Friday, June 5, 2015

" OUTLIERS " by MALCOLM GLADWELL

Outliers is a great story about success. The book which is written by Malcolm Gladwell gives many examples about how people have become successful in their life. Some of the stories you may not know, but some you do and they will get the reader thinking. Every chapter is different but it ties everything together in how an individual can become successful.

This book really got me thinking about how I can change a little bit to be a success in the things I do. I can use this book in helping me become a better student and also life tasks. If an adult reads this they can use it to think about there careers and even there parenting, This book is great to get the reader thinking. The book can change you and the world to become better. I recommend this book to everyone.

Malcolm Gladwell excels at pinpointing a social phenomenon, be it cultural epidemics (The Tipping Point) or snap judgements (Blink); putting forth his thesis; and illustrating his proof through a series of short, engaging, self-encapsulated histories. In Outliers, he examines the phenomenon of high achievement, fantasic stories of success often attributed to the tenacity, hard work, and innate individual talent.

Gladwell doesn't discount the necessity of innate ability, and he points to hard work as a crucial factor for success in any endeavor. But he finds in these success stories that factors such as timing, circumstance, and cultural heritage play an oft-overlooked yet critical role. Outliers is Malcolm Gladwell's ode to these unsung heros.

In the first part of the book, Gladwell profiles high achievers and the historical conditions surrounding their successes, illustrating anecdotally how they prove what Gladwell calls the 10,000 Hour Rule, that mastery at anything - music, programming, sports, chess - is dependent upon 10,000 hours of practice, roughly three hours a day over the course of ten years.. In his illustrations, Gladwell shows how these individuals were provided with unique opportunities to log these critical practice hours.

In 1968, when Bill Gates was 13 years old, his school, Lakeside Academy in Seattle, Washington, acquired a computer, a terminal on which Gates could program non-stop for the next few years, a once in a lifetime opportunity to practice something that would have unforseen value.

At the age of 16, Gates learned that a mainframe computer was available for free in the middle of the night at the nearby University of Washington. Unbeknown to his parents, the young Gates snuck out each night to write code between 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. Good fortune played an critical role in Bill Gates' success by allowing him significant programming practice time that very few others his age had during a critical juncture in computer history.

In Part II of Outliers, Gladwell shifts his focus from circumstantial good fortune and serendipitous timing to the cultural legacies we inherit from our forbears. Key among the illustrations in this section is that of agrarian Chinese from Southern China, who for thousands of years engineered, built, and toiled in rice paddies. The work is famously grueling as well as surprisingly complex, and Gladwell contrasts Chinese commitment in this rigor to the lassitude of peasant farmers in Europe, pointing to the differences in the different systems that evolved around the two forms of work. Through a string of narrative that also references studies of mathematical learning, Gladwell leads us deftly to very plausible explanations for the truth inherent in cultural stereotypes about Asians in academia.

Malcolm Gladwell is a gifted story-teller, and his ability to present his ideas within compelling narrative form is half of what makes his work so engaging and popular. The other half of course is his ability to ask questions, synthesize ideas, and make connections where others fail to see them, or where those who do lack the narrative ability to serve them up irresistibly as Gladwell is known to do.

The Story of Success is the third non-fiction book written by Malcolm Gladwell and published by Little, Brown and Company on November 18, 2008. In Outliers, Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. To support his thesis, he examines the causes of why the majority of Canadian ice hockey players are born in the first few months of the calendar year, how Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates achieved his extreme wealth, how The Beatles became one of the most successful musical acts in human history, how Joseph Flom built Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom into one of the most successful law firms in the world, how cultural differences play a large part in perceived intelligence and rational decision making, and how two people with exceptional intelligence, Christopher Langan and J. Robert Oppenheimer, end up with such vastly different fortunes. Throughout the publication, Gladwell repeatedly mentions the "10,000-Hour Rule", claiming that the key to achieving world class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing the correct way, for a total of around 10,000 hours.

The publication debuted at number one on the bestseller lists for The New York Times and The Globe and Mail, holding the position on the former for eleven consecutive weeks. Generally well received by critics, Outliers was considered more personal than Gladwell's other works, and some reviews commented on how much Outliers felt like an autobiography. Reviews praised the connection that Gladwell draws between his own background and the rest of the publication to conclude the book. Reviewers also appreciated the questions posed by Outliers, finding it important to determine how much individual potential is ignored by society. However, the lessons learned were considered anticlimactic and dispiriting. The writing style, deemed easy to understand, was criticized for oversimplifying complex social phenomena.

There is a story that is usually told about extremely successful people, a story that focuses on intelligence and ambition. Gladwell argues that the true story of success is very different, and that if we want to understand how some people thrive, we should spend more time looking around them-at such things as their family, their birthplace, or even their birth date. And in revealing that hidden logic, Gladwell presents a fascinating and provocative blueprint for making the most of human potential.

In The Tipping Point Gladwell changed the way we understand the world. In Blink he changed the way we think about thinking. In OUTLIERS he transforms the way we understand success.
 

10,000 Hours of Practice

In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. How does Gladwell arrive at this conclusion? And, if the conclusion is true, how can we leverage this idea to achieve greatness in our professions?

Gladwell studied the lives of extremely successful people to find out how they achieved success. This article will review a few examples from Gladwell’s research, and conclude with some thoughts for moving forward.
 

Violins in Berlin

In the early 1990s, a team of psychologists in Berlin, Germany studied violin students. Specifically, they studied their practice habits in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. All of the subjects were asked this question: “Over the course of your entire career, ever since you first picked up the violin, how many hours have you practiced?”

All of the violinists had begun playing at roughly five years of age with similar practice times. However, at age eight, practice times began to diverge. By age twenty, the elite performers averaged more than 10,000 hours of practice each, while the less able performers had only 4,000 hours of practice.

The elite had more than double the practice hours of the less capable performers.
 

Natural Talent: Not Important

One fascinating point of the study: No “naturally gifted” performers emerged. If natural talent had played a role, we would expect some of the “naturals” to float to the top of the elite level with fewer practice hours than everyone else. But the data showed otherwise. The psychologists found a direct statistical relationship between hours of practice and achievement. No shortcuts. No naturals.
 

Sneaking Out to Write Code

You already know how Microsoft was founded. Bill Gates and Paul Allen dropped out of college to form the company in 1975. It’s that simple: Drop out of college, start a company, and become a billionaire, right? Wrong.

Further study reveals that Gates and Allen had thousands of hours of programming practice prior to founding Microsoft. First, the two co-founders met at Lakeside, an elite private school in the Seattle area. The school raised three thousand dollars to purchase a computer terminal for the school’s computer club in 1968.

A computer terminal at a university was rare in 1968. Gates had access to a terminal in eighth grade. Gates and Allen quickly became addicted to programming.

The Gates family lived near the University of Washington. As a teenager, Gates fed his programming addiction by sneaking out of his parents’ home after bedtime to use the University’s computer. Gates and Allen acquired their 10,000 hours through this and other clever teenage schemes. When the time came to launch Microsoft in 1975, the two were ready.
 

Practice Makes Improvement

In 1960, while they were still an unknown high school rock band, the Beatles went to Hamburg, Germany to play in the local clubs.

The group was underpaid. The acoustics were terrible. The audiences were unappreciative. So what did the Beatles get out of the Hamburg experience? Hours of playing time. Non-stop hours of playing time that forced them to get better.

As the Beatles grew in skill, audiences demanded more performances – more playing time. By 1962 they were playing eight hours per night, seven nights per week. By 1964, the year they burst on the international scene, the Beatles had played over 1,200 concerts together. By way of comparison, most bands today don’t play 1,200 times in their entire career.
 

Falling in Love With Practice

The elite don’t just work harder than everybody else. At some point the elites fall in love with practice to the point where they want to do little else.

The elite software developer is the programmer who spends all day pounding code at work, and after leaving work she writes open source software on her own time.

The elite football player is the guy who spends all day on the practice field with his teammates, and after practice he goes home to watch game films.

The elite physician listens to medical podcasts in the car during a long commute.

The elites are in love with what they do, and at some point it no longer feels like work.
 

What’s Next?

Now that we’ve reviewed the trends uncovered by Gladwell’s research, what can we do about it? All of us want to be great at something. Now that we know how other achievers have gotten there, what can we do to join their ranks?

One approach: We could choose a field and practice for 10,000 hours. If we are currently working in our target profession, forty hours per week over five years would give us ten thousand hours.

Or… We can look at the question in reverse. Where have we already logged 10,000 hours of practice? What is it that we do really well? What tasks do we perform so well that people ask: How did you do that? Sometimes when we fall in love with practice we don’t even recognize it!

If you’re running a company, what does your company do better than anybody else? What is it that the individual members of your company do better than anybody? How do you create an environment that gives everyone on your team the opportunity to practice?
 

Conclusion

Business is tough, especially now. Yet even in the midst of a challenging economy, there are individuals and companies that prosper beyond all expectations. Practice plays a major role in success.
 

Suggested Reading

Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. Through interviews and statistical analysis, Gladwell determines why some people and organizations achieve success far beyond their peers.