When people decide to read a book, it is for only either of these two reasons:
- They want to entertain themselves.
- Or they want to learn something new.
Of course, there are cases where both options are correct, and we might be slightly off with our best statement as a result. However, there’s only one that usually predominates.
You probably wonder what this has to do with what we want to say, or you’re hurrying us to just spill the beans.
Well, we need to start by telling you that based on the previous options, people also choose specific genres and books to read.
Some like fictional stories, while others prefer non-fiction and enjoy novels involving thrillers or love stories. However, we can all agree that fictional books are usually the most popular ones.
Why? Because people want to entertain themselves and learn new things while also traveling to a new “reality” or world.
Now, sure, there are exceptions, as we mentioned, and some people choose books like Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, based on their goal to achieve a specific status or simply success.
If you are considering this book in order to get motivated, learn a thing or two, and find your way to success, we highly recommend it. Now, based on what?
You will need to learn a bit about the book and even the author before you understand our recommendation and finally decide to give it a try. Are you up for it? Then, here’s the info you need to keep in mind.
A Successful Writer: Malcolm Gladwell
You didn’t think we would talk non-stop about the book without giving the author his rightful space, right?
If you were, well, that’s not our style. This is why we want you to keep a look at the author of this book, not only because we feel like it but rather because it will help you understand the meaning and value of the book later.
On September 3, 1963, Malcolm Gladwell was born in Fareham, England, to Graham Gladwell, a British math professor, and Joyce, a Jamaican psychologist.
Malcolm moved to Canada with his family when he was six years old and grew up in the country where his father was a math and engineering professor at the University of Waterloo.
He often went to the university with his father to explore the libraries and offices, which ignited an early love of literature and reading.
In his studies and early years, he was a great middle-distance runner during high school. At the 1978 Ontario High School 14-year-old championships, he won the 1,500-meter title.
Then, moving to his college life, in 1982, he received a history degree from Trinity College in Toronto.
Gladwell worked as a journalist at The Washington Post before becoming a writer for The New Yorker during his search for job positions and experimenting in his professional career.
His articles are usually non-fiction and cover topics such as “Ron Popeil’s infomercial empire” and “computers that analyze pop songs.”
Gladwell’s familiarity with academic material allows him to write about psychology studies, sociological studies, and statistical surveys of aircraft crashes, classical musicians, and hockey players.
All Gladwell’s books are focused on singularities, such as in “The Tipping Point “and “Blink.” This is because Gladwell discovered that singular stories made the best ones, and he was quickly convinced that only the most extraordinary stories were the best.
Gladwell spent time searching for evidence that contradicted popular beliefs in Outliers for the book we will be focusing on.
The Book: What You Can Expect & Look Forward to
After that introduction, we are ready to jump to the main topic: what is the book about.
As you might have guessed so far, the book is focused on success and how you can achieve specific results based on opportunities and difficulties.
Of course, this isn’t the plot and focus we will give you about it because it is very vague and doesn’t cover the extension and deepness of the book.
Therefore, better to take a read at this one.
Malcolm Gladwell’s stunning book takes us on an intellectual tour through the world of “outliers,” the best and brightest, most famous, and most successful people.
In it, he poses the question, “What makes high-achievers different?”
He says that people pay too much attention to what successful people look like and not enough to where they come from. This includes their culture, family, generation, and the unique experiences that they have had.
He explains how software billionaires make it all work, the secret to being a great soccer player, the math skills of Asians, and the reasons the Beatles are the most successful rock band to this date.
Gladwell’s book chapters approach different aspects and include interviews with some entrepreneurs and famous people.
One is about the American public schools’ system. Gladwell used research by Karl Alexander, a university sociologist, to suggest that the “way in which education is discussed” in America is backward.
Gladwell also cites Roger Barnsley’s pioneering research when discussing how a player’s birth date can affect their future skill level.
Throughout the book, he states that the biggest misconception about success was that it is based on our intelligence, ambition, hustle, and hard work.
Gladwell hopes that Outliers will show that success is not a function of our intelligence, ambition, hustle, and hard work. Although it sounds cliché, there is a lot of truth to that.
Reception & Sales – Let’s Talk About Numbers & Popularity
Non-fiction books based on success and aimed at an audience trying to find ways to boost their confidence or get to know “secrets” about successful figures are quite competitive in the market while also very criticized.
Critics usually go quite hard on them because they are more focused on actually meeting a purpose beyond entertainment as the main one, like with fictional books (leaving aside the themes and principles added on the latter).
In the case of Outliers, the book’s popularity is based on how the topic of success and how you can achieve it is approached.
The author uses facts, references, interviews with the actual people he is using as examples and does his best to keep it as simple and understandable as possible.
The book can truly teach you more than a thing or two, and many critics agreed with this.
Now, the book was published by Little, Brown, and Company on November 18, 2008.
Outliers reached number one on The New York Times bestseller lists in the United States and Canada. Although Gladwell’s method has been widely criticized for falling prey to fallacious reasoning, poor and anecdotally-based sampling, and simplified analysis, it was a success.
It sounds a bit difficult to believe it was a good and popular book, but it is actually used as a reference.
Some people like David A. Shaywitz reviewed the book in The Wall Street Journal and other newspapers and sources.
Daniel praised Gladwell’s writing style as “iconic” and stated that many new non-fiction authors were seeking to be the “Malcolm Gladwell” of their subject matter.
He praised its clarity and grace and noted that Gladwell’s oversimplification of complex sociological phenomena to “comprehensive, pithy explanations” could be Achilles’ heel.
John Horgan, who was discussing the book in Slate magazine, felt particularly moved by Gladwell’s family history.
Horgan felt that the connections between race and achievement were adequately examined but found Outliers’ lessons to be “oddly-anticlimactic, even depressing.”
Of course, some bad reviews and critics came along and focused on the book’s weak points we previously mentioned.
When moving on with the numbers, the book had sold over 5 million copies as of 2021, and although we don’t have the number of the revenue, it was quite a success for Gladwell.
5 Key Facts in Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
- Gladwell believes and tries to convince you with proof that it takes over 10,000 hours of practice to become really good at something and that time spent practicing is what truly differentiates the ordinary from the extraordinary.
- Statistics and stories are used to simplify the content and help you have a great picture of the lessons.
- He focuses on the fact that not everyone is given an equal opportunity for success.
- Timing is presented as a vital factor for achieving success.
- He argues that legacy usually drives our behavior.
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