What the Publisher Says
There is a story that is usually told about extremely successful people, a story that focuses on intelligence and ambition. Gladwell argues that the true story of success is very different, and that if we want to understand how some people thrive, we should spend more time looking around them-at such things as their family, their birthplace, or even their birth date. And in revealing that hidden logic, Gladwell presents a fascinating and provocative blueprint for making the most of human potential.
I listened to this on audiobook and was pleasantly surprised how short it was--but even though it was short, it was content dense, giving me a lot to think about. I liked it, overall, and thought the ideas were interesting and thought-provoking--which I always consider to be a mark of good nonfiction.
However, there were some flaws. First of all, the entire premise of this book is that we misunderstand genius and what it means to be an "outlier"--one of those amazing individuals who lie outside the norm of society and go on to do great things.
I thought he brought up MANY excellent points on the subject of genius and its various factors and I agreed (for the most part, wholeheartedly). Though I still think there was a flaw. In the beginning, Gladwell seems to set out to say that genius is as much about circumstance as it is about innate talent--and he only halfway (in my opinion) succeeds in this argument. He absolutely convinces me that timing and conditions contribute to a person's success, but he didn't completely erase the idea that hard work isn't a key component. Most people currently believe that with enough hard work, you can be successful. And it *seemed* like he was going to counter this, but ends up providing more evidence in its defense, I think. So for that reason, I wasn't entirely sold on what he was saying.
But if you're looking for a smart, thought-provoking read on the subject of what it means to be successful, this would be a good one. I certainly recommend it. And I'm excited to teach it in my classes next semester.
4 out of 5 stars
I'm giving away 10 audiobooks and 7 ebooks--have you entered my giveaway yet?