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Book: “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell

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“Outliers: The Story of Success is the third non-fiction book written by Malcolm Gladwell and published by Little, Brown and Company on November 18, 2008. In Outliers, Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. To support his thesis, he examines why the majority of Canadian ice hockey players are born in the first few months of the calendar year, how Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates achieved his extreme wealth, how the Beatles became one of the most successful musical acts in human history, how Joseph Flom built Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom into one of the most successful law firms in the world, how cultural differences play a large part in perceived intelligence and rational decision making, and how two people with exceptional intelligence, Christopher Langan and J. Robert Oppenheimer, end up with such vastly different fortunes. Throughout the publication, Gladwell repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, claiming that the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing the correct way, for a total of around 10,000 hours, though the authors of the original study this was based on have disputed Gladwell’s usage.”Wikipedia

Here are some quotes from his publication:

  1. “They were poor and living in the farthest corners of the Bronx. How did they afford tickets? “Mary got a quarter,” Friedman says. “There was a Mary who was a ticket taker, and if you gave Mary a quarter, she would let you stand in the second balcony, without a ticket.” … and what you learn in that world is that through your own powers of persuasion and initiative, you can take your kids to Carnegie Hall. There is no better lesson for a budding lawyer than that. The garment industry was boot camp for the professionals.”
  2. “It was an admission of defeat. … He knew he needed to do a better job of navigating the world, but he didn’t know how. He couldn’t even talk to his calculus teacher, for goodness’ sake. These were things that others, with lesser minds, could master easily. But that’s because those others had had help along the way, and Chris Langan never had. It wasn’t an excuse. It was a fact. He’d had to make his way alone, and no one–not even rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses–ever makes it alone.”
  3. “Asian children can perform basic functions, such as addition, far more easily. Ask an English-speaking seven-year-old to add thirty-seven plus twenty-two in her head, and she has to convert the words to numbers (37 + 22). Only then can she do the math: 2 plus 7 is 9 and 30 and 20 is 50, which makes 59. Ask an Asian child to add three-tens-seven and two-tens-two, and then the necessary equation is right there, embedded in the sentence. No number translation is necessary: It’s five-tens-nine.”
  4. “Those three things — autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward — are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying. It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether our work fulfills us.”
  5. “People don’t rise from nothing. We do owe something to parentage and patronage. The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.”
  6. “Don’t depend on heaven for food, but on your own two hands carrying the load.”
  7. “We do ability grouping early on in childhood…if we look at young kids, in kindergarten and first grade, the teachers are confusing maturity with ability.”
  8. “Western communication has what linguists call a “transmitter orientation”–that is, it is considered the responsibility of the speaker to communicate ideas clearly and unambiguously. …within a Western cultural context, which holds that if there is confusion, it is the fault of the speaker. But Korea, like many Asian countries, is receiver oriented. It is up to the listener to make sense of what is being said.”
  9. “And the Beatles didn’t recoil in horror when they were told they had to play eight hours a night, seven days a week. They jumped at the chance. Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning.”
  10. “The sense of possibility so necessary for success comes not just from inside us or from our parents. It comes from our time: from the particular opportunities that our particular place in history presents us with.”

 

(All quotes can be found here.)

 

Blessings in abundance!

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