Friday, August 14, 2009

Thrive Learning Institute - "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell

Persistence is, by far, the most important factor in determining your success. How badly do you want it. How long are you willing to stick with it?

Malcolm Gladwell poses a provocative question in Outliers: why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? Challenging our cherished belief of the "self-made man," he makes the democratic assertion that superstars don't arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: "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."

Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, "some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky."

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell seeks to disabuse us of the notion that genius and greatness are predominantly a function of innate ability and IQ. He rightly notes that while IQ is certainly a contributor, it reaches a "point of diminishing returns" after a while: once people score about 130, IQ becomes less important and "intangibles" (my term) become more important.

"Outliers" has consistently been a New York Times bestseller ever since it was released in late 2008.

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