Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Outliers The Story of Success - A promotion

Today, it occurred to me that in the past few weeks I've unintentionally become a huge promoter of Malcolm Gladwell and his books. I've found myself in no less than 4 extensive social and business conversations where his books and the subject matter of his books have been the focal point of discussion. At the end of these discussions, I've felt more like a salesman than ever before. I'm thinking of calling Gladwell and asking for a percentage of his gross sales.

Malcolm Gladwell

Have you read any of his books?

It all started for me when I read the book "Outliers" after a close friend suggested it. He was so jazzed about the book and kept saying.... "This is right up your street." I really wanted to prove him wrong.... (I hate it when he says "right up your street") So I went out and bought the book last Fall. The somewhat steep $27.99 price tag for the hardback copy was slightly mitigated by a 40% discount coupon that I had for a Barnes and Nobel purchase. I'm sure it's in paperback by now or in your local library.

Needless to say, I read the book and found it quite illuminating. The book was fascinating from the start. I was drawn in by Gladwell's analysis of hockey players and birth dates and his discussion of the "Matthew Effect." I held on and enjoyed his writing style as he discussed "The 10,000-hour Rule", The Beatles, Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, and others..... I felt the book stalled a bit in the middle and I found myself laboring through the center chapters. I woke up towards the end and felt engaged as he discussed "The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes" and other affable topics. Ultimately, I was a bit surprised at the end of the book as Gladwell introduced another one of his interpretations of "opportunity" and shared a personal story. I won't go too deeply into that idea because I don't want to create a "spoiler effect" for those who haven't read the book yet.

Overall, I enjoyed the book! To be honest, I enjoy talking about it and sharing and discussing the ideas and concepts in the book more than actually reading the book. I received another book by Gladwell, "The Tipping Point" as a gift and I'm over three quarters finished with it. I just ordered "Blink" and as soon as I finish The Tipping Point I'll be jumping directly into "Blink." I'm on a roll.....

Here's a clip from an interview featuring Malcolm Gladwell:

Gladwell's words:

"I'm very anxious that this book not be seen as a self-help book but as a community help book..... What I really want people to do is start thinking about how we as a society can build institutions that provide opportunities to work hard."

If you're thirsty for more Gladwell, click here or on the photo of the "Outliers" book above. It will take you to a link to a video where Gladwell discusses his book in more detail. It's a nice presentation and summary of the book. Gladwell who has been a staff writer for the New Yorker since 1996, "has written on a wide range of topics, including the science of cool hunting, race and sports, physical genius, the concept of moral hazard and health care, and the difference between puzzles and mysteries..." Clearly I find him interesting to read, but he's very interesting to listen to as well! He strikes me as a "Funky, Nouveaux, Intellect" and I like the way he critically explores Intrepid Ideas. I think I'd enjoy sitting down to a Martini with him one day and talking about ..... Whatever!

Happy Reading!


Jim H said...

For those leaders who cannot get enought Malcolm Gladwell, he has an upcoming program that I am looking forward to entitled "Why People are Succesful."


Jane Turley said...

I've heard about the 10,000 hour rule - something that's been knocking around in the tennis world for sometime:) Sounds like an interesting book though - I'd be curious to read "The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes" Can you enlighten us a little? - Sounds like it should be a comical piece but I guess it's serious??

Canada said...

The Story Of Success, Malcolm Gladwell shows research that puts forward the theory that success is a combination of factors. While intelligence plays a large part, so do birth order, cultural assumptions, and above all hard work. Individuals must have the ability to see opportunities and then have the skills to take advantage of them.