I first read this book by Malcolm Gladwell a few years ago and just recently listened to it as I drove between appointments. I was spurred to revisit it by recently reading The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle which addresses many of the same observations, but delving into the biological/chemical aspects of talent development.
This book has become famous for the 10,000 hour rule. The idea is that to become proficient in developing a talent an individual needs to practice 10,000 hours. Environment and opportunities also apply, but these assist with the achievement of the 10,000 hours.
Classic examples are the Beatles spending time in Germany in their formative years where they played live up to 8 – 10 hours a day. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Bill Joy were all born at the right time so they were the right age as technology was read for the development of the Internet, Microsoft and Apple. Joe Flom practicing law for years and taking cases that the larger firms did not want to hanlde and becoming very proficient at them. Then years later when these types of cases became “the thing”, his law firm was the one to hire due to their experience and track record.
There are numerous other examples in the book including the KIPP schools also mentioned in The Talent Code. The KIPP schools defy many of the traditional ideas about education and turn out exceptional students from low income/proverty households.
This is a very interesting and informative read. It is well documented and comes with a reading group guide that includes a set of provocative questions for a group to discuss.
I recomment this for anyone who is interested in how talent is developed and/or how our education system can be vastly improved over the current model.
A great companion book is The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle which delves into the same subject matter, but with more of a biological/chemical explanation.
- Malcolm Gladwell Responds to Critics of the 10,000-Hour Rule (readingbyeugene.com)
- Why “Outliers” Should be on Your Desert Island List (baxnglass.wordpress.com)
- Essential Education:’Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell (educationinnovation.typepad.com)