Just finished reading “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. Good book.
Gladwell is great at putting his point across. So when I saw the book at my local library on “a fast track 7 day” loan, I picked it up. Also read it over the weekend.
“Success” according to Gladwell is not only a function of one individual’s grit and determination but is related to a whole bunch of “preparation” that goes in by family,culture,history,date of birth and so on. I liked the analysis about math ability and Asian languages where he claims that Asian kids do better in math because the language allows you to deal efficiently with remembering numbers. Try repeating 2,3,5,6,9,7,1 and if you basically think in English – you might have a hard time. However, thinking in Chinese or East Asian languages should give you a leg up as each number can be pronounced more quickly. Therefore the total word length is shorter and easier to remember in these languages.
I wish Malcolm Gladwell had done more with the takeaways from the book. So here are my three takeaways:
- Follow your heart – if you can put 10,000 hours behind something you’ll be an expert. I now know why academia ensures that you spend more than 10,000 hours between your PhD and getting published from it. Naturally, you need to love what you do, it’s not really only the 10,000 hours.
- Understand your own culture better-in the context of the culture you are working in. I now know the speaker in the US is expected to make everything clear and the listener takes what is said, literally. The Gladwell discussion about Korean air crashes and Hofstede is riveting.
- Embrace who you are -your background ,family history,culture – and success is waiting. The Gladwell discussion of the clothing business and East European immigrants in New York is fascinating.