Outliers Short Summary
“Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, is a book that explores the difference between the successful and unsuccessful and the reasons behind the difference between the two. In his book, the Outliers, Malcolm is determined to explain different factors that influence the mastery of success. An outlier is anything that is outside what is expected. This book is structured in the form of different case studies that are spread out over different times. They, however, relate to similar theories and theses. According to Gladwell, success is more than just a matter of high IQ and great personality. Instead, most successful people have thrived because of working hard, having the support of the community, and seizing an important opportunity.
A Quick Synopsis of the Book
The book starts by taking the case of Roseto in Pennsylvania. The town has a low rate of health problems like heart diseases. After this short introduction, Malcolm divulges the first main factor behind success, which is a personal opportunity. He reveals that completely random factors like date of birth and also the year of birth take part in determining the opportunities present to practice excellence and achieve it. He argues that brilliance in terms of I.Q is slightly less important in comparison to factors like background, style of parenting, and work habits when it comes to determining the success of an individual in their future.
Gladwell introduces a section ‘Opportunity’ where he uses examples of some great individuals. In particular, he mentions Bill Joy the programmer, Bill Gates, the software legend, Robert Oppenheimer a physicist and Chris Langan who was a great intellectual but lived a life few would consider successful because he did not utilize his intelligence by failing to get a degree even with an I.Q of 195. Bill Gates and Bill Joy took important opportunities while in their youths, and they became experts in their fields.
In the next section, he puts special emphasis on legacy as a determiner of success. Here he makes the argument that the origin and culture of a person can determine their success or failure. In this section, he includes the social, cultural, and psychological backgrounds of people`s factor. According to him, a person’s ancestry, whether one comes from a family of sheepherders or even those who worked in rice paddies determine what one practice in their current lives.
Gladwell’s final section is a Jamaican Story which shows how culture and chance worked to shape the lives of his grandmother, his mother, and Gladwell himself.