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OUTLIERS MALCOLM GLADWELL Published in 2008, Outliers: The Story of Success is Malcolm Gladwell’s third consecutive best-selling nonfiction book Malcolm.

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Presentation on theme: "OUTLIERS MALCOLM GLADWELL Published in 2008, Outliers: The Story of Success is Malcolm Gladwell’s third consecutive best-selling nonfiction book Malcolm."— Presentation transcript:

1 OUTLIERS MALCOLM GLADWELL Published in 2008, Outliers: The Story of Success is Malcolm Gladwell’s third consecutive best-selling nonfiction book Malcolm T. Gladwell, is a Canadian journalist, bestselling author, and speaker

2 WHAT IS AN OUTLIER? Outliers, published in 2008 In Outliers, Gladwell attempts to answer, "What makes some people successful while others are not?“ Through a series of case studies, Gladwell insists that we have all too easily bought into the myth that successful people are self-made Instead, he says they are: “ invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.” Gladwell defines an outlier as a person out of the ordinary “who doesn't fit into our normal understanding of achievement.”

3 So what are some of these “advantages and opportunities” leading to success ? Gladwell challenges the ideas of innate genius and natural-born talent. Through a series of detailed examples, Gladwell explains that people like Mozart, Bill Gates, the Beatles were not born with natural talent. INSTEAD…. they had the right upbringing and cultural legacy were in the right place at the right time At least 10,000 hours of hard work or practice A few lucky opportunities along the way

4 For example, rather than this model of success:

5 This is really what’s going on:


7 THE MATHEW EFFECT The Matthew Effect Gladwell begins by quoting a verse from the Bible that states that those who have will be given more while those who have not will lose that which they had. Gladwell describes certain advantages sports players and school children have simply because of their birth dates. The time of year these people were born led to certain advantages that spiraled upwards from that point on.

8 The Matthew Effect and CANADIAN HOCKEY PLAYERS Gladwell explains a rather unique statistic: of players in Canadian professional hockey leagues 40% were born between January and March 30% between April and June 20% between July and September 10% between October and December The explanation for this unusual statistic is simple: in Canada, the cut-off birth date for trying out for hockey leagues is January 1st. So, if you turn ten on January 1, you are going to be a lot bigger, physically more mature, and more coordinated than a child who turns ten on December 31 st One year’s difference in adolescence makes a huge difference in a child’s ability and strength on the sports field After noting this statistic, Gladwell then goes on to describe the spiral effect from that point on— the bigger kids will play better and then be scouted by better coaches for more competitive teams. On those competitive teams, the bigger kids will be given better coaches, more chances to play and practice, and games against other more competitive teams

9 Matthew Effect and the Hockey Players cont.. Same findings with European soccer and a test scores in school systems. For the test scores, the older kids in the grade score higher than do the younger children. This is a statistic that is true from elementary school all the way up through college. We often think that successful people got there through personal achievement, hard work and innate talent Gladwell feels that we need to take into account that sometimes people are more successful than others their age simply because they were born at better time.

10 The 10,000 Hour Rule for an individual to become an expert in any skill, they need to spend about 10,000 hours practicing or working on it For example, the Beatles spent two years in Germany playing long hours each day (8 hours a day, 7 days a week, for a good chunk of the year) before they became famous. Bill Gates spent hours and hours programming (20 to 30 hours a week), skipping athletics and even sneaking out at night to get in computer time. Although Mozart was skilled at the piano, he didn’t start writing his own compositions until he reached 21 years of age (prior to that, he mostly played compositions that others wrote). If you add up all the hours of practice from those who possess talent, and compare them to those who lack talent, the numbers explain a lot!

11 Timing and the 10,000 Hour Rule Gladwell gives several examples of people who were successful because they had the right skills at the right time in history. EXAMPLE: 14 of the 75 wealthiest people in history were born in American in the mid-19 th century, within 9 years of one another. They were the right age at the time when the economy changed radically EXAMPLE: William Joy learned programming before it became popular. Just about the time he accrued 10,000 hours of programming practice, personal computing arrived, making the scene perfect for someone with his skillset to exploit the market. EXAMPLE: In the 1960s and 70s, lawyers skilled in dealing with corporate takeovers and litigation suddenly became highly sought after, whereas years earlier the practice was considered shady. These lawyers put in the time to perfect their skills before their skills were valued causing them to be wildly successful when their skills were needed.

12 The Problem with IQ Does having an IQ in the genius range automatically mean that one will be successful? According to several studies summarized by Gladwell it does not! when it comes to intelligence, there tends to be a threshold; once you get past a certain level of intelligence, it does not really impact your success much Instead, other factors—particularly creativity, the ability to think in innovative ways, and dealing well with change and unexpected factors—are what help people succeed. Background and upbringing also play a crucial role He Uses the examples of Chris Langan and Robert Oppenheimer to illustrate this point

13 THRESHOLD OF INTELLIGENCE Chris Langan IQ of 195 and is considered the smartest man in America. Grew up incredibly poor with a working mother and a drunken father. College drop out Since then, he has not achieved success in traditional terms. Robert Oppenheimer One of the crucial designers of the nuclear bomb He, too, was brilliant, but he came from a wealthy family Degree from Harvard, and was very successful.

14 SO WHY THE DIFFERENCE? Langan did not possess creativity and more importantly “Practical Intelligence” Practical Intelligence – How to navigate certain situations to get what you want. Upbringing Langan – poor dysfunctional family with very little support – no opportunities to develop the “practical intelligence” needed to succeed Oppenheimer – Wealthy family that afforded him many opportunities to develop his skills as well as his “practical intelligence”

15 The influence of Culture Your culture has a strong influence on your behavior and level of success Can be either positive or negative Gladwell says that leaving out a successful person’s background and upbringing paints an incomplete picture. EXAMPLE: Columbian co- pilot who most likely crashed a plane because, even with diminishing fuel, he wasn’t assertive enough to stand up to the intimidating control tower and demand to the captain to land. Columbian culture - deep respect for superiors and they are rarely challenged or contradicted. Cultures that encourage passive submission to authority might find themselves at a disadvantage in serious situations

16 Culture (con.t) Other times, your culture works for you. EXAMPLE: Asians who spent centuries working in rice paddies, a type of farming that requires meticulous care all year long, passed on this work ethic to their descendants. Many of the inheritors of the rice-paddy work ethic apply the same diligence in their schoolwork. This diligence, of course, brings more success.

17 Upbringing Involved parents vs. non-involved parents is a key difference that leads to an individual’s success in life. Involved parents talk to their kids more and critically provide more opportunity for them (by taking them to museums, putting them into summer school, helping them with their homework etc.) More involved parents tend to be wealthier Wealthy parents can provide more opportunities in terms of education, extracurricular activities and cultural experiences Bill Gates – Wealthy family with many opportunities afforded to him Chris Langdan – Poor family with hardly any parental support More involved, wealthier parents teach their children better communication skills and better life skills in general to deal with change and the real world.

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