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Outliers: The Story of Success
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23 von 25 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich.
After two exceptional books as 'Tipping Point' and 'Blink' were, it is quite a challenge to write the next bestseller. I fear Malcolm's 'Outliers' didn't make it. It will be a bestseller, but not of this unique quality the one's before had.

At page 115 the book abruptly stops to be needful - but there are 300 pages altogether!
Let us stay with the first ones:

Outliers are humans like Bill Gates, like Canadian premier league hockey players, like violinists, composers, painters, which had an extraordinary career, earning to be called unique.

Malcolm explains in detailled and colorful stories how they achieved to become unique. What makes them extraordinary is not talent, but opportunity - or better: access, as I would like to call it.

Of all the talented they were the lucky girls and guys, which were fostered, grew up in a better neighbourhood and family, were challenged more often to become autonomous and self confident, stayed with their likes and exploited their knowledge, shifted their borders.
They worked very hard to reach the top.

That's it - almost.

Malcolm's theory that you need 10.000 hours of practice to become famous, etc. is vetoed by Seth Godin in his post "10,000 hours".
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Early advantages plus talent plus lots of practice plus a good social heritage plus a large opportunity help people succeed. That's this book in a nutshell as described in a series of New Yorker style articles. As told, the story is much more entertaining than that, but I want you to get the essence. Mr. Gladwell knows how to pick and spin a story to make it appealing and intriguing, and he has done well on those dimensions here.

The book will inspire people to want to help others accomplish more. Any parent, any teacher, any coach, or anyone interested in improving society will find something stimulating here.

Let me give you a quick overview:

1. Mr. Gladwell draws his inspiration for this book from the studies of Roseto, Pennsylvania by Dr. Stewart Wolf and sociologist John Bruhn that established how social factors can improve or harm health. Mr. Gladwell wants to similarly expand our vision of what affects success beyond the sense that "raw talent" and "privilege" help.

2. Mr. Gladwell uses the birth dates of athletes to establish that annual cutoff dates for teams benefit those born closer to the cutoff date. This principle also affects school children. As a result, the older children in a cohort do better and get more attention. Mr. Gladwell proposes having more anniversary dates so that more youngsters will get early access to help and attention.

3. Mr. Gladwell tells us the background of Bill Joy, one of the great computer programming geniuses of all time. In the story, he points out that mastery of most disciplines requires 10,000 hours of practice. Mr. Joy got that practice at a young age because he had access to time sharing on a mainframe when most programmers didn't. The practice point is buttressed by a study of violinists that correlates how much they practiced to their ultimate success. Then, Mr. Gladwell pulls in the Beatles and Bill Gates as examples to support his point. He also looks at the frequency of accumulating large wealth to notice it is concentrated in one time period in one country.

4. From there, he gives us the sad story of a genius who hasn't been able to use his life for very much other than to win on a television game show, Christopher Langan. Mr. Gladwell goes on to argue that you have to be talented enough to succeed, but that talent level falls far below the genius level.

5. Mr. Gladwell next points out that parenting matters. Mr. Langan had little help there, but many privileged youngsters get enormous assistance which provides direct help and makes them more assertive.

6. Joe Flom is profiled next to describe his background before becoming the head of a major New York Law firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom. Great emphasis is placed on his being Jewish, so he couldn't work in the "white shoe" firms that didn't want to get their hands dirty with hostile takeovers; being born when takeover lawyers could do well; and being born into a family with a social heritage of prospering in the garment trade (a very exacting business that rewarded hard work and attention to detail).

7. Mr. Gladwell expands on the idea of a sociological legacy in part two, beginning with the apparent roots of Southern family feuds (think of the Hatfields and the McCoys). He next takes a look at how such social patterns appear to have affected airline safety (with a close look at Korean Air and an Avianca plane that crashed when it ran out of fuel). He then jumps across the globe to argue that the Chinese language's structure of words that involve numbers and the work involved in cultivating rice explain the advantages that many Southern Chinese students have in math over students in other parts of the world.

8. The story moves into its prescriptive stage in describing the results of an experimental public school in the South Bronx that helped youngsters get the structure and discipline they need to succeed . . . with very good results.

9. The book concludes with a look at Mr. Gladwell's Jamaican roots and how those contributed to his success.

Mr. Gladwell is such a provocative and intriguing writer that it seems rude to make any suggestions for possible improvement. However, I will be so bold as to comment on the ideas and the evidence.

1. Mr. Gladwell doesn't seem to take liking the task into account as a success factor. Most of us could eat chocolate candy until 10,000 hours had occurred. But how many of us like any other task that much that can be turned into a valuable form of human achievement? Without such liking, I suspect that much success won't occur. Self-discipline in the absence of liking will just lead to early burnout.

2. Mr. Gladwell seems a little confused about the contribution Bill Gates has made to software. Mr. Gladwell tells the Gates story as though Gates is another Bill Joy. Gates is more of a corporate strategist than a programming success. The famous programs on which Microsoft's success was based were drawn primarily from the work of programmers who weren't even at Microsoft.

3. In the airline crash examples, there is also a lot of research about how crews in all countries defer too much to the captains. Although that research is mentioned in passing, I felt like Mr. Gladwell was overstating his point. The issue in the Avianca crash was strongly related to not speaking American-style English with comfort. I think the book would have been stronger without the airline crash examples.

4. When you are writing about success (even as "outliers"), it makes sense to spend a little more time thinking about what you want to focus on. This book jumps from looking at geniuses who do things that benefit everyone (like Bill Joy) to people who just happen to make a lot of money (Joe Flom). If Mr. Gladwell had stuck with Bill Joy-type examples, I think this book would have been a lot more helpful.

5. If these points are so important, wouldn't it make sense to have the bulk of the book prescribe what to do differently? Mr. Gladwell doesn't take that part very seriously. As a result, the book is more entertainment than call to action.

6. By stringing together a series of article-style chapters, the book ends up being a bit choppy to read and follow.

I do recommend you read the book, and I hope that Mr. Gladwell will write a follow-up book that is prescriptive.

Thank you for much food for thought, Mr. Gladwell!
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich.
Early advantages plus talent plus lots of practice plus a good social heritage plus a large opportunity help people succeed. That's this book in a nutshell as described in a series of New Yorker style articles. As told, the story is much more entertaining than that, but I want you to get the essence. Mr. Gladwell knows how to pick and spin a story to make it appealing and intriguing, and he has done well on those dimensions here.

The book will inspire people to want to help others accomplish more. Any parent, any teacher, any coach, or anyone interested in improving society will find something stimulating here.

Let me give you a quick overview:

1. Mr. Gladwell draws his inspiration for this book from the studies of Roseto, Pennsylvania by Dr. Stewart Wolf and sociologist John Bruhn that established how social factors can improve or harm health. Mr. Gladwell wants to similarly expand our vision of what affects success beyond the sense that "raw talent" and "privilege" help.

2. Mr. Gladwell uses the birth dates of athletes to establish that annual cutoff dates for teams benefit those born closer to the cutoff date. This principle also affects school children. As a result, the older children in a cohort do better and get more attention. Mr. Gladwell proposes having more anniversary dates so that more youngsters will get early access to help and attention.

3. Mr. Gladwell tells us the background of Bill Joy, one of the great computer programming geniuses of all time. In the story, he points out that mastery of most disciplines requires 10,000 hours of practice. Mr. Joy got that practice at a young age because he had access to time sharing on a mainframe when most programmers didn't. The practice point is buttressed by a study of violinists that correlates how much they practiced to their ultimate success. Then, Mr. Gladwell pulls in the Beatles and Bill Gates as examples to support his point. He also looks at the frequency of accumulating large wealth to notice it is concentrated in one time period in one country.

4. From there, he gives us the sad story of a genius who hasn't been able to use his life for very much other than to win on a television game show, Christopher Langan. Mr. Gladwell goes on to argue that you have to be talented enough to succeed, but that talent level falls far below the genius level.

5. Mr. Gladwell next points out that parenting matters. Mr. Langan had little help there, but many privileged youngsters get enormous assistance which provides direct help and makes them more assertive.

6. Joe Flom is profiled next to describe his background before becoming the head of a major New York Law firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom. Great emphasis is placed on his being Jewish, so he couldn't work in the "white shoe" firms that didn't want to get their hands dirty with hostile takeovers; being born when takeover lawyers could do well; and being born into a family with a social heritage of prospering in the garment trade (a very exacting business that rewarded hard work and attention to detail).

7. Mr. Gladwell expands on the idea of a sociological legacy in part two, beginning with the apparent roots of Southern family feuds (think of the Hatfields and the McCoys). He next takes a look at how such social patterns appear to have affected airline safety (with a close look at Korean Air and an Avianca plane that crashed when it ran out of fuel). He then jumps across the globe to argue that the Chinese language's structure of words that involve numbers and the work involved in cultivating rice explain the advantages that many Southern Chinese students have in math over students in other parts of the world.

8. The story moves into its prescriptive stage in describing the results of an experimental public school in the South Bronx that helped youngsters get the structure and discipline they need to succeed . . . with very good results.

9. The book concludes with a look at Mr. Gladwell's Jamaican roots and how those contributed to his success.

Mr. Gladwell is such a provocative and intriguing writer that it seems rude to make any suggestions for possible improvement. However, I will be so bold as to comment on the ideas and the evidence.

1. Mr. Gladwell doesn't seem to take liking the task into account as a success factor. Most of us could eat chocolate candy until 10,000 hours had occurred. But how many of us like any other task that much that can be turned into a valuable form of human achievement? Without such liking, I suspect that much success won't occur. Self-discipline in the absence of liking will just lead to early burnout.

2. Mr. Gladwell seems a little confused about the contribution Bill Gates has made to software. Mr. Gladwell tells the Gates story as though Gates is another Bill Joy. Gates is more of a corporate strategist than a programming success. The famous programs on which Microsoft's success was based were drawn primarily from the work of programmers who weren't even at Microsoft.

3. In the airline crash examples, there is also a lot of research about how crews in all countries defer too much to the captains. Although that research is mentioned in passing, I felt like Mr. Gladwell was overstating his point. The issue in the Avianca crash was strongly related to not speaking American-style English with comfort. I think the book would have been stronger without the airline crash examples.

4. When you are writing about success (even as "outliers"), it makes sense to spend a little more time thinking about what you want to focus on. This book jumps from looking at geniuses who do things that benefit everyone (like Bill Joy) to people who just happen to make a lot of money (Joe Flom). If Mr. Gladwell had stuck with Bill Joy-type examples, I think this book would have been a lot more helpful.

5. If these points are so important, wouldn't it make sense to have the bulk of the book prescribe what to do differently? Mr. Gladwell doesn't take that part very seriously. As a result, the book is more entertainment than call to action.

6. By stringing together a series of article-style chapters, the book ends up being a bit choppy to read and follow.

I do recommend you read the book, and I hope that Mr. Gladwell will write a follow-up book that is prescriptive.

Thank you for much food for thought, Mr. Gladwell!
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13 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich.
am 22. Dezember 2008
Ein sehr lesbares Popularwissenschaftliches Buch über Erfolg.

Outliers, in statistics, are results that are so extreme that they are generally not taken into account in calculations. So extreme that they are literally off the charts. Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers: The Story of Success is about people that experience this kind of extreme success. People like the most succesful hockey and soccer players. People like Bill Gates. Or the Beatles. What is it that makes people so succesful?

First, it is hard work. To become an expert in a field, one needs at least about 10,000 hours of labor. Like an Asian farmer toiling away on his rice paddy field. The proverbial 99% transpiration that comes with the 1% inspiration.

Second, it is lucky circumstances. Sheer luck. Like being born at the beginning of the year instead of at the end (which makes a surprisingly significant difference in your chances of becoming a top hockey player). Or the country you're from. Or the language you've been raised in (English gives you an early math disadvantage of about a year compared to Chinese or Japanese).

In his previous bestseller The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference, Gladwell shows that small initial differences can make for a huge end effect on a society. Also his Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking was about conclusions we all draw from small differences in quick thought processes. In the same way, this book shows how sometimes incredibly small differences can tip somebody towards extreme success.

Small differences also made for the success of Malcolm Gladwell himself. One of the most precious gifts he allegedly got from his father is the memory of "seeing him work at his desk and realizing that he was happy". The same joyous work ethic oozes from the pages of this book.

Gladwell reads like a detective. He brings you science like a professional storyteller. The science, on the other hand, sometimes suffers a bit from this high readability (some conclusions about cultural causes are quite debatable). There are no footnotes in this book, but in the back of the publication, each chapter does have a number of notes to back up some of his claims.

This book is definitely an entertaining read. It is also a good way to weapon yourself against the abundance of success stories that sound a tad too good to be a full version of the truth.
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am 17. Januar 2013
Dieses Buch war vor genau 2 Jahren ein Geburtstagsgeschenk, mein erster Kontakt zu Gladwell. 100% empfehlenswert: Ideen, Argumentation, Wortschatz (am besten lesen Sie es auf Englisch!), Zusammenfassung. Viele Menschen haben heute eine Obsession mit Erfolg - keiner hat den Misserfolg lieb, oder? Aber Gladwell erklärt sehr gut was sich im Hintergrund befindet - welche sind die wichtigen Erfolgfaktoren - und wie können wir Sie kontrollieren (ob!). Beatles, IT Gurus, Anwälte in der USA - die gründliche Analyse des Erfolgs.

Deswegen habe ich es vor kurzem zu Weihnachten verschenkt, und die Leserin war selbstverständlich begeistert.

Viel Spaß und... viel Erfolg!
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am 11. April 2011
Outliers is an insightful, elightnening and deeply motivating book. In a nutshell, the book's theme is this: Conventional wisdom has it that success is the outcome of a person's individual merit; the product of their innate talent, dedication and hard work. Gladwelll argues that this theory is too simplistic. He provides evidence that the oppertunities a person meets over the course of his life, the upbrining he is subjected to, the amount of effort he invests and the cultural traditions passed down to him are the key determining factors to his success.

The book is organized in two parts. The first part, titled Oppertunity, argues for the idea that successful people couldn't have achieved much if it weren't for the oppertunities that came their way. Several cases are put forward to support this hypothesis. I will take the liberty of citing two instances to clarify the point: (1) Bill Gates was among a handful few who had access to computers in the late sixties worldwide. This allowed him the very special chance of mastering computer programming while still a teen-ager. An opportunity harldy offered to anyone else. (2) Many of the giants of silicon valley, the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Erich Schmidt, were born on just the right time (1954-1955) to allow them to make the most of the personal computer boom. Had they been a little older or a little younger they would have missed it.

The second part, titled legacy, argues for the idea that the values and traditions of a certain culture make its people either more or less qualified to succeed at certain tasks. For instance persistence and hard-work are hallmarks of the chinese culture assimilated by countless decades of tedious rice cultivation. It is instructive to note that cultivating rice requires ten to twenty times the effort needed to cultivate the same area with wheat. Owing to their culture, chinese students are more persistent and hard-working hence better than western children at such subjects as mathematics eventhough their IQ is equivalent or, more often than not, slightly less than their western counterparts.

On the down side, two issues are in order: (1) Many would agree that the author makes very bold claims on the basis of relatively little evidence. Indeed most of the book's assertions do make sense but they are soley based on no more than a handful of cases. (2) When I reached the end of the book I couldn't help feeling "Hey, is that it?!". The amount of hype around the book raises one's expectations to such a high point that I believe most readers will end up slightly disappointed.

All said, this is one of the very best nonfiction books out there.
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am 30. Januar 2012
Gladwell has a writing style that I and many others enjoy reading. In his 3rd book on sociological/psychology themes, he explores "Outliers" those extraordinary individuals who lie outside the statistical norm. His main premise stated in his own words "the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways other cannot."

His book is divided into 2 parts using his trademark style of presentation of vignettes and short case studies of personages.

Part I Opportunity - Innate ability combined with "chance" to develop (practice) it where other people do not.

Part 2 Legacy - growing up in the proper supportive environment to further support the thesis from part 1

This is not his best work, but an overall good effort compared to his other 2 books I have read Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking &The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference which are much better. It is pretty much common sense that people who are born with an innate ability, have the proper environment to grow up in, a certain amount of "luck" or "Chance" and work hard becomes successful people or in his book the real "Outliers".

If you like Gladwell's writing style, this is another one of his fine books to read.
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am 5. Juni 2010
Malcolm Gladwell points out the obvious. Or what should have been the obvious. Using statistics and a type of insight, he finds that to be successful there is a minimum of natural ability and downright luck. Even them it does not guarantee want Malcolm supposed success is.

This book is a fun and easy to read book. But do not let it fool you into thinking that this is light reading or just the popular science of the day. There is a dead serious theory that appears to really apply (split infinitives allowed here.) Knowing this theory will help you to make the requirements for success instead of just guessing at them.

At least I came away with a different paradigm, and now see everything in the world differently.

It has been suggested that regardless of the factors in this book that one may be content with a job that fits his/her value-system.

I must have been schizophrenic in a job sense. In the U.S. Army and Reserves, I well enjoyed being a mechanic and power systems maintenance sergeant. While at the same time, I was a business/engineering systems analyst in the civilian world. So this book helps me look back to see how I found myself in the situation.

With a little bit of blooming luck.
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am 6. Januar 2011
The author presents his ideas largely through narrative, anecdotes and has selected his samples from a wide variety of individuals ranging from ice hockey stars, would-be geniuses, successfull lawyers to Chinese rice farmers. This is an interesting approach and makes the book easy to read and quite entertaining.

However, after a little I couldn't help to think that the author has fallen victim to what is called the narrative bias and in particular confirmation bias. The examples the author brings forward may be illusory correlations and merely demonstrate the human tendency to construct stories around facts and stuffing facts into stories just for the sake of a supposed creative explanation. Explanations that unfortunately sometimes neglect a thorough search for other potential reasons.

If one keeps these issues in mind the book is nevertheless a "no regret move".
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am 30. November 2013
You want me to review books for free to pump Amazon, and then required me to at least write these many words?!
Incre-diablo!
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