[BOOK REVIEW] Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Thought I’d do a bit of a review because this book BLEW MY MIND. I’ve read a few parenting books in the 6 short years i’ve been a parent, and some i’ve agreed with and some i’ve disagreed with and some I’ve just found plain ridiculous.

This book is different. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is not just a parenting book, it traces the story of groups of “outliers” or success stories, from Canadian top ice hockey players to Bill Gates and the Beatles and gave a few reasons why they are “outliers” and the rest of us are mediocre. In summary


  • Yes, “genius” or some kind of something-something has something to do with it. In other words, most of them did have some kind of spark to begin with, whether it is a higher than usual IQ, or a real passion for one thing or another.
  • There is not enough being said for being in the right place at the right time. For example, pretty much any ice hockey player in Canada that was successful were born in the first three months of the year. He traced it back to them being just that much older & bigger at 9 years old and therefore being picked at 9, and then being in the right training programs for the rest of their adolescence. He also used Bill Gates example of having access to a computer that you could program DECADES before anyone else did!
  • There is a magic number of 10,000 hours! No matter how smart or skilled or whatever you started off, you need to put in practice! He went so far as to find the magic number of at least 10,000 hours. (This is consistent daily practice for at least 10 years) Even the so-called creative genius of the Beatles went through this, with months upon years of practice in Hamburg at crappy gigs.
  • There is not enough being said about culture and what that means. He pointed out that Asian languages have short sounds for all numbers and a logical numbering system. Giving them a mental edge of being able to memorise more numbers at once. (it takes an English speaking person twice as long to say “SEVEN”). Furthermore, the logical numbering system (eleven is TEN-ONE etc) means that basic addition is logical and therefore not a struggle. Of course, see previous point about practice! He used the sad example of Korean Air and their really high accident rate, and basically said that the subordinate staff were not being assertive, because that isn’t in their culture… and so didn’t second guess authority… and inevitably caused plane crashes.

This is the shortest summary ever, but if you are interested at all, you should definitely buy this book. It will change your way of thinking!