"Outliers" by Gladwell

I am just finishing the book, and gotta admit that I’m pretty impressed with what he has come up with. This was my first Gladwell book, and now am planning to read “Tiping Point”. Anyone else read any of these books yet? I wonder if people totally agree with him. One school of thought says you are born talented, and he totally kills that notion.

It’s a combination of both innate talent and persistent dedication… or as he describes it as the Matthews effect (i.e., “accumulated advantage”)… I think that’s totally true. Talents (or in this case, at the extreme, outliers) are “constructed” not merely out of chance, but from the individuals’ position to accumulate opportunities which begets more opportunities. That’s how I see the world as well… people don’t merely get lucky (i.e., the argument that Warren Buffet is just a mere statistical anomaly – it just so happen to be him!), they build opportunities so that they can be exposed to more lucky events. By the way, I too am reading Tipping Point – just finished Outliers earlier as well.

How are you liking Tiping Point? I actually agree completely with him. And the whole time he does mention the “10,000 hours” theory, and you need to work hard but you also needed to be in Seattle in the late 60’s, needed to have rich enough parents to send you to the Lakeside (where they start a computer lab in 1968! at a junior High!), lived walking distance from the Univ. of Washington, the Univ. had free time from 3 to 6 AM had C Cubed support your mission, TRW looking for some payrill programmer, and some 'Bud Pembroke" happened to know you. Phew!! Then you ultimately become Bill Gates.

Yeah, that’s true… there’s no way for a mere boy to have these opportunities spawn through hardwork w/o some stroke of luck! Recipe for success (in no order of importance): 1) be inherently “talented”, “gifted”, “smart”, 2) be hardworking 3) be lucky

The same could be said about the Saskatchewanites that made their way to Calgary to work in the oil and gas business during the 80s and 90s. They came from hard-working farm families so the work ethic and opportunistic attitude was there; the oil recession had recently ended and assets were cheap; they were nepotistic in creating businesses and gave out a lot of stock options; oil and gas prices subsequently rose rapidly ahead of service costs; and these businessmen were frugal (which spilled over to corporate culture and helped profitability). What do we have now? A couple of billionaires and a whole bunch of multi-millionaires roaming around the city.

I thought Tipping Point was pretty underwhelming; I wouldn’t really recommend it.

Ali, couldn’t agree with you more. It just feels like it’s too late in Calgary if you want to be successful, an outlier. Everything has laready been ‘taken’, and all you do is try to get in the system, it takes too long, and when you do, whatever you wanted to accomplish, has already been done so by somebody who was at the right place, at the right time. Sometimes, i wonder how does this “timing the market” work? Can you actually “time” your life? The events in your life? I believe its luck in the majority, besides the fact that you work hard. But who isn’t willing to work hard? I know, I am willing to bust my @ss harder than anybody around, have put in 100 hrs weeks in the past, but I can’t “time” it. All you can do is stick around and wait in the hope that “it” happens. You need to have the “Hamburg” (you’ll know if you’ve read the book) event happening in your life at some point.

I briefly read about his stuff and saw an interview but I gleamed something different than what you’re saying. I heard him say there is no natural talent there is only some inner force that makes some people more persistent than others, at the same time, each individuals environment is more/less conducive to their achievement of whatever it is they’re persisting at (computer exposure for gates, etc.). Anyway, that’s my take and it is interesting stuff to ponder.

KJH Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > I briefly read about his stuff and saw an > interview but I gleamed something different than > what you’re saying. I heard him say there is no > natural talent there is only some inner force that > makes some people more persistent than others, at > the same time, each individuals environment is > more/less conducive to their achievement of > whatever it is they’re persisting at (computer > exposure for gates, etc.). Anyway, that’s my take > and it is interesting stuff to ponder. Are you saying that you only read books you agree with? I have read this text, which I thought was well researched, thought provoking and original. I did not agree 100% with Gladwell - but it is an excellent piece.

KJH Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > I briefly read about his stuff and saw an > interview but I gleamed something different than > what you’re saying. I heard him say there is no > natural talent there is only some inner force that > makes some people more persistent than others, at > the same time, each individuals environment is > more/less conducive to their achievement of > whatever it is they’re persisting at (computer > exposure for gates, etc.). Anyway, that’s my take > and it is interesting stuff to ponder. You basically repeated everything I said in an earlier post on this thread (if you scroll up). And yet you disgree with what I said…strange! +1 @ Joe.

Gladwell’s books and column are always a good read, and almost always full of holes. Read Blink then read Richard Posner’s critique.

Iginla, I read what you wrote. I didn’t disagree I just thought I worded it better or truer to what I understood his point to be… “persistence and environment not genetic gift” I don’t know what joe is talking about? I don’t disagree with anything.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCt1Wc8Kx4U http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nf3NalDYIT8&feature=related

According to Taleb, it’s 100% luck. Hard work be damned.