Saturday, June 7, 2014

"Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning"

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
It's all about opportunities
Thank you once again, BuzzFeed.

In its 26 Books That Will Change The Way You See The World listicle, the populair viral website assembled an awesome list that contained, among others, Slaughterhouse-FiveThe Book ThiefA Short History of Nearly Everything, and the entire Harry Potter series. Nodding approvingly at the books I did know, I was strongly drawn to one of the many I hadn't yet heard of, namely Outliers (2008) by wild-haired Canadian journalist/author/speaker Malcolm Gladwell. A book that reveals the formula of success? Hold the phone.

We all love success stories. The stories of people like Bill Gates and The Beatles, who rise to the top of their respective fields, using their incredible talent to out-achieve others and accomplish wonderful things. Their rises to fame become legends of sorts, often leaving out key facts and circumstances that played huge parts. From rock stars to professional athletes, software billionaires to scientific geniuses, the truth about their success is always more nuanced and complicated than it might appear to be on first sight.

I absolutely loved Gladwell's book. Not only does he debunk the IQ myth, he clearly demonstrates, via a handful of deep-digging stories, that talent alone guarantees nothing. Having opportunities to unfurl your talent is just as crucial a component for becoming successful. The chapter about plane crashes was a bit flimsy to me, but I thoroughly enjoyed everything else, from the 10,000 Hour Rule to the importance of culture. Go read this!

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