A study of people who attain exceptional levels of achievement – whether in mathematics, athletics, law, or any other field – that is beyond the range of typical experience is the subject of the documentary Outliers (2009).
We tend to believe that these outliers possess some secret inherent talent that allows them to climb to the top of their respective professions, but other variables, such as family, culture, and even birthdates, may have a significant impact on their level of success.
Who is it that reads the book Outliers?
- Anyone who wants to get a better grasp of what it means to be successful and how to attain it should read this book.
- Teachers, coaches, and those who work in the training industry
- consultants and others who are engaged in reforming government policies
What is Malcolm Gladwell's background?
Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine. He lives in New York City. He started his professional journalistic career as a correspondent for the Washington Post, where he covered business and science. He was named to Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential persons in the world in 2005.
Along with outliers, Gladwell is the author of many other best-selling books, including the tipping point: how small things can make a huge difference and note: the power of thinking without thinking (both published by Penguin).
What exactly is in it for me? Discover why the concept of "self-made" success is a fallacy.
Have you ever read a biography of a famous person in which the individual's success is ascribed to sheer dumb luck? If you have, you are not alone. Most likely not. Instead, when it comes to success tales, we like to believe that the individuals in question have achieved their position by their own abilities and hard work. This is the myth of the "self-made man," and these notes will demonstrate that it is based on sand rather than rock. You'll see how many invisible variables affect a person's success, and how many of those factors are outside the control of the individual in question. You will discover why Bill Gates and The Beatles were so successful; why your birthdate may have ruined your chances of being an ice hockey great; and what rice farming has to do with arithmetic abilities in these notes.
The concept of the "self-made man" is highly valued in our society.
When we meet a brilliant mathematician, we have a tendency to believe that his ability to reason logically is something he was born with. The same may be said about the agility of elite athletes, the sense of rhythm of musicians, and the problem-solving abilities of computer programmers. This is due to the fact that we are naturally inclined to credit an individual's success or accomplishment to his or her own efforts and inherent talents. While running for governor of Florida, Jeb Bush used the phrase "self-made guy" to describe himself as part of his overall campaign plan. This is, to put it mildly, absurd; he was descended from two American presidents, a rich Wall Street banker, and a United States senator among his direct family members. Nonetheless, since individuality is so valued in our society, he attempted this approach.
Jeb Bush's accomplishments place him in the category of outlier - a person who has accomplished something statistically exceptional. However, just as Bush's fortunate background assisted him in achieving success, so too do less favorable external circumstances assist other outliers in rising beyond the mean. We put such a high emphasis on people and their "self-made" accomplishments that we frequently choose to overlook or downplay the importance of other variables. The myth of the "self-made guy" exists — and it is a very, very popular myth.
When you reach a certain point in your development, additional skills are no longer beneficial.
Despite the fact that physical attributes are essential, being 6'10" tall does not immediately translate into a million-dollar basketball deal, and having a high IQ does not automatically translate into a Nobel Prize. What is the reason behind this? There is a “threshold” for some characteristics that are associated with success, such as height in basketball players or quantitative intelligence in mathematicians. For example, after a basketball player reaches a particular height, an additional couple of inches does not make much of a difference to his or her performance.
Similarities may be seen in other fields, such as education, where affirmative action policies have led certain law schools to reduce their admission criteria for members of racial minorities. However, when postgraduate achievement is evaluated, there is no longer a significant difference between minority and non-minority students in terms of total performance in law school. Despite having worse academic performance both before and throughout law school, minority students earn comparable incomes, get the same number of awards, and make the same number of contributions to the legal community as their white counterparts.
The same way that height only counts to a certain extent in basketball players, after you have acquired a certain level of legal knowledge, other variables begin to play a larger role. Related skills and characteristics are essential foundations for success in a profession – you can't become a top legal expert if you have no logical reasoning skills – but once you've achieved the skills barrier, even small improvements in natural reasoning ability will not propel you farther in your career. Other factors, such as social skills, contacts, or even a fortunate break, will determine success.
To achieve world-class expertise in anything, it takes about 10,000 hours of practice — which is no small accomplishment.
Despite the fact that talent is unquestionably a crucial component in the formula for success, it seems that hard effort is at least as essential, if not more so. Bill Gates devoted a significant amount of effort to studying computer programming. The Beatles spent a significant amount of time performing on stage. Despite the fact that they were also extremely gifted people, it was their prolonged practice that elevated them to the level of world-class performers. Studies have shown that in order to acquire world-class expertise in anything, you must devote a "critical minimum" amount of time – about 10,000 hours – to practice. It goes without saying that not everyone has the luxury of devoting this much time to a particular skill or hobby.
First and foremost, you must be given the chance to begin as early as possible in order to get in as much practice as possible and get an advantage over your competitors. It is also necessary for you or your family to have the financial means to support you; it is difficult to find time for employment or household duties when you are working 40 hours a week to attempt to become a world-renowned violinist. Depending on what you want to accomplish, you may also need access to costly, state-of-the-art equipment to complete your task. In addition to encouragement from family and friends as well as coaches, instructors, and nice people you encounter on the street, It is possible to have all of these things, as Bill Gates or the Beatles did in their time. The fact is that many individuals don't, and as a result, they are essentially denied the chance to attain world-class expertise in their respective areas.
The month in which you were born may have a significant impact on your life outcomes.
Your "relative age" — that is, how old you are in relation to other people in a developmental group – may make or break you in a variety of circumstances. Take, for instance, the eligibility cutoff date for age groups in Canadian youth hockey leagues, which is January 1, as an illustration. All of the children who were born in the same calendar year are in competition with one another. Seems reasonable, doesn't it? It isn't, to put it mildly. Children born in January are pitted against those born toward the end of December, according to annual cutoff dates. In other words, children born in December compete against children who are essentially a year older than they are. Although the system is inherently unfair, it also produces a self-fulfilling prophecy: coaches praise the best nine-year-olds because they are stronger and better players when in reality they are neither; they are simply one year older – a significant difference when a year represents one-eighth of your lifetime.
Children who are given an unfair age advantage get greater encouragement and chances to grow during a critical period of their development, which benefits them. This is referred to as a cumulative advantage, and it explains why professional Canadian hockey players celebrate their birthdays more often in the early half of the year than in the second half. The thought may cross your mind that it is "no big problem" since you do not participate in ice hockey. “I'm not even a citizen of Canada!” However, in any region where individuals are divided into age-based groups based on yearly cutoff dates, relative age may result in uneven opportunities for those who are younger or older. They are found in the majority of sports leagues. Is there another location where these may be found? Schools.
Because of her limited attention span, a five-year-old may mistakenly believe that she's a "problem kid," and she may grow up believing that she is one. She grows up to be a Harvard student at the same time as the calm almost-six-year-old sitting next to her.
The environment in which you are raised may have a significant effect on your ability to achieve success.
When you achieve a certain level of competence, your inherent talents cease to be relevant in your pursuit of success. Practical intelligence is a much more essential element to consider than academic intelligence. It is “procedural” knowledge that distinguishes practical intelligence: understanding how to analyze and manipulate social circumstances in order to achieve your goals - in other words, knowing who to ask what question and when. People's capacity to engage with and negotiate with authority figures may assist them in moving closer to their desired outcome. This is not something that comes naturally to you. Sociologist Annette Lareau discovered that richer parents are more likely than lower-class parents to inculcate in their children a sense of "entitlement" in their lives. Overall, parents do this by devoting more attention to their children or at the very least by providing their children with stimulating activities that encourage intellectual development.
They instill in their children the ability to demand respect and to "customize" a setting to meet their own requirements. In other words, they instill in their children a sense of practical intelligence. When compared to richer parents, lower-income parents are often frightened by authorities and allow their children to follow a pattern of "natural development" — there is less push-prodding-encouraging than in wealthier homes. The result is that impoverished students are less likely to get practical intelligence instruction, which significantly reduces their prospects of achieving success in school.
The year in which you were born may make or ruin your life.
The occurrence of "unfair" benefits in life may occur from the most unexpected of sources. Consider the fortunes of many well-known software millionaires, including Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems. All of them were born with an exceptional talent for logical thinking, as well as ambition, practical intelligence, and chances to put their abilities to the test in a variety of situations and situations. Is the riddle of the extraordinarily successful finally solved? Not so fast, my friend. That they had opportunities isn't the point; it's the fact that they had a specific sequence of opportunities that allowed them to accumulate their 10,000 hours of computer programming experience at precisely the correct moment in history is the point.
Their birth came at the perfect moment for them to take advantage of the constantly changing software industry: late enough to have received a new computer model that made it simpler to work out programming problems, but not so late that others could steal their ideas before they could implement them. It was also important for them to be the appropriate age when they started their businesses; if they had been considerably older, they may have been more interested in "settling down" rather than in taking the enormous risks that enabled them to succeed. Although not every great software entrepreneur was born in the years 1954 to 1956, the fact that so many were indicates that being in the right location at the right time is important.
Where you come from, both geographically and culturally, may have a significant impact on your ability to succeed.
You're undoubtedly aware of the notion that Asians are naturally gifted in mathematics. Some may scream, "Politically wrong!" when they hear this, yet there are many aspects of Eastern culture that really help children do better in mathematics. The first is a matter of language. In Asian languages, when children learn the words for numbers, they are immediately taught how to add up numbers as well, allowing them to build their mathematical aptitude from an early age. Rice farming, which is a mainstay of the Asian diet, not only helps kids learn language, but it also helps them learn arithmetic since rice farming promotes a strong work ethic. Rice cultivation is much more difficult than cultivating Western crops. Precision, coordination, and patience are required for a successful and profitable rice harvest.
Farmers under feudal systems in Europe had little to show for their efforts; they were forced to give over the majority of their harvests to cruel landlords. However, feudal systems were not popular in Asia, and rice cultivation provided a clear link between effort and return for the farmer. Because of this, a culture of hard labor flourished; one especially enlightening age-old proverb said, "No one who can awake before sunrise three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family wealthy." What does any of this have to do with arithmetic, exactly? For example, arithmetic is difficult, and you may spend an hour trying to figure out why you keep getting -17 when the answer should be 19,473.6 when you should be receiving 19.473.6. The results of studies have shown that pupils in Western nations lose up on arithmetic problems much more quickly than students in Eastern countries.
Usually speaking, yes, Asians are generally excellent in mathematics; it is a part of their cultural heritage. Folks who descend from rice-field laborers are more likely to have a positive attitude about work, which may be especially beneficial while studying mathematics. This propensity continues even after families have abandoned their rice fields for many generations.
If we understand the significance of cultural heritage, we can assist more individuals in their efforts to achieve success – and avoid failure.
There are other less-noticed anomalies, such as aircraft accidents, that need to be mentioned. This very uncommon occurrence nearly usually occurs as a consequence of the accumulation of an improbable succession of small problems or mistakes, each of which would have been inconsequential on its own. However, just as Bill Gates was fortunate to come across one chance after another, pilots may come across a succession of little issues that build up to a major catastrophe. As an example, Korean Air, a carrier that had a poor safety record before to the year 2000, is being singled out. Their crash rate was more than seventeen times greater than the norm for the whole industry. In other cases, such as the Asian propensity for mathematics, this poor track record may be explained by cultural legacies.
Korean culture places a high emphasis on authoritative figures, and it is customary to constantly defer to those in positions of greater authority. Lower-ranking crewmembers may not feel comfortable criticizing the captain if the skipper makes a mistake on an aircraft since their cultural heritage dictates that they should not. It is possible that one of Korean Air's accidents in Guam was caused by a communication breakdown of this kind. First officer attempted to inform the tired captain that visibility was too low to make a visual approach to the runway, but, in order to avoid upsetting the captain with an express instruction, he simply asked, "Don't you suppose it will rain more?". In this region, specifically?” The captain disregarded the first officer's trepidation about the weather, and their aircraft crashed into a hill as a result of his decision.
In the wake of a reform that recognized that the Korean cultural heritage of hierarchy may present difficulties while operating an aircraft, Korean Air recruited an American company to enhance the communication skills of its flight crew members. Now, the company's safety record is on par with that of its rivals.
If we can identify the factors that contribute to unequal playing fields, we can increase the number of chances for individuals to achieve.
It is uncommon that the methods we employ to reduce down nascent potential into success stories are effective or efficient, and the outcome is a small number of successful outliers. Annual cutoff dates in hockey imply that juniors born late in the year must compete against children who are almost a year older than they are. An NHL player born on December 27 in Canada, on the other hand, cannot ask his mother to go back in time and avoid giving birth until January 1, and he should not be forced to wish he could. Thousands of hockey players who might have developed strong work ethics or learned to handle the puck better than anyone else in the league are deprived of opportunities because resources are allocated to those who have an unfair advantage due to their birth occurring during the appropriate time of year. Some people benefit from cumulative advantage, while others suffer from cumulative disadvantage.
Once this weakness in the system is identified, however, it is possible to correct it. As an alternative to utilizing yearly cutoff dates, we might split young hockey players into four times as many groups until the benefit of relative age is no longer advantageous to them. Infants from January to March play in one group, babies from April to June in another, and so on. The same is true for educational institutions. Instead of sitting back and allowing the children of richer parents to have more chances, we can establish programs like the KIPP – Knowledge is Power Program – Academy in the South Bronx, which is a challenging middle school accessible to kids from this very low-income neighborhood. KIPP manages to get 84 percent of its kids to score at or above their grade level in arithmetic by the time they complete eighth grade, despite the fact that there are no tests or entrance criteria, and despite the fact that the majority of students come from underprivileged families.
The most important lesson in this book is that no man, woman, or Canadian hockey player is an island in their own right. Excessive success is the consequence of a succession of chances, fortunate breaks, and other events that come together to produce the exact conditions that allow for extraordinary accomplishment.
Written by BrookPad Team based on Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell