I absolutely loved the book Outliers. It explored what REALLY makes the most successful Americans successful. In the process he uncovers some startling truths (or at least theories) about human nature. Among the things that I found most interesting:
I don’t think this book changes the world or solves world hunger but it does challenge the way you think about human nature. I highly recommend it to anyone who is introspective about these kinds of topics.
A note on Gladwell more generally:
I was convinced to read Outliers by a friend of mine. I was very reluctant because I thought both Tipping Point and Blink provided a very narrow view of complex problems. When I mean by this is that Gladwell has a tendency to point out one possible solution to a problem and not allow for other possibilities. This is clear when he discusses crime in NYC in Tipping Point. He cites a couple of things that he thinks caused it, gives reasons why and then doesn’t discuss any alternative possibilities. Being a bit academic, I like to name the other possibilities and reasons I do or do not think they are possible. Unfortunately, Gladwell continues this trend in Outliers. This time though, the scope of the analysis demands an arbitrary narrowing. It would be too difficult to discuss all of the other theories about why Asians are better at math, Hockey players are born in the first half of the year and Bill Joy, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are all within a year or two of age.