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Outliers: The Story of Success    by Malcolm Gladwell order for
by Malcolm Gladwell
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Using famous personalities well known to the reader, Gladwell sets out to discover the secrets of people he calls outliers men and women who do things that are out of the ordinary. The examples he uses include geniuses, business tycoons, rock stars, sports heroes, and software programmers. He set out to discover patterns to their secrets of success. Why is one individual highly successful while another with the same potential never manages to rise above the ordinary?

His first example is about pro hockey players. What he discovered is something every soccer mom already knows. The cutoff date of the birth of the players has everything to do with their success. Team members who are older arrive with maturity and physical coordination giving them an advantage over the younger players. They are more likely to be chosen for select teams. They'll have more practice hours, play more games, and get better coaching.

According to Gladwell the birthday rule also applies to the age of a child when enrolled in school. The advantage of being older even though by only months locks a child into patterns of achievement and discouragement that last throughout his life.

Using Bill Gates and the Beatles, Gladwell explains the 10,000 hour rule and how practice is the key to their successes. The 10,000 hour rule refers to the amount of time devoted to practice. The opportunity to practice often means being in the right place at the right time and being able to use the hours you are given to pursue your interest.

Gladwell's conversational style, filled with bits of trivia, makes Outliers a thought-provoking quick read. Like a bestselling novel by your favorite author, you'll have trouble putting it down.

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