The One Small Problem I Had with Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
What factors go into success?
That is the central question of this book. At a fundamental level, it is an attempt to expand the understanding of how many factors contribute to success beyond just hard work and talent.
There is also another element to the book though. Gladwell implicitly argues that hard work and talent matter less than other factors once a certain baseline is reached.
The Implicit Argument
Most of the stories and anecdotes told in Outliers have the same basic structure. They begin with a inspiring tale about the success of a individual or group.
Then that perception is shattered by the presentation of the story through a different lens that focuses on the hidden opportunities or factors that were present.
This structure has the effect of casting a ice cold pail of water over and over again on the idea that hard work and talent are the primary keys to success.
It's also an interesting format since it gives you those two different perspectives to compare against each other.
Other indications of the implicit argument can be particularly found in the chapters about geniuses. Within those pages, Gladwell paints of a picture of how high levels of intellect do not guarantee success.
Throughout the book though, I saw the argument. It just didn't hinder me from being motivated by some of the other lessons contained within.
Lessons to be Learned
The biggest lesson is that there are indeed factors other than hard work and talent that contribute to success. The thing is that all of those factors are not outside of your control.
This book can make you think about what you can do to improve the probability of achieving success in addition to working hard.
Perhaps I'm missing something here. Discussion would be welcome.
Oh, Before You Go
Take a moment to look at my reading list and suggest more great books that I should check out.