This weekend I was able to read OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS(Little Brown & Co., 2008) by Malcolm Gladwell. Previously I had read with interest his publications BLINK: THE POWER OF THINKING WITHOUT THINKING and THE TIPPING POINT: HOW LITTLE THINGS CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.
OUTLIERS is one book I would advise anyone with grandchildren, children, nieces and nephews to read.
Success is not necessarily defined as having a genius-level IQ, but having intellectual ability that is 'smart enough'. Gladwell reviews such successful figures as Mozart,Robert Oppenheimer, Bill Gates, and others who have been 'smart enough'-some prodigies and some not; but all having been nurtured to a level of comfort with their culture, who have spent at least 10,000 hours practicing their passion, who happened to have been born in the right decade and even for some outstanding people, in the right months. He delves into the fields of sports, fine arts, technology, engineering, law, business, and education. I had never seen an explanation of math prowess among Asians versus American students based on an analysis of the languages of each, the culture of effort, and dignity of work. He even discusses the selection process of Harvard's freshman class. So many concepts making so much sense!
In addition to being an important contribution to our understanding (and misunderstanding) of success, OUTLIERS is an interesting read with great examples, easily-understood research stats, and a broader understanding of the accomplishments of successful people. Since we're interested in strong women who influence those in their lives, Gladwell's "Epilogue: A Jamaican Story" is not to be missed. He describes his grandmother and his mother, both strong, admirable women who have greatly influenced the man he is.
If you choose one non-fiction read this summer, consider OUTLIERS-you won't regret it. You can find Gladwell's most recent work and commentary on many areas by accessing his blog: