Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers: The Story of Success


by Malcolm Gladwell

I have read much of what Malcolm Gladwell has written. I’ve read every one of his New Yorker articles. I’ve read The Tipping Point, Blink, David & Goliath, and What the Dog Saw, which disappointingly for someone who has read every one of Gladwell’s New Yorker articles, is a collection of Gladwell’s New Yorker articles. I have listened to speeches and interviews with Gladwell that I’ve been able to dig up online. I’ve even begun listening to his podcast– Revisionist History.

Gladwell has a unique gift of taking gobs and gobs of research, making connections that are seemingly disparate at first glance, and telling a compelling story to make accessible connections for his readers. 

While Blink was the first book I read by Gladwell, The Tipping Point (and the 10,000 Hour Rule that is discussed) is probably the book of his that has stuck with me the most, although at some point all of his writing tends to blend together anyway. The point is, I guess, you can’t go wrong with Malcolm Gladwell’s books.


“In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.”


“If you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires.”


“Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig.”
“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”

“Achievement is talent plus preparation”

“I want to convince you that these kinds of personal explanations of success don’t work. People don’t rise from nothing….It is only by asking where they are from that we can unravel the logic behind who succeeds and who doesn’t.”
“It is those who are successful, in other words, who are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success. It’s the rich who get the biggest tax breaks. It’s the best students who get the best teaching and most attention. And it’s the biggest nine- and ten-year-olds who get the most coaching and practice. Success is the result of what sociologists like to call “accumulative advantage.”
“Those three things – autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward – are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.”
“No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.”
“Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities.”

“Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds.”
“The values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.”
Sticky Books are those that you just can’t get out of your head. They stick with you long after you have put the book down and have moved on to something else. These are some of my Sticky Books. I don’t enjoy reviewing books myself. I find I am either full of far too much praise for the book because I know how difficult it can be to write a book, or I am far too negative about a book because, well, I guess I was just in a bad mood. So instead of reviews, I have pulled some of my favorite quotes from each Sticky Book.


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