I just got done reading Malcom Gladwell's "Outliers: The Story of Success" and I want to make this as little like a middle school book report as possible. So …
For my ADD readers:
- Recommended? Yes, Absolutely
- Audience? Amazingly wide – not "geek"
Surprising/Thoughtful? Anyone who can reasonably link the success of The Beatles, Bill Gates, Hockey Pros, Oppenheimer and others while explaining Korean plane crashes, Asian math scores, and much more is quite talented and thought-provoking.
- Style? Writes chapters almost like stand-alone stories – I love storytelling rather than just raw facts. It really draws you in.
- If you were really ADD you'd either be looking up the book on Amazon or on some other post by now. How much does Amazon pay to be the top Google match on books?
For everyone else:
I do recommend this book for nearly everyone to read. Agree with it or not, it will certainly make you think. If you ever wonder why some people seem to "have it all" or "get a lucky break" or "are in the right place at the right time", then you will love this book. It is hard to categorize as a book of non-fiction. It could easily be a business book with many huge business success stories from early clothing peddlers, to lawyers to Bill Gates. It could be a risk management book with stories of why ignoring one's culture can crash planes. It could be an evaluation of the educational system and how it sometimes breeds success in spite of the structures in place that make being different very difficult. It could be an inspirational or self-help book as it shows how high-IQs and Ivy League educations pale in comparison the culture and surrounding environment as factors for success. One of the items that is reinforced several times is the 10,000 hours number of the time it really takes to be an expert or an outlier in a particular area – better start practicing.
A good book by a good author and storyteller – who also has a good TED talk that is worth viewing. Check it out if any of this sounds interesting to you. I actually "read" the audiobook version that the Kent District Library has several copies of. One interesting note there is that Gladwell reads his own book, and his storytelling voice is actually quite good as well. There is also an interview at the end that you will not get in the "dead trees" version of the book.