by Malcolm Gladwell

“What truly distinguishes their histories is not their extraordinary talent but their extraordinary opportunities.” This quote from chapter two of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is one of two that has stuck with me the most, the other being “Outliers are those who have been given opportunities – and who have had the strength and presence of mind to capture them” as read at the end of chapter nine. Throughout this powerful book, Gladwell conveyed the various factors that lead to success such as the time of year that you were born, opportunity, community, among others. I gathered that the most important factor behind success is opportunity as seen in the stories behind Bill Joy, Bill Gates and The Beatles. These three outliers were beneficiaries of various opportunities. Regardless of how much of a genius you are or how high your IQ is, opportunities matter more in your journey to success. Growing up, we often hear the saying “practise makes perfect.” Gladwell reiterated this in the chapter titled “The 10,000 - Hour Rule”. It is shown how Bill Joy seized various opportunities to accumulate 10,000 hours of coding practise while in college, and also how professional musicians increase their rehearsal time with every passing week as opposed to amateurs who practised for the same few hours each week. Gladwell depicted through these various outliers that in order for you to be successful in a skill, an immense amount of time (10,000 hours) needs to be put in. In the book blurb, Malcolm Gladwell mentioned “Outliers will change the way you think about your own life story.” More often than not we see legends and are in awe of how successful they have been in their different fields and wish that we too could be that way. Through reading this book, Malcolm Gladwell shows us that success is about what we do, who we are, the opportunities we seize and the amount of effort we put in. We can also be successful just like the legends we look up to. Reading Outliers has definitely changed the way I think about my life story. I’d recommend this book to everyone over and over again. Definitely a must read.


Chelimo Koitaba

Rating: 5 Recommend


As it first states on the cover of the novel, Outliers is a story about success. Through looking at the psychology, economics, and politics behind success, Malcolm Gladwell forces readers to question the infamous quotes that comment on success as a level reached by those who only work hard. Through theories such as the “ten thousand hours” rule and delving into the true reason why Asians are better in math than other ethnic groups around the world, Outliers tells a less explored version of success. While many may be strayed by the non-fiction formatting of the book and how the novel contains many statistics and graphs, the way Gladwell strings his words together piques the reader as if they were reading a mystery novel. As readers venture into the depths of the book they find the answers to questions they never knew they wanted to ask and discovered the deeper causes behind what are known to be “spontaneous events” such as plane crashes. Furthermore, readers will be shocked to discover how uncontrollable things in their lives such as where they are born, when their birthday is, and where their parents work. I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who wants to succeed in life. It does not necessarily teach you HOW to succeed but shows you the WAYS you are already succeeding, and furthermore, how to become AWARE of things that may be holding you back to change your lifestyle accordingly. Outliers is a book like no other. Fascinating, revolutionary, and an absolute witty piece of writing. There were surprises around every corner. I have greatly enjoyed exploring the success stories of our world, and I truly hope whoever endeavours in this book next will feel the same way.

Mirengeri Diallo

Rating: 5 Recommend



This book has transformed the way I look at successs stories. On top of all the grit and endless hard work, there are conditions in order to succeed that are almost always overlooked. Opportunity: without a chance to showcase the work you’ve put in, no one will know your name. Through the stories of Bill Joy, Bill Gates, endless enterprenuers and sportsmen, and successful lawyers, such as Joe Flom, we see that being born in the right place at the right time really does increase your chances of success. In order to become a profession at what you do, 10,000 hours must be put into the craft. Then take all the opportunities flung at you.This book manages to make legends into relatable anecdotes that paint the picture of what it takes to become the best of the best. Finally: your legacy. The amount of lives you touch will increase the amount of lips that speak your name, even in centuries to come. What impact you make will forge your success and make your existence last way beyond your years. To conclude, this book is an amazing read due to it’s fantastic way of narrating and the author’s frank facts and statements. Definitely recommend.

Amy Migunda

Rating: 4 Interesting



In Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell sets out to explain the various factors that lead to mastery and renown. The book itself is structured as a series of case studies that span different cultures and different time periods, but that all relate to a few central theses and theories. For Gladwell, success is not simply the product of a powerful personality or a high IQ. Instead, successful individuals often thrive thanks to the right combination of hard work, community support, and meaningful opportunity.Outliers begins by considering the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, a small community with remarkably low incidence of health problems such as heart disease. After this brief introductory section, Gladwell considers the first of the major factors—personal opportunity—behind his theory of success. He shows that completely arbitrary factors, such as day and year of birth, can determine opportunities to practice and achieve excellence. However, he also argues that expected measures of brilliance, such as IQ, are less important than influences such as class background, parenting styles, and work habits in determining an individual's future.Where Gladwell's "Opportunity" section considers remarkable individuals such as programmer Bill Joy, software mogul Bill Gates, physicist Robert Oppenheimer, and unsung intellectual Chris Langan, Gladwell's next section shifts emphasis: in "Legacy." Gladwell argues that one's culture of origin—and some of the completely random circumstances that it presents—can determine success or failure. The discussion that takes place in "Legacy" addresses the cultural, social, and psychological roots of family feuds, airplane crashes, and mathematical aptitude. For Gladwell, the society of one's ancestors—whether those ancestors herded sheep in rural England or worked a rice paddy in rural China—can determine one's practices and preferences even in the present day.To support his theses in the most personal manner possible, Gladwell uses the final section of Outliers, "A Jamaican Story," to show that the forces of culture and chance that have been analyzed throughout his book shaped the lives of his grandmother, his mother, and himself.Gladwell’s story in this book is very intriguing and fascinating to read. This book plays a crucial part in helping youth understand the right meaning of success which is opposed to what many of us think. The presence of social media has been misleading many youths and making them wish for good life only through looking at the final image that those who have earned the success allow them to see. Take it from music for example, many youths, in my opinion, think it’s not that hard to make it to the top of the game. All they say is, “you just need a talent and good timing.” However, we see so many musicians fail to reach their goals due to things like lacking discipline or not knowing how to use art as a source of entertaining and not just source of money. But these are the things we will never hear being said out loud because social media is a place where only good things need to be portrayed. Gladwell’s message is very powerful and helps youth generation to understand what it takes to reach to the top. This also enables youth to become leaders among others by giving the right directions to the last destination. I would definitely encourage anyone to read this book because it’s all pouring the right information and helping us to understand the world we are living in a better perspective.

Evance Henrico

Rating: 5 Recommend



“Outliers are those who have been given opportunities – and who have had the strength and presence of mind to sieze them. “ This simple quote summarizes my entire experience with the book. This book is simply a must read. In the past I read the book about three times but never managed to get to the end and realize this beautiful fact. For a long time we have all been distracted by the brilliance of others and so often we think that they are just one of the few, and truth is - they are. And so as we praise their successes we seldom take time to understand the intricate details that played a huge role in their success. We never see the Opportunities they had, the great luck and good fortune that came their way, we never see how their generational antecedents and cultural ethnicity come into play. We simply don’t and so we believe that success is for the lucky few, but what this book seeks to prove is that indeed, if there was away for us to realize how all this factors come into play in the life of an individual, then perhaps we would have more outliers and more successful people. “The world could be so much richer than the one we have settled for.” Two of the most influential factors that inform my values and guide my desires, are the roles that Opportunity / Luck and Hardwork have to play in being successful. First is Opportunity which goes hand in hand with Luck. When given the right chance to succeed do you succeed? Well yes and no, but we will go with yes for now. In order for Marita to have a possible chance at breaking out from her current life cycle of poverty in the Bronx and beat her wealthier counterparts, she must have the right opportunity presented to her. This was presented at her school Kipp which administered an education philosophy that exerted her beyond what she could handle at her age, for the Big shot at breaking out. Bill Gates was fortunate and extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to program on time sharing devices in junior high, an opportunity that Bill Joy only got to experience in university. The Beatles had Hamburg. These opportunities gave them enough time to build their craft and get “10,000 hours” , the lucky number for total mastery in anything. But the right opportunity could come, but you are not ready. You are not ready to work hard and make sacrifices to make the most out of that opportunity. Only when the right opportunities meet the right people, at the right time will successful people emerge. And once the opportunity comes your way, then you must be ready to work hard, like the many characters in this book, and catch your break. This is just a snippet of this wonderful book, and I could go on, it is a must read.

Ryan Nduma

Rating: 5 Recommend



Malcolm Gladwell begins by stating the purpose of Outliers. “It’s not enough to ask what successful people are like, but how it is that we can unravel the logic behind who succeeds and who doesn’t”. Outliers explores people who have done or (like Bill Gates) are doing things that many would regard as extraordinary. Gladwell tells the stories of business tycoons, the Beatles, and computer programmers. Throughout the book, he seeks to answer one question – how does someone stand out and what assumptions do we make about this success? Many of the ideas presented in the book are challenging to grapple with and can be uncomfortable. For instance, after you cross a certain skill threshold, your abilities won’t help you. The month you’re born in matters and can determine whether you make it to the National Hockey League or not. Asians are good at math because where you come from matters [in a good and bad way]. On that last point, Gladwell explores the non-stop and painstaking labour needed to cultivate rice in East Asia as many people have done for thousands of years. He contrasts this with Western habits to try and draw out a conclusion for Asian math prowess. Without spoiling the plotline, Gladwell travels his journey explaining success through captivating and engaging stories. The book, therefore, remains interesting cover to cover. My favourite part of the book has to be the 10,000-hour rule. Basically, it takes 10,000 hours of focused practice to get super good at a skill or anything. Reflecting on talents like Mozart, Gladwell shows that “successful” men and women work extremely hard to get successful. It is not innate, and while some external circumstances affect the ability to get 10000 focused hours on anything, it does help to be committed and hardworking. Another benefit of the 10,000 hour rule is that it’s never too late to start. The key thing is to start. Malcolm Gladwell has been described as, “a cerebral and jaunty writer, with an unusual gift for making the complex seem simple and for seeking common-sense explanations for many of the apparent mysteries, coincidences and problems of the everyday.” [The Guardian]. Basically, he makes even the most difficult of things seem easy or simple. The benefit is that his writing remains inspiring and sparks a fervour in the reader. The disbenefit, is that the light sparked is soon dimmed by the reality that Gladwell over does it. He oversimplifies things which risks misleading the reader. Many of the ideas he tackles are complex social phenomena and yet, he tries to fit them into neat boxes. Moreover, his ideas are seldom his and are built on the research of others. Yet, he rarely questions that research.

Arthur Ddamulira

Rating: 5 Recommend