Leading Blog






11.07.08

Outliers: Understanding the Context of Success

A lot has been written of late about superior performance that often sets conventional thinking on its head. We often assume genius and success is the result of natural gifts and if you don’t have it, then you don’t have it. But research is demonstrating that great performance is more about what we do after we are born than we ever thought. People don’t rise from nothing.
Outliers


In his new book Outliers (men and women who do things out of the ordinary), Malcolm Gladwell writes:
We pretend that success is exclusively a matter of individual merit. But there’s nothing in any of the histories we’ve looked at so far to suggest things are that simple. These are stories, instead, about people who were given a special opportunity to work really hard and seized it, and who happened to come of age at a time when that extraordinary effort was rewarded by the rest of society. Their success was not just of their own making. It was a product of the world in which they grew up.
Gladwell provides countless stories and examples of successful people—Bill Joy, Bill Gates, the Beatles, Chris Langan and others—and draws interesting connections about their success. Successful people must be considered within the context of their culture and the people that surrounded them. “The values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.”
The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.
If you look hard enough, there is a pattern of achievement. It’s a fascinating read.

You can see a video of Gladwell’s presentation at the 2007 New Yorker Conference 2012: Stories from the Near Future.

Related Interest:
  What is the Secret of Great Performers?

Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:14 PM
| Comments (0) | Education , Learning , Personal Development



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