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Outliers December 14, 2009

Posted by Deval Delivala in Uncategorized.


Malcolm Gladwell has a very distinct way of writing which is consistent with his previous books – he uses data to come up with results and then challenges those results to prove otherwise. He tries to prove in this book is why people are successful. He strips away all the layers of intelligence, education, IQ level and smartness to evaluate what makes one person succeed. Using examples like Bill Gates, Beatles etc he proves that most of the times it’s all about being provided with the opportunity that no one else is because of the environment you are bought up in. Or it is doing the same thing over and over again which makes a person successful.  He claims that when we celebrate a person’s success in a particular field we tend to disregard the structure of the system that the person is a part of that has enabled this success. I sort of disagree with his viewpoint. Sure the media and common people rave about a particular Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs. But most of us do know why they are successful and do take into account the setting which led them to be successful. For instance the Bill Gates example- Malcolm says that at that time there was no one who had done that much coding in Silicon Valley and that Bill Gates was one of the rare people who had access to a computer very early in his childhood. So this in some ways set him up for success. Thus Malcolm removes any notion of Bill Gates just being a smart businessman.  To argue that point- if there was (I am pretty sure there was) a person who had access to the same things that Bill Gates had in terms of resources- would he have done equally well and gone ahead and build a Microsoft. There is a certain internal ability that differentiates people from each other and hence not everyone makes it big. Malcolm thinks otherwise and tries to prove that in the book.



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