Book Recommendation – Outliers

by Mark on May 9, 2010

My book-reading is altered this year. Teaching requires textbook and other educational reading. Along that path I stumbled on ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell. It is a fascinating study on success that completely changes how we view it. I highly recommend it.

Gladwell begins with Canadian hockey stars. The majority of the best are born in January through March. January 1st is the date each youth can join a hockey league, often at 4 years old. Of the youths, born from January to December, the first quarter kids are relatively bigger, stronger, and more mature. Their initial successes lead to specialized training and better leagues. Those with later birthdays tend to fall away from the sport. The most talented become Olympians and professionals. Gladwell suggests there may be other Gordon Howe’s in the later months that never receive the same opportunities.

‘Outliers’ provides new perspectives on the success of Bill Gates and the Beatles. It explains why Chinese children may be better at math. There are many other stories that break some of the paradigms in how we view success. I will not spoil the rest, but a large portion of the book talks about 10,000 hours of practice. Think about your life. Where does 10,000 hours fit in your success? While considering it, go to the library or book store and buy ‘Outliers.’

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