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Outliers: The Story of Success Paperback – 24 Jun 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 437 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (24 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141036257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141036250
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (437 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

You will never again think as you did before about [success] ... This book deserves the gold star that adorns its front cover (The Times)

Malcolm Gladwell is a cerebral and jaunty writer, with an unusual gift for making the complex seem simple (Observer)

Makes geniuses look a bit less special, and the rest of us a bit more so (Time)

Gladwell deploys a wealth of fascinating data and information to illustrate his thesis ... Outliers challenges accepted wisdom (FT)

Review

'Gladwell deploys a wealth of fascinating data and information to illustrate his thesis ... Outliers challenges accepted wisdom.' --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Great read and very thought provoking.
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I enjoyed this book enormously. Full of very interesting stats and studies that help you understand why some people can achieve so much. Some underling assumptions are successfully challenged. A book to bend the mind and make you reevaluate.
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Interesting but a bit repetetive
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Brilliant book which really opened my eyes to how different factors other than so called "pure genious" can contribute to success. It was written in such a way that I didn't get bored and looked forward to reading it everyday.
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In Outliers, journalist Malcolm Gladwell examines the accidents of birth date, language, heritage and culture which give particular individuals a head-start in life -- or, equally, result in catastrophic failures. Although journalistic rather than scientific in style, Gladwell makes a wide range of compelling points which become stronger the more you think about them. This is an exceptional book and -- unlike so many of the books of this type -- really does make a significant contribution to how we view our world.

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I was on the point of giving up on this book after chapter three. Most books of this type seem to have just one chapter which is the book's real point, and I rather had the feeling that I had read it and was just getting more of the same. Not so! Rather than simply drawing evidence from further afield for his initial thesis that accidents of birthdate within the calendar are the biggest factor in sporting success, Gladwell goes on to look at accidents of language, of the type of economy we grew up in, of culture in the cockpit, and of shade of skin in the Caribbean. He draws out different conclusions from each one, including the surprising notion of intelligence threshold, where being clever _enough_ is more important than maximum IQ.

The underlying premise, I suppose, is that success is inherently unfair. Somehow -- by going through his own family's history -- Gladwell turns this round right at the end to be something positive and life-affirming.

An awful lot of the evidence in this book is 'evidence by inspection', and it sometimes comes perilously close to finding causation where there is only evidence of correlation.
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I had higher expectations due to all the hype surrounding this book. The narrative is incoherent, he jumps from one topic to another in a seemingly random assortment of stories only to end with some sort of a anti-racism statement as conclusion.
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It's rather ironic use of the term outlier for the title. I do recognise it as a technical term as oppose to word as it signifies a specific concept in data analysis. Outlier takes centre stage in data science, concerned with an events or phenomena that fall outside the normal pattern. The book outlier is a refreshing outlook at a time when data science not only come to dominate virtual space but most contemporary literature concern itself with a sobering study of the subject.

The book deals with the broader context of collective contribution, a concept not new at all and acknowledged and documented in the work of most geniuses such as Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. The book adds its twist by combining it with how the Western culture view success and its contemporary drivers. The book debunks the misconception that success is an outcome of personal achievement but rather a mix of a string of opportunities, concerted effort of communities and families, luck, dedication and a quirky take on the world.

The book is an eye opener to rigid individualism and how viewing success in those terms are not only false but dangerous. We do live at a time which offers great opportunities and unprecedented potentials but they are only few and it’s important to be aware of how we view the majority who are unsuccessful. We view our system in a sentimental way that it rewards hard work with astonishing success and wealth, this is false the truth is that it only rewards one billionaire Bill Gates and one billionaire Richard Branson and nobody else can have that opportunity and if Bill Gates was not born in 1955 plus another series of lucky events the opportunity would have gone to someone else and only them.
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Useful book. A lot of things to learn from this book.
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