Audiobooks Outliers: The Story of Success – Andy-palmer.co.uk

Outliers: The Story of Success In This Stunning New Book, Malcolm Gladwell Takes Us On An Intellectual Journey Through The World Of Outliers The Best And The Brightest, The Most Famous And The Most Successful He Asks The Question What Makes High Achievers Different His Answer Is That We Pay Too Much Attention To What Successful People Are Like, And Too Little Attention To Where They Are From That Is, Their Culture, Their Family, Their Generation, And The Idiosyncratic Experiences Of Their Upbringing Along The Way He Explains The Secrets Of Software Billionaires, What It Takes To Be A Great Soccer Player, Why Asians Are Good At Math, And What Made The Beatles The Greatest Rock Band Well, it s official Malcolm Gladwell has run out of things to say.His prose is still lively and entertaining, and he maintains his famous I look at things differently than anyone else attitude, but Outliers has so little meat that it would haveappropriately been published as a magazine article.I think that the main value of reading Gladwell is that he plants a seed in your brain that encourages you to seek unconventional explanations for familiar phenomena That s a very healthy thing, Well, it s official Malcolm Gladwell has run out of things to say.His prose is still lively and entertaining, and he maintains his famous I look at things differently than anyone else attitude, but Outliers has so little meat that it would haveappropriately been published as a magazine article.I think that the main value of reading Gladwell is that he plants a seed in your brain that encourages you to seek unconventional explanations for familiar phenomena That s a very healthy thing, and I m not trying to disparage its significance But if you re looking for a book that provides meaningful insights, Outliers isn t it Gladwell argues that success is tightly married to opportunity and time on task He states that it takes approximately 10,000 hours to master something and that gives me comfort It helps me feel better about my many failures at initial attempts to master things like glazing pottery, algebra, Salsa dancing, skiing and sewing to name a few I kept thinking, I ve just got to put inhours if I want to do better While I can see a different way of spinning the data provided to support Gl Gladwell argues that success is tightly married to opportunity and time on task He states that it takes approximately 10,000 hours to master something and that gives me comfort It helps me feel better about my many failures at initial attempts to master things like glazing pottery, algebra, Salsa dancing, skiing and sewing to name a few I kept thinking, I ve just got to put inhours if I want to do better While I can see a different way of spinning the data provided to support Gladwell s argument, I didn t care In a rare moment, I found myself not wanting to argue Instead, I found myself reflecting on things that have felt like lucky opportunities in my own life This reflection was very humbling Moreover, I felt the text tugging at the need for greater equity What could all the people with limited opportunities do if given greater opportunities Think Darfur How many people who might have come up with the cure for pancreatic cancer been forced to spend their time standing in lines waiting for clean water or food My own personal experience as a teacher of refugees reflects Gladwell s primary thesis Many of my refugee students are pre literate They have not been given the opportunity to gain a formal education As a result, there are many well intended, but misinformed people who place these students in special education courses or deem their I.Q low, diminishing their opportunities evenThe students I teach are hungry for skills and spend hours outside of class practicing They make huge gains despite earlier opportunities denied them While many will not go on to big colleges out of high school, I feel like given enough opportunity and time they could make it there Sadly, many have families who depend on them to work to help financially support the family Yet, another limited opportunity to spend time focused on developing skills In the past week, I have shared Gladwell s thesis with my students We have applied the 10,000 hours to master a task to reading and writing I remind students that if we don t get our 10,000 hours this year together, they must continue on their own I remind them that it IS possible to move forward if they are focused and keep adding hours of work to their reading and writing We even write on the board how many hours left before we are masters 2 hours down, only 9,998 left to go Friday, I had a student from Somalia smile and ask, So it s not true that white people are smarter than black Africans They just getchances to read Imagine my pleasure when I could respond, YES That s correct You are just as smart as any white kid in this school It s just that some of them have been reading for years and you are just getting started Thank you for your work Galdwell, it is salient in today s political conversation surrounding education especially for our most vulnerable students who have been given the fewest opportunities When I think about Malcolm Gladwell, the first phrase that comes to mind is less than meets the eye At first glance, his work seems thoroughly researched, even visionary at times Beginning with a few maverick, counter intuitive insights, he often ends with an affirmation of consensus, but it is a consensus that has been broadened by investigation and enriched by nuance.On second look, however, I m no longer sure any of this is true What first appeared to be new insights are nothing but fami When I think about Malcolm Gladwell, the first phrase that comes to mind is less than meets the eye At first glance, his work seems thoroughly researched, even visionary at times Beginning with a few maverick, counter intuitive insights, he often ends with an affirmation of consensus, but it is a consensus that has been broadened by investigation and enriched by nuance.On second look, however, I m no longer sure any of this is true What first appeared to be new insights are nothing but familiar landmarks, previously unrecognizable because of the adoption of a deliberately mannered perspective even the once apparent breadth and nuance now seem triumphs of language over logic, the apparent inevitability of his arguments an illusion conjured by the spell of his limpid prose.Take one small example from Outliers With a flurry of standardized test statistics, Gladwell makes the case that the traditional summer vacation however rewarding it may be for the middle class is just not working for the poor I ll concede the point, for the sake of argument, but any high school teacher will tell you how suspect conclusions drawn from such statistics can be He then presents a sustained anecdote about a successful all year round secondary school in a poor neighborhood His conclusion We should go to school year round Sounds reasonable, right But what about aobvious solution as a society we could decide to work together so that summer can be a learning experience for the poor by instituting a myriad of basketball camps, music camps, art camps, chess camps, traditional summer camps, etc., held at schools, community centers, and city parks, and staffed by college students, artists and teachers from the neighborhood Gladwell often reminds me of the last panel of a Dilbert cartoon two panels of plain speaking criticism, followed by one panel of resignation And no real insight, no real hope for the future I know, you don t think you have the time and there are other andimportant books to read at the moment, but be warned, you do need to read this book.There are a number of ways I can tell a book will be good one of those ways is if Graham has recommended it to me how am I going to cope without our lunches together, mate And there is basically one way for me to I know that I ve really enjoyed a book, and that is if I keep telling people about it over and over again Well, not since Pred I know, you don t think you have the time and there are other andimportant books to read at the moment, but be warned, you do need to read this book.There are a number of ways I can tell a book will be good one of those ways is if Graham has recommended it to me how am I going to cope without our lunches together, mate And there is basically one way for me to I know that I ve really enjoyed a book, and that is if I keep telling people about it over and over again Well, not since Predictably Irrationalalso recommended to me by Graham have I gone on and on about a book to people First to Ruth over lunch, then to mum on the phone, and then the kids after they had just gotten out of bed in the early hours of the afternoon my poor children, I ve told them virtually the entire book.Now it is your turn.As a culture we tend to believe that people who are successful people like Mozart, Bill Gates, The Beatles all are self made men and have risen to the summit of achievement on the basis of some incredibly special power they have and that we do not It is a comforting thought, in some ways If we have not done as well we are hardly to blame, because we just didn t have that certain something We don t have the thing that sets them people apart from the crowd And in this cult of celebrity we even get a chance to live vicariously in the reflection of their glory Perhaps we can never all be Lady Di, at least, not in public but we can all attempt suicide with a pate knife and get into colonic irrigation John Safran talks somewhere about a guy he knows saying to him that the only reason John made it and he didn t was because John was Jewish John then talks about how much hard work he had to put in to becoming successful, none of which relied on the mythical leg up he would have gotten from some secret Jewish conspiracy This book isn t about Lady Di, but it is about a series of biographies of people who have become incredibly successful The biographies are generally told twice The first time in a way that confirms all our prejudices about self made men and then in a way that makes sense of the success in ways we may find muchuncomfortable I really struggled with this book I loved every minute of it, but I still felt remarkably challenged by it It was very hard not to think of my own life while reading this book And this did not make me feel comfortable.I guess we are all fairly predictable, and one of the things that makes us especially predictable is that we generally like to have our prejudices confirmed We buy books that tell us over and over again what we already know and believe The Left Behind series is just one such example, as are most self help books And I m as guilty of this as anyone else But there is a much better sensation we can get from a book, although this is muchrare It is when the person you are reading starts telling you the deeper reasons why your beliefs are valid and not just based on prejudice I have always believed talent is another although, less apparent and all too vague word for hard work I ve also believed that we are products of a range of different variables too complex to know in any real detail This book confirms those prejudices.First he talks about ice hockey and a fascinating fact about the birthdays of the best players They are all born at around the same time of the year It is as if there is a cut off date for when you will be a professional ice hockey player and, in fact, there is The short version is that if you are born on the wrong side of the date they use to group kids into age levels you are likely to be a year younger than the other kids you are playing ice hockey with and therefore a year smaller than them too That is going to make them look like they are better players than you are and they will be too A year at 10 is a huge difference, a huge advantage And then we compound that advantage, by giving the older kidspractice,experience in games and thenexperience andpractice until there is no way the kid who happened to be born on the wrong side of the cut off date has any chance of catching up.The point he makes strongly here and repeatedly in the first part of the book is that there are other factors to success that arethan just natural ability In fact, he does not believe in natural ability only in effort and time Essentially he shows that if you put in 10,000 hours on any task you will be highly proficient at that task Innate ability does not exist and ability is actually a function of effort expended This is both liberating and incredibly challenging Liberating because success is related to the effort you put in and I think you should believe that is true even if it isn t it is the myth of Sisyphus, the only way we can really cope with the world is to believe our efforts have meaning Challenging, because ultimately we are responsible for our own success as we are directly responsible for how much effort we are prepared to put in.The second great theme of this book is that where you come from matters The culture that we are from has a remarkable impact on the rest of our lives For example, if you are from a working class background you are much less likely to approach life with an attitude of entitlement When people in authority speak to you, you are probably less likely to question them In fact, you might believe you should defer to them You are probablylikely to believe rules exist for a reason and that rules can t be changed and can t be moved People from the middle class are muchlikely to see rules as things that can be shaped or changed or ignored to make their lifeeasy or rewarding Having come from the working class, even a particularly radical end of it, I can still see aspects of this deference in my own character and this was perhaps the most challenging part of the book for me.The other challenging bit was the part about the Hatfields and McCoys As a Northern Irish boy, even if I m not as obsessed with honour as I might have been, this does make sense of things I have wondered about for a long time The solution might be a little too neat, but the Irish, particularly the Northern Irish, are far too likely to feuds that are intractable and recognising that that might have cultural roots beyond the excuse of religion is utterly fascinating to me.The lessons of this book can be put into a brief sentence success depends on a series of cultural and other factors that are mostly beyond your control however, the thing that is totally within your control about success is how much effort you put in And theeffort you put in thelikely you will be successful They are directly proportional and we should all praise work as the key thing that really makes us human.I loved this book I noticed that Ginnie points to a pilot who disputes some of what Gladwell says about culture and plane crashes, but this is a minor point His bigger point about culture and plane crashes still stands and is remarkable If you have kids, read this book it will give you hints on how to bring them up with perhaps a modest sense of entitlement it could make all of the difference Ginnie also has a link to an article with a photo of the man himself I was saying to the kids yesterday that I would give a couple of toes to look nearly as cool as he does, but I think it would takethan just toes.Look, what can I say Read this book, it is life altering Well, maybe not life altering, but a delight nonetheless

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