Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers

I've been looking forward to this book since Jim Balsillie hinted at WES that his old U of T college roommate and author of Blink, Malcolm Gladwell, was writing his third book (I hear he was a speaker at WES again this year).

Gladwell investigates the story of success and undermines key assumptions in the story of the successful "individual".

He talks about society's overarching design to promote talented individuals and the flawed idea that differences in underdeveloped individuals disappear over time. He contends that rather than dissipate, they actually become amplified.

He recognizes certain key factors of success:
  • Hard work - manifested as 10,000 hours cumulatively spent on learning a skill set.
  • Complexity, autonomy and a relationship between effort and reward in doing creative work as a measure of how meaningful each hour is
  • The effect of power distance and language to affect entitlement and the ability to challenge while asking the right questions
  • The benefit of persistence, self education and drive in development
Malcolm Gladwell emphasizes the role of opportunity, not just as luck nor preparedness, but a blending of the two in order to produce outliers, success stories on the long tail.

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

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