Saturday, February 14, 2009
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
ok, so it's been a month or so since i read this book, so this review is going to be pretty weak, but i'll do my best anyway.
i had read gladwell's other books (the tipping point and blink) and loved them and this was no different. they are all simply fascinating. i sometimes wonder whether i should have been a psych major or minor or something because the field really intrigues me. but anyway, some of my favorite parts of the book were the sections about education and about southern chivalry. i found it very interesting that, according to gladwell, the biggest difference between poorer and wealthier schools was the amount of information the kids retained over the summer. i realized that the summer reading programs that i had growing up played a big part in my current love for reading and tried to convey that to chris, telling him that he should make his students have a summer reading program, but he just laughed at me...
i also thought the chapter on backwoods family feuds in rural areas of southern states and the manifestations in our city slicker lives was very interesting. i can't really remember much about it, though, so i guess y'all will just have to go read it for yourselves. you can skip the last chapter, though, it's kinda pointless.
one of the major premises of the book is that the most successful people (like rockefeller and bill gates) were not only very talented, but more importantly in the right place at the right time. at first this might seem a little depressing, because most of us probably won't be in that perfect confluence of events that leads to superstardom. on the other hand, and the way i tend to look at it, this theory kind of gives the rest of us an excuse. you can still be very successful without being ridiculous like some of the people in this book, but if you ascribe to this theory you have an excuse if you're not ridiculous. so next time someone says, "wow, so and so invented the flying car/perfect popcorn cooking microwave by the time he/she was 24. what the hell had you accomplished at 24?" just be like, "shit, if i had lived next to the flooberdom mine when i was 20 then i might have invented flying cars, too..." (and if you're wondering, the answer is yes, i do believe the key to flying cars is a yet undiscovered substance called flooberdom).
but yeah, i give this book an 8 out of 10. very quick read, very interesting