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Thoughts on "Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell

So what is the secret of success?

Malcolm Gladwell in his informative, thoroughly enjoyable and easy-to-digest book suggests that success is not simply down to IQ in the traditional sense - it's also very much about practical intelligence, i.e. an individual's ability to spot and capitalise on an opportunity.

Drawing on a variety of statistics and analysis he argues that, as long as you do enough to get by (i.e. into college), having a high vs a higher IQ really doesn't make that much difference to your success.

Luck also plays a big part of success. When you were born, both during AND even within a year can determine the age you are at when particular opportunities arise as a result of social, cultural, technological and political changes.

How you were brought up and even by your inherited socio-cultural background also make a big difference. A lot of this can be influenced by an individual's social class but, for instance, can come down to how comfortable a person is around authority, how well they manage certain situations, whether or not they are 'trained' to look for and recognise opportunities and also how easily they can affect changes in their environment to suit their needs.

No surprises to many but hard work and effort is also a big factor in success. Gladwell suggests the 'magic number' of 10,000 hours or 10 years is about how much time you need to spend in a particular field to become an expert in whatever it is you want to be successful in.

In essence success is a gift, but it requires opportunity, the ability to recognise opportunity and having the strength and presence of mind to seize them.

A great book and I thoroughly recommend a read.


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