"It is not the brightest who succeed. ... Outliers are those who have been given opportunities -- and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them."After chronicling the lives of many successful people, and making some interesting observations along the way, Gladwell concludes that success is not completely inherent to an individual's IQ and other genetic factors, but is influenced rather heavily by circumstantial factors as well.
"To build a better world we need to replace the patchwork of lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determine success — the unfortunate birth dates and happy accidents of history — with a society that provides opportunities for all."
The book is written in a story-like style, makes for captivating reading, and is full of very insightful comments, some of which are given below.
|Hard work||39||"... once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That's it ..."|
|Practice||40||"The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert — in anything", writes the neurologist Daniel Levitin ... And, what is ten years? Well, it's roughly how long it takes to put in ten thousand hours of hard practice."|
|Practice||42||"Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good."|
|Accidental presence||64||"If January 1975 was the dawn of the personal computer age, then who would be in a best position to take advantage of it? ... Ideally, you want to be twenty or twenty-one, which is to say, born in 1954 or 1955."|
|Intelligence||101||"... general intelligence and practical intelligence are 'orthogonal' ..."|
|Parenting||104||"[sociologist Annette] Lareau calls the middle-class parenting style 'concerted cultivation'. ... Poor parents tend to follow ... a strategy of 'accomplishment of natural growth'. ... But, in practical terms, concerted cultivation has enormous advantages. ... The heavily scheduled middle-class child is exposed to constantly shifting set of experiences."|
|Parenting||107||"... Lareau describes a visit to the doctor by Alex Williams, a nine-year-old ... and his mother... Alex is used to being treated with respect. He is seen as special and as a person worthy of adult attention and interest. These are key characteristics of concerted cultivation. Alex is not showing off during his checkup. He is behaving much as he does with his parents — he reasons, negotiates, and jokes with equal ease."|
|Human memory||229||"... Because as human beings we store digits in a memory loop that runs for about two seconds. ..."|
|Schooling||252||"The KIPP program represents one of the most promising new educational philosophies in the United States."|
|Who are the Outliers?||267||"It is not the brightest who succeed. If it were, Chris Langan would be up there with Einstein. Nor is success simply the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our behalf. Outliers are those who have been given opportunities -- and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them."|
|Book's lesson||268||"The lesson here is very simple. ... We are so caught in the myths of the best and the brightest and the self-made that we think that outliers spring naturally from the earth. We look at Bill Gates and marvel ... But that's the wrong lesson. ... If a million teenagers had been given the same opportunity, how many more Microsofts would we have today? To build a better world we need to replace the patchwork of lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determine success — the unfortunate birth dates and happy accidents of history — with a society that provides opportunities for all."|
In summary, the insight in this book is something every parent would do well to keep in mind, as a child is being reared into adulthood.