My Takeaways From The Book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

By Mike Maddaloni on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at 06:52 AM with 0 comments

Have you ever felt that all of the sudden you hear about someone who has done something great and then wondered, where did they come from? The term “overnight sensation” is commonly given to these people. But is their success truly something that materialized over the course of 24 hours? This is the idea behind the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

In Outliers, several categories of people are analyzed as well as famous people who fall into those classifications. Gladwell is seeking to find out why they are successful – is it by chance, or were there contributing factors to their success? The book is told in a narrative, non-intimidating style for a book that presents a lot of data and unique scenarios to consider. He makes conclusions based on his research which in the end are rather simple – I won’t give them away as I don’t want to spoil it if you decide to read the book!

There were a couple of takeaways for me from Outliers. The greatest was we don’t often know the whole story behind a person’s success. Many times when a person’s story is told, you hear their achievements and perhaps some obstacles they had to overcome, but not much more. This is no fault to journalists or whoever is telling the story, as these are the most interesting parts. Many other events occurring in a person’s history may not even be interesting; however they may have contributed greatly to their success. In the book Bill Gates is highlighted. Where most people may know he dropped out of Harvard University, most probably don’t realize the high amount of access he had to computers as a youth, which Gladwell contributes to his success.

Another takeaway from the book was there could have been other titles for this book. I assume “Outliers” was chosen as the people highlighted are considered outliers from the mainstream of society. Another good title could have been “Chances” as many of the people in the book had chances and opportunities others have not which contributed to their success. Another title could have been “The Rest Of The Story” which though is probably trademarked by the late Paul Harvey’s estate would have fit as it does tell the rest of the story of those featured. I’ll admit the given title did not compel me to read the book as much as who wrote it, as I have liked Gladwell’s other books.

I enjoyed Outliers and would recommend it to anyone in business or beyond, as the back story of the book helps remind you there is probably more going on or has gone on than you may realize. And to fully disclose, I was offered this book by a colleague, and it was shipped to me directly from either the publisher or a publicist at no cost. I was not asked to write a review or takeaways on it. Note the links to the book within this story are affiliate links to Amazon.com, where I would earn a few pennies if you did buy the book from one of the links.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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