Outliers Summary

BookSummaryClub Blog Outliers Summary


When you look at successful people, there are often multiple reasons as to why they are successful.

They themselves may attribute their success to “dumb-luck”.

However, that is rarely the case. Within his book, “Outliers”, Gladwell lays out the foundation concerning success, and how it can be reached in multiple ways, which include both things within and outside your control.

Outliers: The Story of Success
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Outliers: The Story of Success
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Malcolm Gladwell (Author) – Malcolm Gladwell (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 11/18/2008 (Publication Date) – Hachette Audio (Publisher)

We will review three key points, including:

1) Our Culture celebrates they myth of the “Self-Made Man”

2) World-Class Mastery of anything demands around 10,000 hours of practice

3) If we recognize the reasons behind the uneven playing fields, we can create more opportunities for people to succeed

Lesson 1: Our Culture celebrates the myth of the “Self-Made Man”

The idea of a “Self-Made Man” is a very poplar myth.

When you take the time to break down the story of how someone became successful, it is more about the environment in which a person grew up in which makes the difference.

When you think of people who are the best within their fields, due to this “Self-Made Man” mentality, we like to think it is due to their innate talent.

This is often not the case, but rather a product of them being an “Outlier”.

Lesson 2: World-Class Mastery of anything demands around 10,000 hours of practice

When looking at people who are famous thru history, like Bill Gates or the Beatles, one key ingredient became obvious.

They became an outlier because they practiced for at least 10,000 hours before becoming masters.

When you break this down, it means 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year for 5 years.

Not everyone has this kind of time or opportunity, or the support system to make this happen.

For those who do, though, it is a great path towards having a world-class mastery of your talent.

Lesson 3: If we recognize the reasons behind the uneven playing fields, we can create more opportunities for people to succeed

There are many examples of this idea of an uneven playing field within our society, and they often can be traced back to a simple idea, which is a Cutoff Date.

This is especially relevant in sports.

For example, in Canada, the cut-off date for junior hockey teams each year is January 1st.

This means, a player who is born in late December is placed in the same level of kids who were born in early January of that same year.

In turn, this then means that they are playing against kids who are practically a year older than them.

One way to cut this out would be to have groups of kids, especially at an early age, who are clustered by their birth months.

If this can then be done for hockey, the possibilities are limitless, including other sports activities and school classrooms.

When the Singular Cut-Off date system starts at a young age, it can have a negative impact on a child throughout their entire school career.

This negative start can lead to them performing below their potential, which can cause their foundation to be less stable moving forward in life.

My Personal Takeaway

After spending some time with the book Outliers I must say it has given me some interesting perspectives upon success and the myths around it.

We give so much attention to the “self-made man” and praise them and call them lucky because of their successes and that they have great talents for what they do.

However, the book argues that often its just pure grit and hard work that make people achieve great things (as also discussed in our summary of Grit to Great).

Did this summary excite you?

Book summaries are great, but I also really believe that you will not fully understand the book or the author without trying the real thing. Learn more about this subject by listening to the full book for free via Audible.

Put into Action

  1. Stop believing in the self-made man and talent. Great things can happened to anyone that put in time and effort into anything.
  2. Become an outlier by finding your call in life and master it.
  3. Think about how uneven playing fields affect people in your life, and see if you can change it to their advantage. No-one wants to be the worst player among the best.

Hey, I’m Erik… a Swedish university student, marketing professional, and life-long learner. Here at BookSummaryClub I summarize my favorite non-fiction books into easily digested posts. Hope you like what you’re reading!

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