fighting the lack of good ideas

outliers by malcolm gladwell

I have now read a few items by Malcolm Gladwell, but so far have liked Outliers most. The premise is Mr Gladwell’s research that if you hit ~10000 hours working on something, you become fabulous. That, and being born right after an age cutoff (say, 3 Jan when the age cutoff is 31 Dec) will give you a marked leg-up on your teammates/opponents (and duh! an almost-8-year-old will do better at most things than a just-7-year-old).

Oh – and parents have a strong influence on their children: if they encourage their children, they’re more likely to do well. And individual attitude/drive is important, too – if you want to do well, you’re more likely to.

Some would say that Mr Gladwell cherry-picked his subjects: but then again, who doesn’t when writing a book that wants to present a particular conclusion? I do wish he had put some counter-examples to his general thesis – if for no other reason than to show they are the exceptions, which proves the rule he tries to establish in the book.

Mr Gladwell is a noted journalist, and has articles published in a variety of well-known magazines and newspapers. His style is very accessible, and while he present new material and/or tries to make points, he doesn’t ever talk down to the reader: you feel like he’s bringing you on a journey of discovery, and you’re finding-out what he’s telling you as he is discovering it for himself.

  • Quality of writing: 4/5
  • Quality of content: 3.5/5
  • Entertainment value: 4/5
  • Educational value: 3/5
  • Reading comfort: 4/5
  • Overall: 3.5/5