Monday, 17 January 2011


I’ve read two books of Malcolm Gladwell before, and was quite enthusiastic about them. I didn’t need any readers’ reviews to decide whether to buy Outliers or not. I am not going to recommend Malcolm Gladwell as an ultimate authority on whatever topic. It takes a lot to impress me that much and so far not many writers have managed. But he usually has a point and his books are quite entertaining because of the case examples and research he quotes.

So I set off to read Outliers: The Story of Success. As expected, the reading was entertaining with all the examples and case studies. I read, and I read, and I read, until page 161. That’s when I stopped. Totally lost interest in the book. Switched to something else. Huh?!

I’ll tell you what happened (now I understand it myself). Up to page 161 Gladwell talks about the conditions for the great success derived from his observation of successful people.  Three things so far: practice 10.000 hours in what they became successful at; be born at the right time (which is different for different professions) and grow up in the right environment. 

And that’s where I stopped. I don’t have an ambition to become the next Bill Gates or anything like that. But I do like the idea of becoming above average successful. And at the page 161 of Outliers my hope of getting there was fainting. I don’t doubt growing up in the right environment. My parents have geared me up beyond most people’s dreams. But it seems there’s nothing I’ve practiced for 10.000 hours. And I’m not motivated to figure out whether or not I was born at the right time (year, month, day). You see, I just don’t want to have a proof that I won’t make it.

Ok, ok, I know – there’s much more Gladwell talks about and it might not be discouraging at all. So I should stop being afraid of it and just read on. But it seems my self-confidence is more of an illusion…

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