If you want to seem smarter and impress your friends, Outliers won’t help you at all. I decided to read this book because the inside flap claimed to explain the “extraordinary success of Asians at math.” I was hoping the next time someone assumed the reason is because otherwise our parents would disown us, I could quote the book. It didn’t disappoint.
Outliers tells a diverse selection of interesting stories about people’s paths to victory, but the recurring theme is that you need an incredibly lucky mix of the right cultural background, birthday, geography, and parenting to get there. Hard work is just the byproduct of taking the fortune and deciding to pursue it – or you could take the other route and practice for 10,000 hours on your chosen pursuit.
The book covers Bill Gates, Jewish lawyers, Asians, people with high IQs, Canadian hockey players, and the history of Gladwell’s own family. The arguments are believable. However, after reading the one-star reviews on Amazon I realized that there are holes and too many assumptions, the evidence spread too thin. You might enjoy the book if you don’t read those afterward.
I give it three out of five chickens for holding my attention for the most part, teaching me about my cultural background, and exhibiting new insights.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.