Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers is an intriguing book. It blends the unintentional alleyways that lead to greatness rather than commonplace and does so on the individual level all the way to the national and cultural levels. With resulting ramifications, he spots the obvious. He settles what people have been ignoring for years. That greatness does not come from being chosen, but greatness could be achieved if the playing fields of education, sports, and culture could be leveled when the child matures. This does not mean taking access away from doers but developing the means for equal access to pathways of greatness for more children/people no matter who you are.
Gladwell lays his foundation with its strong points. It really does matter when, where, and to whom you were born as well as avoiding indifference in pursuing the pathways of your preference. He explains how, with a young child, it really is important in which month you were born regarding physical and mental development because depending on the grouping system, a child born at the end of the year, is a year younger than a peer child born at the beginning of the same year.
It also questions to whom you were born, in what is a more unique look at the nature vs. nurture debate. A high IQ means little to an individual who has no clear road to capitalize on his or her intelligence. Gladwell is not about making excuses but identifying weaknesses in how we group and teach our young. He insists on providing remedies for these weaknesses.
I would hope that those who have and will read Gladwell’s Outliers would see how they have benefitted, or not, through the inconsistencies of our changing systems. Yet, he correctly proposes that it takes thousands of hours of work, as well as passion in what one does to be hugely successful, all the while uncovering that there are hidden advantages in life. When and where, one is born, and being in the right place at the right time to capitalize on the opportunity when offered does matter regarding one’s success or lack of success in life.
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