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  • Julianna Sweeney

Outliers | Malcolm Gladwell

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell takes a close look at the highly successful members of society. What in particular affords them the ability to earn such high standing? He believes that the reasons behind such success can be distilled into the following reasons:

  1. When you were born

  2. Your background (upbringing, heritage, etc.)

  3. Being in the right place at the right time

  4. Having the skillset to take advantage of a good opportunity

He exemplifies how social standing does not matter nearly as much as attitude and he makes the point that anyone, in any circumstance (i.e. you) can achieve great success... IF you are willing to understand where you come from, work hard for what it is you want and not only recognize, but take advantage of every good opportunity that you are presented with.

With his thorough look into the lives of some of societies greatest outliers - The Beatles, Bill Joy, Mozart, etc. - as well as intriguing anecdotes and cultural case studies, Gladwell's writing has widened my perspective on what it takes to be successful.


  • Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good

  • Those three things – autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward – are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying

  • Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from

  • Achievement is talent plus preparation

  • No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich

  • In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours

  • Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig

  • We overlook just how large a role we all play–and by ‘we’ I mean society–in determining who makes it and who doesn’t

  • Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities

  • Timing is a critical component of success and opportunity

  • Legacy often drives our behavior

  • Practical intelligence is more important to achieving success than analytical intelligence


If you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires.


All in all, this was a fantastic book. I learned a lot and can confidently say that I have a better understanding of how to actively pursue my own success. Whether you're looking for an informative read, some guidance or just a new perspective, this is the book for you.

Sending love always,


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