Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Book of the Month

In order to class up this blog a little bit, I am now going to start reviewing a Book of the Month. I read books, in addition to Sports Illustrated and the odd issue of Cracked Magazine, and as such, I will tell you about some of them. One a month to be exact. It's like my movie of the week only with words instead of moving pictures.

This month,

OUTLIERS by Malcolm Gladwell

This book flat out blew my mind. If you have read anything by Gladwell before, you know that his books take some idea, and through vignettes and studies he takes something that should have been obvious to you seem like the greatest innovation since fire. I can't stop telling people about the stuff in this book because it is so interesting, and also very telling about those who have achieved success and the reasons behind their success.

The subtitle of the book, not surprisingly, is The Story of Success, and that is exactly correct. Gladwell takes the reader through many stories of success, and shows through these examples what factors contribute to a person's relative success in life. What was a great discovery to me was the fact that so much of why people are successful is out of their control. Rather than spoil the great revelation for everyone, I will simply say that some of the factors that are out of our control as humans have to do with cultural, socioeconomic and even chronological elements that are sometimes very obvious, but not always. This is especially apparent in the chapter "The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes" where I was thoroughly amazed.

While Gladwell makes it clear that success is not always up to us in every way, there is one area that is an integral ingredient in the super-successful person- work. Those who he sites as the most successful- Bill Gates, The Beatles, et. al. were not only talented, but put in the time necessary to be truly great in their given area. The 10,000 hour rule is key to being truly successful. Look at Gates and The Beatles- they put in 10,000 hours, at least, practicing and honing their skills so that by the time opportunity knocked they were ready. LeBron James, Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods- all gifted, but all have put in the time they needed to become the greatest successes in their sports. Read Outliers because it will not disappoint, and it will show you the true meaning of success in a way you never thought possible.

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