Book Review::Outliers

by heatherkp
Cover of "Outliers: The Story of Success&...

Cover of Outliers: The Story of Success

One of the new features I am going to start sharing with you is a monthly (minimum) book review.  I am an avid reader and a huge library fan.  I’ve usually got several books going at once including both fiction and non.

Outliers; The Story of Success has been out a couple years now and maybe you’ve read it too.

I felt that Malcom Gladwell’s latest book would be relevant to my current changing life path.  I’m in the process of redefining my personal idea of success.  This book gave me new insight into what is behind so many successful people.

Typical to his writing style, he has shared his ideas and theories with us using stories to illustrate his points.  I love stories but they have to be relevant to you to make a lasting impression. I think some of the stories he used were too long and more drawn out than necessary.   As a whole though I think he accurately describes our current world and more specifically American view of success. For so many people success is something that is evasive, we don’t understand it and so if it is not in our grasp we behave as though it can only be achieved by the lucky few.

“Because we so profoundly personalize success, we miss opportunities to lift others onto the top rung.  We make rules that frustrate achievements, we prematurely write off other people as failures.  We are too much in awe of those who succeed and far too dismissive of those that fail.”

I love that quote, it highlights the possibility of success for everyone.  This book does not tell us how to achieve success, it tells us what so many successful people have in common.  It shares the relevance of certain characteristics and traits present in successful people, including ones upbringing (cultural and economic), luck, timing, intelligence (practical and IQ), talent, the help of others, an most importantly, hard work.   I kept waiting for the secret to be revealed at the end, for him to say that if you were not so lucky you still have a chance but there was no grand revelation and no promise of how to achieve success by following a formula.  I find it a little depressing to accept that some people will never be given the opportunities that others have/had and so much of this is out of our control by the time we are adults taking charge of our own destiny.  In reflecting back though I look at the list of traits and characteristics and choose to take charge of those things I can control.  I have a new respect for those hard working success stories and I now see success as something that we have to make for ourselves but not by ourselves.

The next book I will be reviewing is Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire by Mireille Guiliano.

Do you have and book suggestions or requests for reviews that are related to business, art, creativity, women or success?  If so please let me know.

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