After going to Vicki's funeral, I was rearranging stuff in my (Virginia) home office (with the help of an assistant). She found a bag with books I had bought for myself and my number 2 son. I took my books with me on the plane ride back to Louisville. I started the one my friend recommended, and managed to zip halfway through it in my one-connection flight from Richmond to Louisville.
Here it is....
The book is about what makes very unusual people special, or outliers using common statistical lingo. Candidates include the founders of Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and Google, and even The Beatles. Like a few books I read on martial arts (thanks to Van, Rory, and others), this one shoots holes in conventional wisdom.
For instance... Goleman's Emotional Intelligence talks about another important dimension to success. Gladwell speaks about how IQ helps predict probability of greatness... up to a point. Beyond a certain level (below the IQ of many of my peers...) any additional IQ points don't help. Other "orthogonal" abilities however come into play. He gives many specific examples, and discusses the research of Terman who followed the lives of a cadre of IQ "geniuses" from grade school on.
Another interesting chapter goes into how "unfair" advantages come into play for predicting greatness. You Canadian hockey fans will be shocked at one of the more important predictors of whether or not some Canadian will make it to the NHL. (I won't spoil it...)
The particular chapter worth discussing here however is "The 10,000 - hour rule."
A common theme that appears throughout Outliers is the "10,000-Hour Rule", based on a study by Anders Ericsson. Gladwell claims that greatness requires enormous time, using the source of The Beatles' musical talents and Gates' computer savvy as examples. The Beatles performed live in Hamburg, Germany over 1,200 times from 1960 to 1964, amassing more than 10,000 hours of playing time, therefore meeting the 10,000-Hour Rule. Gladwell asserts that all of the time The Beatles spent performing shaped their talent, "so by the time they returned to England from Hamburg, Germany, 'they sounded like no one else. It was the making of them.'" Gates met the 10,000-Hour Rule when he gained access to a high school computer in 1968 at the age of 13, and spent 10,000 hours programming on it.
Time to get on with that Sanchin, eh?