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Thursday, April 08, 2010


Word of mouth recommendations intrigued me enough to pick up Malcolm Gladwell's best seller Outliers. It wasn't a sticky jacket that made me want to keep it in my hands until I finished; it was the riveting examples Malcolm Gladwell cites to support his theories.

Gladwell defines outlier as 1. something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body; and 2. a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample.

From these definitions and his sharp observations and accompanying research, he discovers incredible similarities between those who find success in life--sometimes between people whose successes are incredibly dissimilar. The result is a fascinating adventure and a series of wonderful lessons. Would you believe that the Beatles and Bill Gates achieved their iconic statures by following very similar paths? Read this book, and you will believe it.

Gladwell even deals with the idea of luck and its roll in success. Do you believe in luck?

Malcolm Gladwell's explanations answered questions lurking in my mind about people I know, opportunities I and others have, and the influences around us that shape who we are. His theories, if heeded, can indeed help one to understand how success--defined in different ways--can be achieved. Understanding opens doorways.

Additionally Gladwell is a real writer--a man whose words flow with style, a quality I deeply appreciate. I'm not giving anything away when I say he truly saved the best for last--don't skip ahead, but know you're going to read the last chapter with a smile on your face. I quickly recommended Outliers to others, went to buy another Gladwell book, Blink, and have to finish this review before I sit down with that book in my hands--I may not want to put it down.

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