Well as we know it, success in any profession is all about hard work and more hard work and on top of that even more hard work. Very successful people be it John D Rockefeller or Bill Gates are known for their determination and their ability to work hard. But is that really it? Just hard work? I mean there are millions of people around the globe who work really hard(and I am not talking about manual labor) but could never get even close to being a Carnegie or Rockefeller. So what is the secret formula that successful people knew back then and know now to always get what they want? Think about it.
How will you react if I just say that these people who accumulated so much wealth and success were just lucky? I hear you calling for my head but if you believe the ‘facts’ presented by Mr. Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers“, you might just change your opinion about success.
Outliers is a finely written, fluent and a very quick read. Once you start reading, it is very tough to put it down. Before going further let me congratulate the author for a very entertaining book and compelling story telling. Now lets talk about the book.
In outliers the author has selected few very successful people from a variety of profession like Software Engineering, Law, Entrepreneurship and presented their account with the factors that contributed in their success. These factors can be anything ranging from date of birth to their schools and to their family back grounds. Yes even date of birth. For example the software revolution. He says
The perfect age to be in 1975, in other words, is old enough to be a part of the coming revolution but not so old that you missed it. Ideally you want to be twenty and or twenty-one, which is to say, born in 1954 or 1955.
And then Mr. Gladwell presents the list of some people we know well with their date of births as follows:
Bill Gates: Oct 28, 1955
Paul Allen: Jan 21, 1953
Steve Ballmer: March 24, 1956
Steve Jobs: Feb 24, 1955
Eric Schmidt: April 27, 1955
It is not difficult to analyze that they were more or less the lucky beneficiaries of software revolution. They were born just at the perfect time when everything was just starting and of course there is no denying that they were all extremely hard working people and intelligent enough. Hard work here is by default.
Now the question arises of intelligence. The IQ band wagon. The author argues though a certain level of intelligence is expected but IQ is not as important as “Being born at the right place”, “Being at right place at right time” is. In support of his argument the author presents the account of genius Chirs Langan. Well Chirs has a IQ of over 190. Which is seriously high.(Einstein was around 150) So a guy with this kind of intelligence must be very successful. If money is measure of success well he is not at all successful. He lives in a farm and takes care of his animals. The book is filled with a lot of interesting facts and stories like the same. I loved the book up to this point.
Last three chapters are not very compelling, particularly the presented relation between Chinese rice fields and math.
My rating : This book should not be confused with a self help book because it is not. There are no advices or plans presented in Outliers. This is a collection of fascinating stories and witty presentation. Read it for fun.