“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” ― Malcolm Gladwell
I just finished Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Yippie, I finished a second book!
I will keep my review short. I didn’t like it. It was not a waste of time, but I don’t recommend it. I think nothing is a waste, no book is. It always makes us think, even if we end up wishing we had read something else.
I wanted to like it. Afterall most people like it, if you go by the reviews on Amazon. I liked the idea of it. I wanted to be enlightened about success and successful people. I was not. I was left disappointed by it.
I have heard so many great things about Malcom Gladwell’s books over the years that I expected a lot. Perhaps I expected too much. I thought I would have this big revelation when reading one of his books. With this one I expected to gain some invaluable insight on the key to success. I did not!
The one part I found interesting was regarding plane crashes. According to Gladwell most crashes are due to communications issues and lack of cultural awareness. Being an immigrant and a non-native English speaker that resonated with me; but there are a lot other facts that goes into a person speaking up or not in certain situations.
“Achievement is talent plus preparation” ― Malcolm Gladwell
To me some of his ideas were just common sense. Others were just anecdotes. There was no big reveal, no big secret. It reinforced some old cliches, that I believe in. I will summarize the books in cliches:
- Timing is everything. Timing, such as the month and year someone is born in matters. He had some anecdotes about hockey players to illustrate that.
- Grab every opportunity. Not everyone is given the same opportunities in life. The successful people are the ones that take full advantage of the opportunities they encounter.
- Practice makes it perfect. The more you practice something, the better you will be at it. Duh! He believes that the sweet number is 10,000 hours or 10 years.
- Hard work matters. Again, duh!
- Where you are from matters, and it shows up in our behavior and interaction with others. Something like, “you can remove a girl from Brazil, but you cannot remove Brazil from the girl”.
“Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from.” ― Malcolm Gladwell
Perhaps because I am an immigrant from Brazil, that came to the US looking for better opportunities, I know all about not wasting opportunities when they show up. All I have is due to hard work, so I fully believe in it. My culture influences me a lot. Not matter how many years I have been living in the US I still see the influences of my upbringing in Brazil in my daily interactions. If I would only practice more I would be fluent in French, and many other stuff.
After reading this book I was hoping to have learned something new. Something that I could use in my life. I did not.
I will read Blink at some point as I already have the book on my shelf. Perhaps Blink will be more illuminating.
“Hard work is only a prison sentence when you lack motivation” ― Malcolm Gladwell