Friday, February 13, 2009

Review: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

I'd known of Malcolm Gladwell's books for a while, but hadn't picked one up. Now I wish I hadn't waited so long as I loved this audio book. It was entertaining, interesting and educational without being dry, as some non-fiction can be. It was read by the author and I enjoyed him as the narrator.

This book was an eye opening look at successful people. When most people think success they think hard work, but Gladwell shows that it is so much more than that. His examples come from all walks of life and from many different professions, yet they all get you thinking about success in a whole new way.

The section on Asians being good at math was one of my favorites. My mom, who is a teacher, and I were recently discussing Gladwell's thoughts on the topic. She mentioned that the district she teaches in has been redesigning the math curriculum's language to more closely resemble that of Asian speakers. I love it when things I'm reading about apply to everyday life!

I highly recommend this book, even for those readers or listeners who don't normally read non-fiction. Now, I'm off to track down his other books! 4 stars


S. Krishna said...

My review is posting next week, and it's very similar - I wish I'd picked up one of Gladwell's books earlier as well!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I also rated this book a 4/5. I had the audio version. My only disappointment was that none of the cases referenced women.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I have been on a waiting list for this book from the library forever. I'm about to scrap it and just buy the damn thing. I made it part of my TBR reading challenge, and your review just makes me more excited to get my hands on it!

Melissa said...

S Krishna: I'll have to check out your review!

Diane: I never realized that, but you're right. A woman would have been a great addition to the story.

Sandy: Does your library do audio downloads? My library has all three of his books this way.