prevalent message from this book, because it says that if you have 10,000 hours of deliberate practice in any area, you are an expert. Childhood prodigies like Bill Gates, Mozart, Tiger woods, violinists, etc. all got their 10,000 hours of deliberate practice (from a mentor or teacher) at an extremely early age, allowing them to compound that time investment as they got older.
People don’t rise from nothing. They are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot. 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 achievement in ways we cannot begin to imagine. It’s not enough to ask what successful people are like, in other words. It is only by asking where they are from, that we can unravel the logic behind who succeeds and who does not.
The book uses professional hockey players as an example, because an increasingly high number of pro hockey players have birthdays in the same months. It all goes back to childhood, because those kids who have a year advantage of growth will continue to dominate and garner great support as they continue to improve as they get older. The date cutoff for children in sports makes a big difference across the globe in different sports like soccer. A twelve-month growth advantage at that young age makes all the difference, because it carries over into the future and compounds time invested.
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