What Are Some Summary Notes for "Outliers: The Story of Success"?


Quick Answer

"Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell suggests that talent alone isn't enough to make a person unusually successful. Opportunities and hard work are important factors. To illustrate his theory, Gladwell uses examples such as Canadian hockey players, Bill Gates of Microsoft and the Beatles musical group.

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Full Answer

In "Outliers: The Story of Success," Gladwell emphasizes that many people are born with inherent talent to succeed, but circumstances and the ability to amass an extraordinary amount of practice time set someone apart in a field of endeavor. Gladwell gives the example of Canadians born just after the seasonal cutoff point at the end of the year being slightly bigger and stronger than their peers, allowing them to attract the attention of coaches and become hockey stars. Bill Gates had the good fortune to attend a high school in the 1960s that had a computer, giving him computer access that other talented young people didn't have. The Beatles spent thousands of hours performing in front of live audiences before achieving mainstream success.

Gladwell ends the book with the story of his Jamaican mother, a descendant of slaves whose fortuitous circumstances of education and marriage allowed Gladwell to have the opportunity to succeed.

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