Outliers by Malcolm Gladewell

How hard you work and chase opportunities most others don't chase.

One Sentence Summary

How hard you work and chase opportunities most others don't chase.

Two Key Takeaways

Success has a lot to do with:

  1. Cultural advantage plays a huge role in success
  2. Where you come from
  3. How you were raised
  4. Working hard can make up for talent lost.

Chapter 1: The Matthew Effect

  • Asking what successful people are like will not help you be successful, not uncover a secret. Asking where they are from is the key to understanding how they became successful.
  • Accumulative Advantage - How sociologist deem people successful. A professional hockey players starts out a little bit more successful than his peers, and that little difference leads to a better opportunity in the future. That opportunity leads to another opportunity that makes the difference between him and his peers greater, compounding on the skill that he was slightly better beforehand.

Chapter 2: The 10,000 Hour Rule

  • Achievement is talent plus preparation.
  • Once someone reaches a certain threshold of professionalism or talent, the only thing that distinguishes them from others in that threshold is how hard they work. Talent doesn't becoming a driving factor anymore.
  • "Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good."
  • Professionals success, at a closer look was not just a product of their own doing, but a product of the world in which they grew up.

Chapter 3: The Trouble with Geniuses, Part 1

  • Intellect and achievement are from from perfectly correlated
  • Someone with low intellect can, given the right training and circumstances, become a genius in the everyday sense of the word.

Chapter 4: The Trouble with Geniuses, Part 2

  • Practical Intelligence - The skill of being able to know what to say, to whom, and when to say it for maximum effect
  • This is a skill most high level leaders and businessmen excel in. This is the difference between a great coder, and a great coder who builds a high level, fast paced tech company. They have the confidence and skill to talk back to authority, and make their decisions on their own. Something that can't be taught, only learned.

Chapter 5: The Three Lessons of Joe Flom

  • For something to be satisfying as a career or impression, it has to have:
  • Autonomy
  • Complexity
  • Connection between effort and reward
  • "Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. If it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig.

Chapter 6: Harlan, Kentucky

  • Success rises out of the steady accumulation of advantages; when and where you are born, what your parents did for a living, and what the circumstances of your upbringing were all make a significant difference in how well you do in the world.

Chapter 7: The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes

  • Mitigated Speech - An attempt to downplay or sugarcoat the meaning of what is being said
  • Our ability to succeed at what we do is powerfully bound up with where we're from. Being a good pilot and coming from a high-power distance culture (I'm older than you. Whatever I say goes and there is no questioning or arguing, I'm always right) is a difficult mix.
  • Planes were crashing because pilots were making mistakes and co-pilots were afraid to call them out on them, because they were the pilot. People were dying simply based on the culture background of the two people in charge.

Chapter 8: Rice Paddies and Math Tests

  • "No one who can rise before dawn three hundred and sixty five days a year fails to make his family rich."
  • So far, every success story that has been written in this book (Bill Gates) has worked much harder than their peers.
  • Success = (Persistence) + (Hard Work)^22 minutes

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