Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Can 'The World's Most Influencial Thinker' Help Us Succeed? (The answer is far more surprising, and more fascinating, than we could ever have imagined)

Do we really need another book about success?

In his book 'Outliers' Thomas Gladwell defines success as '...this perennially interesting question; and there are so many different answers depending on who you ask and when you ask them. And that is why we keep returning to it. If there was some simple little algorithm we could apply, it wouldn't capture our imagination in the same way.'

The Economist says 'A compelling read with an important message; by understanding better what makes people successful we should be able to produce more successful (and happy )people'

William Leith of the Evening Standard adds 'It will make you feel happy. It will make you realise that if you're not successful it might not be your fault'

Time says 'Makes geniuses look a bit less special, and the rest of us a bit more so'

Gladwell argues that there is something profoundly wrong with the way we make sense of success. In fact, you may never look at some sports in the same way again. 'Outliers' is a book you won't want to put down. It's easy to read and Gladwell goes to great lengths to evidence his conclusions. Many times I found myself reading past my daily cut-off point just to get to the next chapter and the conclusion of his next revelation!

I first discovered the book from a close friend. We often discussed careers over the years and this was one such occasion. We had been discussing the length of time and the amount of work we had been putting into our present careers when my friend remembered a figure from Malcolm of 10,000 hours (or ten years) to become expert enough in your chosen field before a breakthrough to success! This number seemed about right (ask my wife!) What's more, Gladwell cites many examples from sports teams, software programmers, and rock stars to name but a few!

Before you can become an expert in your chosen field, you need the opportunity to learn how to be an expert - and this takes time. Many people look for a quick solution to bypass the amount of time it takes to succeed, but this is only part of the equation as Gladwell skillfully explains.

'Outliers' by Malcolm Gladwell discusses the eternal question of why some people achieve so much more than others. The answer is far more surprising, and more fascinating, than we could ever have imagined.