“No one who can rise before dawn three hundred and sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.”- Chinese Proverb
Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers is thin in terms of pages but not short on great and entertaining bits. It explores the phenomenon of human outliers, i.e. individuals or groups that stand out significantly from the accepted norm. Ironically, at the end of the book, Gladwell hopes to have persuaded you that there are no such things as human outliers.
His premise is simple: great success comes to those who are born at the right time, brought up in the right environment and are hardworking. Having a high IQ or an innate talent helps but one just have to be smart or talented enough to be successful.
He weaves interesting tales about Canadian hockey players, Silicon Valley technoprenuers, The Beatles, Asian math whizzes, Korean Airlines, among others, to make his point quite convincingly. And he tells a pretty personal story at the end of the book on the journey of a hardworking Jamaican girl who was born at the right time and brought up in the right environment who eventually became his mother.
Maybe I was reading Outliers through a pair of slanty Chinese eyes because I find some of his conclusions as nothing more than common sense, or at least, common sense that I grew up with. It seems painlessly simple but every Asian that I know, knows that no success can come without hard work (and a little bit of luck) and the right roots.