10 Things I Learned from ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell

“What makes some people more successful than others?”

Hello Neighbour

I loved a lot of things about this book but the biggest benefit for me was how useful it was as a parenting guide. Yes, parenting.

In Outliers, Gladwell does a meticulous analysis of success and gives impressive answers to the question, “What makes some people more successful than others?” Through thorough research and taking a deep look at the lives of people like Bill Gates, The Beatles, and Steve Jobs, and finding out things like why Asian children are good at mathematics, he debunks some of the ideas we have about success.

Here are some of the things I learned:

  1. There’s no such thing as a self-made person, and people who make it big do not rise from nothing. Patronage and parentage play a huge role.
  2. Excellence at performing a complex task requires a critical minimum level of practice. Experts have settled on 10 000 hours. However, since it’s such a long time (about ten years), things like being poor and having, say, to hold down two or three jobs leave you with not enough time, therefore it becomes a challenge to even begin that kind of practice.
  3. What parents do for a living, the clubs, programs and activities their children are afforded help create opportunities for the children.
  4. Intelligence matters up to a certain point and past that certain point other things outside of intelligence start to matter more.
  5. I learned about what’s called Practical Intelligence, and how important it is. It is ‘knowing what to say, to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it for maximum effect.” This important knowledge helps you read situations correctly and get what you want.
  6. The time and place a person is born do matter. What was happening at the time, for example economically, counts more than we think.  
  7. Childhood experiences, being encouraged and nudged by parents or caregivers play an important role.
  8. Entitlement, in a positive sense, is about kids who act as though they have a right to pursue their own individual preferences, and they’re able to reason and negotiate with ease in institutional settings.
  9. The culture you find yourself in is also a factor.
  10. The attitudes and traditions we inherit from our forebears, affect the way we make sense of the world and therefore also play our role in the shaping of our success.

It’s such an enjoyable and stimulating book. It will open your eyes and bring a fresh perspective to how you think of successful people and success itself.

Enjoy, Neighbour!

Published by

Nthepa

Autodidact & Bibliophile

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