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Outliers: The Story of Success
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am 30. Juli 2017
The author Malcolm Gladwell, a journalist and writer, reveals on the basis of very interesting examples (Bill Gates, The Beatles, etc.) what it takes to become successful. The often mentioned ten thousand hours of practice (work) is just one factor. But the real reason why some people succeed, while others don't are a combination of "ability, opportunity, and utterly arbitrary advantage". Among the opportunities and arbitrary advantages are for example: Born at the right time in the year, at the right time in history, in the right city, by the right parents, going by chance to the right university (no, its not the best university, just the right one), having the right cultural background (Jew, Asian, etc.), and many others.

This compulsively readable, brilliant written book explains in a straightforward approach what success is really based on. Why is this important? Gladwell: "My wish with Outliers is that it makes us understand how much of a group project success is. When outliers become outliers it is not just because of their own efforts. It's because of the contributions of lots of different people and lots of different circumstances, and that means that we, as a society, have more control about who succeeds - and how many of us succeed - than we think."

I have read many books about success. Outliers is my favorite so far. Another great book about success, that I really loved was: Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, and the Science of Success by Matthew Syed.
0Kommentar| Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 8. Juli 2017
I like books, who challenge the conventional wisdom, which is usually bullshit. This book is one of them. Very sound stories to support the arguments of the author and it is apparent that a profound research has been done for this book. Five stars!
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am 11. Juli 2017
One of very interesting books with surprising theories which are pointed with many consistent sources and various data. Highly recommended to understand different perspectives of different success stories.
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am 12. September 2017
This is a unique book and very important for anyone from parents to entrepreneurs to read. I have gifted copies to quite a few friends.
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am 11. Juni 2015
I'm very disappointed in this book because it didn't teach me anything about success except the rule of 10,000 hours which was known to me before. The controversial arguments of the author are not supported by enough scientific proof so I will take it as his personal opinion that "Asians work harder" than people from the U.S. Or that success is not really self-made...
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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 4. Februar 2009
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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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am 21. Juli 2011
Outliers liest sich, wie in anderen Rezensionen bereits angemerkt, wirklich gut - was mMn fehlt, ist die nachvollziehbare Grundaussage. Gladwell weist durchgehend darauf hin, dass viele (alle?) bekannten "Genies" unserer Zeit nicht nur herausragendes Talent gemeinsam hatten, sondern vielmehr auch Glück (er nennt es opportunities), durch Zeit/Ort ihrer Geburt, und Unterstützung durch ihre Herkunft (legacy). So weit, so gut. Was sich mir bis zum Ende des Buches nicht erschlossen hat, war die Grundaussage, die Gladwell durch Outliers transportieren will. Es liest sich glatt so, als würde Gladwell Erfolg mit Glück/Schicksal/etc. gleichsetzen - Faktoren, auf die wir keinen Einfluss haben. Er weist zwar darauf hin, dass natürlich Talent nötig sei, um diese Möglichkeiten auch zu nutzen, aber die zugrunde liegende Botschaft wirkt dennoch pessimistisch. Dass Erfolg nicht zu 100% mit Talent/Können korreliert, ist klar - aber dieses ständige Hinweisen auf Geburtsmonate (wer nach dem 01. Jänner geboren ist, schafft es in Kanada zum Hockey-Champion), Orte, Jahre usw. geht mir eine Spur zu weit. Da könnte meine Karriereaussichten ja gleich von einer Astrologin bestimmen lassen..
Für die neue Perspektive auf Erfolgsursachen und den angenehm zu lesenden Stil gibt es 3 Sterne - ich hätte mir dennoch was anderes erwartet.
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am 10. Dezember 2012
Why are some people more successful than others?

Malcolm Gladwell believes the reason is being lucky enough to stumble on the right constellation. Years of practice too, of course, but mostly the result of being born in the right family, at the right time, in the right place and even in the right culture. He defends this theory with some statistics and several historical and social anecdotes.

However, this doesn't explain how some persons start out really unlucky or become unlucky later on and bounce back; while others, with every chance and advantage at their disposal, can't even get off the starting blocks.

He also claims that strong support from the parents is a necessary requirement but, while it's certainly helpful, many outliers have a less than perfect background. Besides, doesn't outlier basically mean unlikely?

In the end, one knows all sorts of nifty details about various successful people but I would have liked to know more about the common characteristics, which they surely must have.
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am 25. Februar 2009
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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