A very quick-reading exploration of the unexpected causes of socioeconomic success in America. The chapters break down into case studies- quirky but true observations, and plausible (but not rigorously proven) explanations. Why do an abnormally large fraction of top professional hockey players have birthdays in January? Why did an abnormally large fraction of Wall Street corporate acquisition lawyers in the 1960's come from Jewish immigrant families with parents or grandparents who worked in the garment industry? What common thread explains the exceptional career trajectories of Bill Joy (the computer wiz who wrote the Java programming language, and founded Sun Microsystems) and the Beatles? (Hint: it isn't raw talent or luck)
If you like to think about stuff like this, this book will do for a light read.
Minor complaints: Gladwell (the author) doesn't elaborate much on his methodology, or how he stumbled or otherwise arrived at some of his conclusions. He mentions how some topics came to interest him, but it all sounds like a string of impossible coincidences. There is a looseness here that makes the entire book sound less like a disciplined academic examination of a subject, and more like the off-the-wall random free-associations of a guy who is apparently very well-read and well-informed on a broad array of seemingly-unrelated subjects.