Saturday, 6 November 2010

#79 Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell (Penguin Group)

Utterly brilliant.

If you’re judging the merits of the books I’m reading by the length of the reviews they generate, you’re going to be sorely disappointed in this instance because I could write for hours on the brilliance of Outliers and not do it justice. So I’m not even going to try. Suffice to say, if you haven’t read it, you’re missing out, and despite only finishing it the other day, I’ve managed to bore several people on its subject already.

A sociological study at its heart, prospective readers shouldn’t fear. Malcolm Gladwell is never anything other than a fascinating storyteller and intersperses his points, many of which are extremely provocative, with some entertaining case studies into the lives of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Canadian professional ice hockey players and Korean pilots and much, much more – even his own family.

Gladwell’s objective is to discover which factors contribute to someone’s success, whether reaching the top - and he’s talking about the very top - of a profession, can simply be down to innate talent and hard work, or whether it matters in which month of the year you were born. His investigations and conclusions are often incredible.

From the lessons educational systems can take from rice paddy fields, to the cultural causes of plane crashes, Outliers is gripping, inspirational, thought-provoking and, thanks to a wonderful writing style which regularly makes the complex seem simple, very readable indeed. Go read it.

So, rating time:

#79 Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell (Penguin Group) - 10/10

Next up: The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart, by Glenn Taylor (Blue Door)

  • Click here for the full list of books so far, and their rating
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