Outliers Book Review
Francisco Ayala May 9, 2012 English 101 Outliers Malcolm Gladwell is a speaker, bestselling author, and Canadian journalist. He is a writer for the New Yorker since 1996. Gladwell has four New York Times bestseller books he has written. Among one of those books is Outliers: The story of success (2008). Outlier, a nonfiction book, had to do with social psychology. Outlier is about the success of people who do not fit into our normal understanding of achievement. Gladwell points out that many people could be giving the same opportunity but it all comes down to early opportunity and privileged social standing are what really makes an Outlier.
Gladwell does a really good job on breaking down the story of success of some Outliers. He goes in detail in how some Canadian hockey players make it have it easier than others, how Bill Gates is who he is today and the genius Christopher Largan failure to become an Outlier. In Outliers, Gladwell wants to convince the reader that people don’t just rise from nothing to be successful. Success comes from parentage and patronage. It also comes down to when and where you grew up. First example Gladwell gives is explaining how some Canadian hockey players become better than others.
Gladwell research shows there’s an uneven number of elite Canadian hockey players. Players that are born in the first few months, January, February and March, of the calendar are more likely to be successful than those born in the last month of the year. Statistics showed players born in January, February, and March are most likely to be in the hockey traveling team. The reason for this was because in Canada, the eligibility cut-off for age class hockey is January 1. Someone born in January 2 has bigger physical maturity than someone born in November.
Those with bigger maturity get chosen to join the elite team. They get provided with better coaching, better teammates and more games than those who were left behind. It is why most likely they are able to make into professional leagues. I can relate to Gladwell research as I used to play in soccer leagues. The cut-off date was also January 1. I did notice a difference of physical maturity; I was born in April, than those born in the last three months. It was easy to outrun the shorter people and it was the shorter people who were always sitting on the bench.
Another Outlier Gladwell uses as an example is Bill Gates. Young Bill Gates was a really good mathematician. Gates was headed to a highly intelligent, driven, and successful professional career. But what change his path into not only being successful in life but also making him a billionaire was Bill Gates was given a unique opportunity that no one was given to at that time. He had the privilege to be the only one to be able to use the High School computers as much as he wanted after school, even overnight. It is there where he practiced programming and achieved the 10,000 hour rule.
The 10,000 hour rule is the require amount of time a person must practice in order to succeed. Personally, I agreed with this 10,000 milestone as I know someone who put ton amount of hours in his profession. At the age of ten, a teammate of the soccer team I used to play in used to stayed an extra two hours playing soccer after soccer practice was over. Practice was three hours along. That was a total of five hours a day of playing soccer. This was his routine for at least five times a week for the next nine years. He passed the 10,000 hour rule by age eighteen.
At age twenty, he got signed to professional soccer team New York Red Bulls. Gladwell also uses Christopher Largan as an example. Largan is considered by many the smartest man in America. He has an IQ of one-ninety five. With a higher IQ than Einstein, everyone automatically thinks he is going to be successful in life. Largan does not become an Outlier. One reason for that is Largan did not have anyone in his life. His mother was not there to support him. There was no opportunity for him to demonstrate his talent. Gladwell compares Lohan to Oppenheimer, the creator of the atomic bomb.
Oppenheimer came from a wealthy neighborhood. His father was a business man. Oppenheimer had better opportunities to develop his intelligence than the opportunities Largan had. Largan came from a poor neighborhood and his mother was always working. Another difference between the two was Oppenheimer had practical intelligence and Largan didn’t. Practical Intelligence is “knowing what to say to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it for maximum effect (101). ” Oppenheimer tried to poison one of his tutors.
He was going to get kicked out of the University but he managed to get away with it because Oppenheimer had practical intelligence. Oppenheimer got these skills when he was child from his wealthy parents. He got away with attempting murder and just got sent to a psychiatrist in London. In the other hand Largan had to drop out of school because his mother didn’t sign his financial scholarship on time, therefore he lost the scholarship. When he tried to talk to the dean, Largan wasn’t able to convince the dean to let him keep his scholarship.
Largan lack of practical intelligence he never got by his parents. It leaves me wondering what if Largan came from a wealthy neighborhood and his father was a business man. Would he have being bigger than Albert Einstein? What if Oppenheimer was raised in a poor neighborhood? He would’ve most likely end up in jail for trying to murder his tutor. Practical intelligence is something some persons have and should appreciate it. My brother always talks his way out of a ticket most of time when he gets pull over by police.
On the other hand, I always get the ticket whenever I get pulled over by the police officer. I get very nervous and don’t know what to say while my brother always comes up with a unique excuse and they let him off the hook. Outliers has made me realize in order to be successful, one has to have luck on their side. I could be the smartest man in the world, but if I don’t have the proper background to succeed I won’t be able be successful. People who have being successful have had a unique opportunity in their life.
Some of them were born at a time that was for their advantage. It makes me think if my birth year has any luck store for me in the future. I will recommend this book to people because it has some material in it that caught my attention. The 10,000 hour rule is what really got my attention. Seeing how The Beatles became successful after passing the 10,000 hours motivates me to put in hard work to what my goal is. What also caught my attention is how we have different perspective about school than what Asian think.
Americans think if we go to school for a long time, we going to fatigue the brain and therefore not learn. That is the reason why we get a lot of vacation time. The Asian community makes their students go to school most of the year for at least eight hours. It is why they are mostly highly knowledgeable than most Americans. If people read what the Asians do in order to be highly intelligent, it could perhaps make them want to spend more time in school. Work Cited • “Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell). ” Weblog post. A Sea Change. 10 Feb. 2011. Web. 09 May 2012. .