Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcom Gladwell

Whenever people find great success and become millonaires like Bill Gates, legendary musicans like the Beatles or shape the future of the world like J. Robert Oppenheimer the story told is one of the person’s great hardships, impeccable skills and inherent intelligence, making us being fascinated of these people’s skills and success. What Gladwell analyses however, is whether these fairytales of success and self-made millionaires are really true, in that they did it all by themselfes.

What Gladwell presents is a convincing account on how circumstances, luck and legacy factor into the success of individuals. Without the right time, place, access to resources, opportunity and family background, these successes would not have happened.

Gladwell’s analyses the circumstances of each respective background and discribes, that without advantages, may those be unlimited access to computers in a time when those were rare, opportunities to play live to an audience 8 hours a day, having personal connections to people of influence, or simply being born in the right year or month.

He states that via 10.000 hours of training, his “10.000 hour rule”, one can master pretty much anything. Therefor, the earlier you start learning a specific skill, the younger you are at the time of it’s mastery. Without unlimited access to then rare and expensive computers, Bill Gates wouldn’t have been able to become profficient at programming at a young age and without plaing 8 hours a day for months on end in Hamburg, the Beatles wouldn’t have become the legends they are today.

Therefor, no mastery without the necessary training and circumstances.
Gladwell, as with most his other books, makes an intriguing case, that fairytales of solely self-made success are just that, fairytales. I found this book quick and easy to read and interesting throuout. Recommended, if you are interested in the content.