Outliers – The Story of Success

Absolutely amazing – probably the best book I’ve read this year!  This book was recommended to me twice in the past three weeks under very different circumstances, once during a discussion about visionary companies and the other during a social chat about whether to send my son to school at age 4+ or 5+.  Worlds apart and yet this book came up in both conversations.

This book is about “outliers”, about successful people who excel beyond the norm e.g. Bill Gates.  It challenges what we think contributes to a person’s success, that the traditional indicators of intelligence, talent, hard work are not the only explanations.

Being no lover of sports, I had to push myself through the first few pages where the author talks about Canadian hockey, and I’m glad that I did.  Why do the Canadian hockey players overwhelmingly have birthdays in January, February and March?  You would not be alone if you were thinking “surely those born in the latter part of the year have talent too” and you would be right but the statistics show that those who get selected are mostly born in the early part of the year.  How curious is that?

What links the success of the Beatles and Bill Gates?  While talent is obvious, that is not the answer.  It is a rule that applies not just to them but to composers, basketball players, concert pianists and so on.  The answer may surprise you.

Why are the Chinese better at maths?  Is it genetic?  Is there a co-relation between the ethnicity of pilots and plane crashes.  These questions might sound racist and they are not intended to.  The book explains the answers very simply and logically without offending.

To avoid spoiling the book for you, I have deliberately not gone into the answers to the questions above.

A very thought provoking read.  Highly recommended!

More about:

Outliers: The Story of Success
Outliers: The Story of Success

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