Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Just Finished: Outliers


I just finished reading Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. This is his third book, and I have read both of his earlier ones: Blink and The Tipping Point. They all have been on the New York Times bestseller list for weeks and weeks. The Tipping Point was actually one of the very first non-fiction books that I read for fun, and I loved it! It opened up the world of non-fiction reading for me, and now that's mostly what I read. Outliers is basically a more focused look at one of the points he brings up in one of his earlier books, which is that people who are outstanding in one way or another are not that way purely because of their own doing –it is a result of the circumstances in which they happen to be surrounded by. I partially agree with the point he makes, but I think you could make a pretty strong argument against it as well. Overall it was fairly enlightening –but not quite as astounding as his first two. Below are some of the quotes that stood out to me:


"Knowledge of a boy's IQ is of little help if you are faced with a formful of clever boys."
"The relationship between success and IQ works only up to a point. Once someone has reached an IQ of somewhere around 120, having additional IQ points does not seem to translate into any measurable real-world advantage."

"No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich." [Chinese proverb]

" 'The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert—in anything,' writes the neurologist Daniel Levitin. 'In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again. Of course, this doesn't address why some people get more out of their practice sessions than others do. But no one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.' "



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