Introduction: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is a book revolving around the idea that success and greatness is not made

only by intelligence and hard work. It ponders on the idea of opportunity and culture.

Summary: The book has 2 major parts. Part 1 is entitled as Opportunity, and is divided into 5 chapters namely: The Matthew Effect, The 10,000 Hour Rule, The Trouble With Geniuses Part 1, The Trouble With Geniuses Part 2, and The Three Lessons of Joe Flom. The other part, entitled as Legacy, is divided into 4 chapters namely: Harlan Kentucky, The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes, Rice Paddies and Math Tests, and Marita’s bargain. The first part of the book, Opportunity, gives different examples on how opportunity affects the success of a person. In the first chapter, The Matthew Effect, Gladwell discusses the advantages of Canadian Hockey players whose birth months are near the months of drafting season. Having birthdates near the cut offs may not be a huge advantage at the start, but given that these players are more developed, physically and mentally, because they are more aged in months than their counterparts, their coaches will pick them more frequently to play and give them more exposure making them more successful than their colleagues in the team. The second chapter strengthens the first chapter’s theory by implying that because these people were most likely to be picked, they enjoy the most number of plays and practices nearing to 10,000 hours worth of time to hone their skills and crafts. This 10,000 worth of hours, according

to Gladwell is a great advantage, mentioning Bill Joy, Bill Gates and the Beatles as examples to strengthen his argument. He claims that because of the opportunity and the number of hours of practice, these institutions were able to improve their skills, making them as outliers. It implies that opportunity makes a great role in making a person an outlier. The third chapter focuses on the reality that there are geniuses. Gladwell spoke of the opportunity given to Langan because he was a genius having a high I.Q. comparable to Einstein’s. Gladwell argues that more opportunities are given to those with high I.Q.s, and as was being tried to be established from the past chapters, the more the opportunities, the better chance to be an outlier. The fourth chapter speaks of the idea that if there are 2 geniuses, if there would be differences in the sets of opportunities given to them, the development of each other is different. It speaks of how economic opportunity makes a difference. Gladwell spoke of Langan who came from a not well to do family, and Oppenheimer, who came from the opposite end of the spectrum. Gladwell implies that Oppenheimer, being wealthy, developed talents, like a way to squeeze himself out from a tight situation onto which Langan was not able to develop. It points out that economic status is another opportunity, upon which, at the end, makes a person an outlier. The fifth chapter speaks of making misfortunes work for a person. Gladwell illustrated this through Joe Flom, who is a partner of a highly established international law firm. Flom, being Jewish, used his disadvantage of being discriminated to his advantage. He also made out an opportunity from his misfortunes of not being hired by top law firms. That Flom then created a law firm, get the work the top law firms don’t like to get, like corporate takeovers, and became a

pioneer on that field. This chapter also speaks of the way immigrants strive to establish their life in their new country which was also done by Flom. The second part of the book speaks of how culture affects the way a person acts and ultimately affects his success. The sixth chapter speaks of how “for pride and honor” thinking of the Howard and Turner families affect the peace in Harlan County. Gladwell discusses where it came from. The seventh chapter speaks of how the culture affects a person’s productivity. Gladwell illustrates how politeness and lack of assertiveness of Koreans produces plane crashes. The eight chapter speaks of the how the culture of a region affects the way they think. Gladwell illustrates why people from China, Japan and Korea are better in math than their counterparts in the U.S. because of the way they count and the way they value their work. The ninth chapter speaks of how a person can sacrifice her culture to beat the odds and be productive. This chapter talks about KIPP managing to have exemplary high scores in math and english compared to their public school counterparts. It discusses the struggles of Marita being a lucky student enrolled in KIPP.

Analysis: When I got hold of the book, I found it to be very catchy, easy to read, and entertaining. The book’s author has a talent in writing things. He gives a theory, explains his argument, and then gives an example, similar to a professor explaining to his students. The construction of the book is somewhat an autobiography with history. The book is very informational.

Though at first, I thought the book is an exact opposite of what I believe in, upon writing this book review, I realized that it is not. I now know how opportunity comes into play. Before, I thought that we are the makers of our future. If we study hard, we can be successful. We can be Bill Gates and Albert Einsteins. Now I know, that aside from perseverance, talent and hard work, opportunities are big players in our success. We cannot be Bill Gates and Albert Einstein if we don’t have the opportunities. I also like to point out, and that I realized, that for me, this book is not an exact opposite of what is taught in Organizational Behavior. We don’t have to choose what to believe in, it’s not like black or white nor Mayweather and Pacquiao. It can act as an additional information in understanding the subject. This book is coffee. It awakened me.

Conclusion: The book is very good and I recommend it to all especially to other students like me so that they can have another perspective.

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