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review 2016-10-12 09:45
"Outliers", de Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers (Fueras de serie): Por qué unas personas tienen éxito y otras no - Malcolm Gladwell

Interesante libro que explica, o al menos, lo intenta, por qué unas personas tienen éxito (laboral) y otras, no. Según la conclusión a la que llega el autor, todo es consecuencia de mucho trabajo y un poco de suerte (más que suerte, estar en el momento adecuado en el lugar oportuno).

Sí que es curioso el estudio que hace sobre los deportistas (jugadores de hockey sobre hielo, en este caso), y la ventaja competitiva que tienen los nacidos a principios de año respecto del resto. Y tiene razón. Como se agrupa a los niños por año de nacimiento, los nacidos a primeros de año tienen un año más que los nacidos a finales. 

Ese argumento se me puede aplicar a mí perfectamente. Si hubiera nacido en enero en vez de en julio, hubiera destacado mucho más (o, para ser más exactos, hubiera destacado) en la práctica futbolística, y en este momento estaría ocupando el banquillo de cualquier equipo Champions tras una exitosa carrera como futbolista. Mi edad mental seguiría anclada en los 12 años, pero mi cuenta bancaria estaría en los doce dígitos.


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review 2015-12-20 00:00
Outliers: The Story of Success
Outliers: The Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell The best thing about this book is that it illuminates how privilege, dumb luck and other exogenous factors are as much an ingredient to success as is hard work. A bit short on hard research, but still a good read.
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review 2015-11-27 00:00
Outliers: The Story of Success
Outliers: The Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell BLUF: This isn’t a self-help book, it’s an OpEd/Pop Science piece.

“Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities …”

Plot: Outliers follows the premise that people only became successful because of the opportunities provided in their life. This includes anything from the time of the year or era they were born to family background to the lucky breaks. While there is a controllable factor in success (practice), Gladwell argues that it must be coupled with other factors in order for success to occur.

My thoughts: After reading this, I’m not really sure why my father recommended this to me to read. I feel like the success of books like Freakonomics has us (my father and I included) excited for any book that explains social science in a readable and entertaining manner. Many readers (ahem.. me) take this information at face value and fail to realize any skews or dissents as they are not discussed. My point: take this with a grain of salt.

While this book’s emphasis is on successful people being formed by group effort, I think it’s unfortunate in the sense that it causes readers to say “Ahh, THIS is why I must not be successful.” Why try to be successful if success is based on factors outside of your control? It’s a demotivator and a concept that can be used to justify one’s lack of effort.

Concepts Discussed: Opining aside, Outliers presents an interesting argument about success. Malcolm Gladwell offers some ideas that seem pretty self explanatory: high general intelligence doesn’t take you far if you don’t have practical intelligence, practice in a trade or skill is necessary for mastery, and culture plays a major part in who we are and how we behave. Other ideas you may be hearing for the first time: how you were raised, arbitrary cutoff dates (schools, sports, etc.), and “what your parents do for a living, and the assumptions that accompany the class your parents belong to” matter.

Summary of Examples: Gladwell discussions include Bill Joy, Bill Gates, The Beatles, Steve Jobs, Chris Langan, Lewis Terman, Oppenheimer, Joe Flow, Alexander Bickle, Maurice and Mort Janklow, Regina and Louis Borgenict, the Howards and Turners, Gert Hofstede, Alan Schoenfield, and himself. Arguments are detailed with the use of sports and school advantages, Jewish immigrants, cultural legacies, rice farmers, and the KIPP Academy along with brief life bios for some of the individuals listed above.

Oh, BTW: When asked, “What do you want people to take away from Outliers?” Gladwell answered “My wish with Outliers is that it makes us understand how much of a group project success is”.
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url 2015-11-08 11:45
Humankind’s best days lie ahead debate with Steve Pinker and Alain De Botton
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined - Steven Pinker
The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature - Steven Pinker
The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation - Matt Ridley
On Love - Alain de Botton
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference - Malcolm Gladwell

Great debate.


Steven Pinker is brilliant. 

Matt Ridley is witty.


Alain de Botton and Malcolm Gladwell are both lack of substance when deal with fact, data and science. 


So glad I didn't waste any time reading books from Alain De Botton and Malcolm Gladwell.


The debate is highly entertaining. So, search for it in the link. If it is not link to the right one, search for it. It is worth the time. 


Of course, Steven Pinker side won. 




71% PRO      29% CON


73%PRO       27%CON

Pro wins with 2% vote gain.





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review 2015-06-30 01:53
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers: The Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell

After several months of being occupied with schoolwork and required reading, as well as extracurricular activities, summer has finally come and I now have time to devour the items on my impossibly long reading list. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is the first nonfiction book on that list. It was a delightful little book (the version I have actually has small physical dimensions, which I liked) full of insightful information.


In the first part of Outliers, Gladwell takes a look at opportunity. It’s this, accumulating over the course of many years, that creates the stars and prodigies often sensationally dubbed “self-made”. Sometimes it starts out with seemingly insignificant things: Canadian youth hockey players are split into different teams based on age. The older members of a team have had more time to develop and grow, even if the age difference is only a few months, so they are typically chosen for higher-level leagues. There, they’re given more opportunity than the younger—but not necessarily less skilled—players, in the form of longer practices and better opponents.


Gladwell points out a pattern in what it takes to achieve mastery, and it’s not an Einsteinian IQ, not genetics, but practice: 10,000 hours of it. To put it in perspective, that’s about 3 hours per day for 10 years. The legendary Beatles reached that point by playing long, nightly gigs in Hamburg, Germany. Microsoft founder Bill Gates obsessively programmed his way through his adolescence. There’s no known case in which someone has reached mastery in a shorter amount of time.


In the latter half of the book, Gladwell discusses cultural legacy. Whether or not we realize it, the cultural norms passed onto us from our ancestors and environment greatly impact our behavior, even long after our great-greats have died. In a study, young men from the northern and southern United States were found to react differently to an insult. The catch: the southern responses were akin to the “culture of honor” behavior of the European settlers who had moved to the region centuries before.


Outliers opened my eyes to some of the ways our cultures shape us and predict our success. It also reminded me to be on the watch for opportunities in my life. All of us are given opportunities—some more than others—but it is whether or not we utilize them and how we do so that makes all the difference.


Disclaimer: I borrowed this book from my local library, and I am not affiliated with it, the author, nor the publisher.

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