Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What I'm Reading: The Outliers Book Review

What I'm Reading: March Madness Part 2

With the weather STILL not staying consistently warm; I've found myself spending more time indoors and sitting inside than I would in a normal March.  This means that I was able to complete a second book for the month of March.  For my second book of the month I decided to go non-fiction and finally read a book that I have been meaning to get to: The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  This is a book I have wanted to read for awhile, and I am SO happy I was finally able to get around to it.  I am giving this book a 5 star ranking and highly recommending it,

Confession time: I read this entire book in ONE day.  Yes, that is HOW MUCH I enjoyed reading this book.  I was hooked and fascinated by chapter one when Gladwell begins his discussion on how people become successful.  The entire book is basically a discussion on how people do not become massively successful because they have some incredible gift of talent that no one else has, but rather because a variety of circumstances all come together to lift them to fame and fortune. Gladwell states that yes, talent is important, but a lot of what lifts people to success is actually a combination of many factors, some that are not even in their personal control.

The book discusses the creation of success through everything from birth month to cultural heritage.  A lot of his concepts seemed really obvious once I read them, but yet I hadn't necessarily thought of it on my own.  I particularly enjoyed the chapters on the concepts of hard work, genius, and cultural heritage. Gladwell points out putting 10,000 hours of work into a project is more important than having the highest IQ in the classroom.  He also supports the fact that where you come from and your cultural heritage will have a profound effect on how you approach problems.  It made me want to go out and practice writing and/or running as frequently as possible and see what kind of success was possible.  It also made me ponder what traits my Irish relatives had passed down to me that would help or hinder me in life.  It was definitely a book that got me thinking, to say the least.

I have never been much of a non-fiction reader; I tend to enjoy reading an actual "story."  I have been finding lately though that non-fiction seems to have taken on a new syntax and style.  The books I have been reading lately seem to be told in more of a narrative fashion.  It almost seems as if the author is having a discussion with you about what they have learned about a topic.  I find this style works really well for me and keeps me engaged, versus older non-fiction books that I found to be more straight research and information.  Gladwell also uses this narrative voice and kept me interested and reading his entire book, until I found it was midnight and I had to get up in six hours!

I would highly suggest this book, particularly if you are interested in how other people seem to rise to the top, while some people are never able to change their status.

5 stars.  Seriously, Read it. 

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