What Is the Book Outliers About?


Quick Answer

The book "Outliers" explores the concept of success and why some people achieve exceptional success. It stresses the role of birthplace, family and timing in shaping successful individuals.

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What Is the Book Outliers About?
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Full Answer

"Outliers" is a 2008 book by Malcolm Gladwell. It seeks to demystify the concept of success, arguing that "It is not the brightest who succeed, nor is success simply the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf." Gladwell stresses that it is not sheer intelligence or hard work that produces highly successful people; rather, the opportunities they receive play a much larger role. Opportunities are often the product of good timing, location, family background or even a person's birth date.

Gladwell uses many examples to stress his point. He takes a look at a young Bill Gates, whose Seattle high school had a computer lab at a time when computer labs were not commonplace in schools. His computer access lab allowed him to clock in thousands of hours of programming practice in his teens, giving him an advantage over other programmers at the time.

Gladwell also investigates successful professional hockey players, noting that around 40 percent of professional players were born earlier in the year. He argues that these players were slightly older and therefore slightly larger when they began playing as children, which gave them an advantage over other players on their teams.

"Outliers" is Malcolm Gladwell's third book.

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