How to Achieve Success: According to Outliers author Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell’s third book,
is about exceptionally people: smart people, richpeople, successful people, people who operate at the extreme outer edge of what is statisticallypossible: J. Robert Oppenheimer, Bill Gates and The Beatles.
tells a story about the context in which success takes place: family, culture, friendship,childhood, accidents of birth and history and geography. "It's not enough to ask what successfulpeople are like," Gladwell writes. "It is only by asking where they are from that we can unravelthe logic behind who succeeds and who doesn't."
is, in its genteel Gladwellian way, afrontal assault on the great American myth of the self-made man.Within
there is a little gem Gladwell calls the 10,000-Hour Rule. Gladwell quotesneurologist Daniel Levitin, who says that scientific studies show that 10,000 hours are requiredto achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert — in anything. Thissuggest that the key to success in any field has nothing to do with talent. It's simply practice,10,000 hours of it — 20 hours a week for 10 years.
he Fab Four burst onto the world stage in the 1960s, seemingly lifted from their hometown of Liverpool and dropped into the world's biggest venues. But theirs was not an overnight success.One of the Beatles' early gigs was performing near military bases in Hamburg, Germany; theywould perform for
hours a day, seven days a week. They did this for 270 days over thecourse of 18 months. By the time the Beatles enjoyed their first commercial success in 1964,they had performed 1,200 times, which is more than most bands today perform in their careers.When the Beatles first left for Germany, they weren't very good. But by the time their Hamburgstints ended, they sounded like no other band in the world. They were well on their way togetting in their 10,000 hours.
Generally regarded as a savant or a computer genius, Gates has a 10,000-hour story, too. Gateshad the good fortune to attend a private school in Seattle that had a computer club. This was1968, when most universities did not have a computer club. And Gates' club didn't have anordinary computer — they had an ASR-33 Teletype, one of the most advanced computers of its day. Gates was hooked on computers and began programming in the eighth grade! This ledto other experiences in Seattle, and by the time he graduated, Gates had practically lived inthe computer lab for five years. He was closing in on 10,000 hours and was ready to take fulladvantage of the opportunities he soon would receive.here are similar examples: Mozart, whose greatest compositions weren't written until he hadbeen composing for more than 20 years; and it takes roughly 10,000 hours to become a chessgrandmaster.