Friday, July 12, 2013

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

What is the reason behind successful people? Did people like Bill Gates, Bill Joy, Robert Oppenheimer made it solely on their own or was there someone helping them. Gladwell explores with stats what makes the successful successful. Gladwell puts across his ideas backed by facts that success is not the work of a man alone but is the consequence of a number of factors including your heritage, your society and sometimes just sheer luck.

Gladwell argues that success of one man is never because of that man alone, but the combined efforts of his family, society and some times even rioters. Gladwell introduces and analyzes some thought provoking data, For e.g. Why most professional hockey players in Canada are born in the first calender quarter of the year, Gladwell states that the school session starts in January, now when kids are around 4-5 year old the try outs for the hockey team starts, those born in the beginning of the year have a natural advantage of their younger peers, as the extra 8-10 months give them a physical advantage over their younger counterparts.
Gladwell theorizes that  since these boys are older they would be bigger and would have mature bodies, which would give them an advantage over other similarly talented but smaller peers. Since these relatively bigger and powerful boys get selected to play for the school, they receive better training, coaching and extra attention which translates into them creating an even bigger gap between them and their younger peers and eventually leads them to play in bigger competitions, and some go on to play as professionals.

This is just one of the many examples in the book. Gladwell tries to show the reader that the Outlier is an Outlier because of some circumstances, and that if you are not as successful as the Windows Mogul or the father of the Atom bomb, that is not your fault and perhaps there is little you could have done to change it.

The book is filled with interesting and facts and figures, Malcolm Gladwell does a stellar job of presenting these to the reader in a readable and engaging manner. He is an outlier of his own and I'm definitely planning to read "The Tipping point"  which I have heard is as good as Outliers.

In many ways "Outliers" is a lot like "Freakonomics", both written by intelligent authors and both present facts which you could never dream of. This is not what I usually read but this is was a very pleasurable digression and would suggest everyone to read this book. 

3.5 out of 5 Stars for puncturing the Myth of the self made man. 

Where Can I buy it? I bought it from Om book shop for Rs 350

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