Book Overview

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

Brilliant and entertaining, Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.

Favorite Quotes

  1. The culture we belong to and the legacies passed down by our forebears shape the patters of our achievement in ways we cannot began to imagine (19).
  2. It is those who are successful, on other words, who are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success (30).
  3. Achievement is talent plus preparation (38).
  4. The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert – in anything (40).
  5. Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness (41).
  6. Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good.  It’s the thing you do that makes you good (42).
  7. All the outliers we’ve looked at so far were the beneficiaries of some kind of unusual opportunity (56).
  8. Successful people don’t do it alone.  Where they come from matters.  They’re products of particular places and environments (119).
  9. Their world – their culture and generation and family history – gave them the greatest of opportunities (158).
  10. Cultural legacies are powerful forces (175).
  11. No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich (238).
  12. Working really hard is what successful people do… (239).
  13. Outliers are those who have been given opportunities – and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them (267).