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Perhaps the answer is you need both to become a Bill Gates or a Rockefeller. However, he makes an excellent case of how external factors often set you up for success. The other concept that is presented is the idea of working hard enough and long enough at something to become expert at something. Those that were wildly successful were experts at the right time in history. The audio book is not referenced so if you want to read the studies cited for yourself, you will need to get the book. If you have read Drunkard's Walk and Supercrunchers, this is an interesting and important addition to the factors that govern success.

Gladwell sets out to explain how the top people in any field were able to get there. The explanations can be very surprising. I was very engaged throughout the whole book. He talked a lot about education, and having been a public school teacher for the last 27 years, I found it absorbing, hopeful, and found myself wishing that I had known some of these things 27 years ago.

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Gladwell narrates his own book, which sometimes turns out well, and sometimes not so much. Although obviously not a professional, he has a pleasing way of reading. I wouldn't be choosing a book on account of him reading it however. Still, it was very "listenable" and I enjoyed it very much.

Whilst a lot of the ideas in this book are not Gladwell's alone, he takes responsibility for presenting them as if they were fact. Some parts are fascinating - such as the investigation of pilot errors which lead to crashes - but much of it falls woefully short of sound argument.

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The main points in the book are either obvious or highly questionable: intelligence alone is no trigger for success; luck is big factor in all great achievements; 10, hours of practice is required to achieve excellence at anything. The examples he provides completely ignore the possibility that timing is not just luck, but actually a inherent quality of the thought process that goes into the idea of the business in the first place.

Did Bill Gates really become so successful purely because he was: a in the right place at the right time, and b put in 10, hours of programming in an age when computers were hard to come by? By drawing these conclusions he overlooks the unprovable possibility that Gates may have become successful in another area had he not been born at the right time to start Microsoft. Were the Beatles successful because of their 10, hours of practice in German nightclubs and the like before their 'breakthrough' US number one?

Even if you ignore Gladwell's convenient use of their US breakthrough to mark his 10, hour cut-off coming 18 months after their UK success , were they really successful because of the amount of practice they put in? Was it merely musical competence that raised them above their peers? What about inspiration, creative ideas, charisma, chemistry or pure unteachable songwriting genius?

They could not have possibly put in the 10, hours 'required' practice as prescribed by Gladwell. There must be hundreds or thousands more in the world of music, film, literature, or even business who do not conform to the 10, hour rule. Yet they are conveniently overlooked. This book is quite intriguing, but often as I listened I began to wonder about his research methodology. His facts, while compelling seem to be only part of the picture and I began to wonder as to how much picking and choosing of facts was going on to support his points.

His determination to support his rather deterministic view is clear throughout the piece. Gladwell is a fine writer and this book, in the same style as Blink, explores the real factors that contribute to the success of those we think are so above and beyond us Bill Gates, the Beatles, etc. Gladwell makes it clear that their talent, drive, energy, and intelligence WERE key to their success but that these, alone, would not have done it for them.

They needed unusual opportunities. In fact, the opportunities given them that were not given others were as important to their achievements as their personal qualities. This book helps reduce the "superstars" down to human level. If you had been given the opportunities these were, you might have achieved what they did or more! Unusual take on a topic that is taken for granted. The author's voice enhances the message-highly recommended audiobook-perhaps my best book of the year!

I am rating this book at 3 stars because there are too many examples and statistics terms used by the author; however, the main ideas are simple and were very well presented on a book summary I read online at no cost.

Though I enjoyed listening to the book, I feel reading the book summary would have been enough. What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting? The relation between the facts as presented by the author are certainly interesting parts of the book.

The least interesting is where the author gets caught up on statistical data and tries to reinforce a point with too many examples. Not sure. Do you think Outliers needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

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I wouldnt buy a follow up book. Malcolm Gladwell is a terrific writer; he's also an experienced and effective presenter.

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So when he's reading his own material it's a compelling package and I was totally hooked. He's dug up some fascinating statistics to back up his overall hypothesis: when someone is exceptional at something it's not just a case of luck or hard work. IT millionaires all born in the same 3-year period; high performers who all put in more than 10, hours of practice; entrepreneurs whose experience of being immigrants influenced who they knew and what they did - and many more fascinating examples.

I'll definitely be listening to this again. As a teacher I have spent years praising kids for being smart, then, however,they rely on that to wing the exams. Inspiring book, well read, and it has application outside its covers.

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Mark from Enfield. Mr Gladwell has a nice voice and is a natural storyteller, but unfortunately he cannot think straight for an extended period such as a book. He contradicts himself: at one point, to succeed you need the 'right', well connected, parents high IQ elementary kids at another point the key to success for New York lawyers in the s is to be born on the wrong side of the tracks jewish immigrant.

He has extraordinarily low standards of 'proof': having demonstrated that certain successes Steve Jobs, Bill Gates etc. I find this very irritating. The main thesis seems to be 'you need luck as well as talent'. Is that a thesis or a statement of the bloody obvious?

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The three stars is because, despite all this, Outliers is quite listenable. It is so low powered and well read that you never need to hit the repeat button, which is handy if your hands are muddy as mine usually are when I'm audioing. Its one of those books you can't stop listening to. I do feel however there isn't many ways to apply this to your life. If you've read Freakonomics, then you'll love this.

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Malcolm Gladwell delves deep into the reasons and circumstances around what makes some people more successful than others. The people and groups he highlights will surprise you - but more so you'll be amazed at what things had to align for them to reach that point of success. Easy to listen to, simply stated but very engaging it was hard to pause while listening on my commute to work.

A truly thought provoking book. I Have to listen to it again! Highly recommended book. I enjoyed this book I could not put it down , I have learned some fascinating things.


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This book is really well read by the author. The viewpoint he provides on how some people have got where they are challenges the idea that we are products of ourselves. He sets out to prove this point with a series of cases, each of which is entertaining to consider, but is by no means an exhaustive list. As such his argument is interesting and worth considering, but not rigorously examined.