What I’m reading: The Outliers

I have recently pledged to read 50 books this year. Why 50? No particular reason. I just assumed I can possibly push myself to finish a book per week.  The sad thing is, I haven’t read a single book this year aside from the TMR book.  My books are already piling up and I don’t want to regret buying them.

So now, I am reading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers.  This book has been highly recommended by my boss’s boss a few years back.  I have actually forgot it until a friend mentioned in again to me about two weeks ago.

Basically, the book tries to explain what makes some people become extremely successful and eventually become outliers in the society.   Who are these people? They are the likes of Bill Gates and The Beattles.  I am just halfway through it and here are some of the interenting insights/concepts I got:

  • The Matthew Effect.  Malcolm tries to explain the impact of the time when someone is born.  An example he quoted was in the amateur hockey in Canada.  During the time when students are of age (say 10 years ond) to start auditioning for their hockey teams in schools, the cut-off in Canada would be the Calendar year. This means that, say this year, the qualified students to try-out are those born from January to December of 2002.  At that time, there is a huge difference between the physical built of a child born in January vs someone born in December.  The one born in January is technically 1 year older than the latter.  Hence, those who succeed in those try-outs would be those students born in January to March.  This is proven by getting all the birthdates of all the successful hockey players, and I think more than 80% is born between January to March.  I think this might be useful for me in the future. How? I would most likely plan my child to be born either July or August which is the start of the school year here in the Philippines. Unless of course, I move to a different country.
  • 10,000 is the magic number.  It is amazing how Malcolm explained how successful people in different fields were able to estimate their total hours of rehearsals/training to a minimum of 10,000 hours.  According to him, it has been seen that among the best musicians for example, those who tremendously excel are those who really spend disproportionate time rehearsing and mastering their craft.  As a child, the span of my attention was very little.  That’s why I easily get lazy when I enter Piano and Gymnastics classes.  I am neither a pianist nor a gymnast now, probably because I was not forced to continue with my class. Everytime I would tell my mom that I no longer want to continue, she would simply understand me.  Of course, I appreciate that, too.  I was never forced to doing anything as a child, except maybe to study well.  But as I think about it now, I get really jealous of pianists and gymnasts.  There’s always this “what if” question on my head.  Now, I would want my kids to also have these classes, and I will probably be a little more strict than my parents – just a tiny little bit.  I would also probably watch musicales, concerts and performances so that they can better appreciate those lessons – something that I did not experience as a child.


So far, that’s all I have.  Maybe I can update this post once I finish the book.


Have you already read the book? What are your favorite parts? Share it here!



~ by youknowicanseeyou on March 16, 2012.

4 Responses to “What I’m reading: The Outliers”

  1. Was reading the pdf version but haven’t finished it yet. Thanks for the nudge. 😀

  2. I first saw this book on my boss’ table. Someone gave it to him as a Xmas gift if I’m not mistaken. I wanted to purchase a copy too, but for some reason, I always ended up with another book whenever I drop by National Bookstore. Perhaps after I finish my current read, I have to purchase it already. Seeing your post is perhaps a sign that calls me to buy it.

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