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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Are you an outlier?

    Malcolm Gladwell is prepared to blow your mind.

    In “”Outliers: The Story of Success,”” Gladwell uncovers the truth about how anybody gets ahead in this country. Long gone is the fiction of the American dream where everyone can make it; instead Gladwell tells the story of how those in the spotlight have lucked out.

    Part one of his book suggests that the people at the top of their fields – athletes, geniuses, lawyers, billionaires – are only there because of a series of chance opportunities, 10,000 hours of practice and being born at the right time.

    One of the examples that encompasses a lot of what Gladwell is saying is Bill Gates. Computer genius Gates went to one of the only high schools in the country lucky enough to have a computer and when the funding for it ran out, he just so happened to be offered computer use at a local company. When that didn’t work out, Gates lived within walking distance of the University of Washington, who let him use the computer. All that computer usage amounted to 10,000 hours, the magic number to become good at something. Gladwell also says there’s something to the fact that Gates and fellow computer mogul Steve Jobs were born the same year.

    Part two goes even further, arguing that going generations back on your family tree still has some influence on how you turn out, additionally reducing your participation in your future.

    It’s incredible, and Gladwell offers countless examples of these ideas: hockey players, the Beatles, Mozart, John D. Rockefeller. It’s not that these people don’t rock at what they do, obviously they’re very talented. But what Gladwell is saying is that without the help of quite a few random occurrences, these people we worship as those who knew how to succeed would’ve been nothing, just like everyone else.

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