Nischala’s Blog-o-Review | Book | OUTLIERS by Malcolm Gladwell

I picked up Malcolm Gladwell’s OUTLIERS on the recommendation of an old friend of mine who told me that I should READ it. And I am happy that I took the recommendation and bought the book. I loved it – One of the most interesting books I have read in recent times..

So what did I really like about the book?
1) The way it is written. As a reader, most of us like to read “simple and easy to comprehend” writings. Though some of my friends claim that there is no fun in simple writing, I honestly think that writing in a “simple” fashion is actually very hard for any writer. Simply because you have to be extremely clear on what you want to convey; and need to have an excellent command on the language and understanding on a particular subject to articulate it well
2) As a person, a large part of me is really “left brained”. So I love books which have data, analysis and logical interpretation. And this book has it all! Along with some radical viewpoints which trigger your “right brain” as well. That’s a double BONUS!
3) The topics which are written about are less known to the most of us (At least to me!). And hence every single concept in the book will amaze you and compel you to think and wonder about the ways of the world, life, human behavior, evolution, etc etc etc
4) The way the book is structured makes it easy to read. Especially for someone like me who reads a in book in several sittings, I find it easy to read a few chapters and then pick up from where I left off, without really missing the “spirit and essence of the message”

Now, the reason why I am even posting this is because there were some interesting points made which I think are worth knowing. Sharing some excerpts from the book below which I really liked.

Excerpt 1
“Parents with a child born at the end of the academic year often think about holding their child back before the start of the kindergarten; it’s hard for a 5-year old to keep up with a child born many months earlier. But most parents, on suspects, think that whatever disadvantage a younger child faces in kindergarten eventually goes away. But it doesn’t. The small initial advantage that the child born in the early part of the year persists. It locks children into patterns of achievement and underachievement, encouragement and discouragement, that stretch on for years”

Excerpt 2
Wolf and Bruhn had to convince the medical establishment to think about health and heart attacks in an entirely new way: they had to get them to realize that they wouldn’t be be able to understand why some was healthy is all they did was think about an individual’s personal choices or actions in isolation. They had to look beyond the individual. They had to understand the culture he or she was a part of, and who their friends and families were, and what town their families came from. They had to appreciate the idea that the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are”

Excerpt 3
The idea that excellence at performing a complex task required a critical minimum level of practice surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise : 10000 Hours

Excerpt 4
What your parents do for a living, and the assumptions that accompany the class your parents belong to, matter!

Excerpt 5
Intellect and Achievement are far from perfectly correlated

Excerpt 6
Cultural Legacies are powerful forces. They have deep roots and long lives. They persist, generation after generation, virtually intact, even as the economic and social and demographic conditions that spawned them have vanished, and they play a role in directing attitudes and behavior that cannot make sense of our world without them

Excerpt 7
No one who can rise before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich

Excerpt 8
The School year in the United States is, on average 180 days long. The South Korean school year is 220 days long. The Japanese school year in 243 days long.

Excerpt 9
Extraordinary success are products of history and community, of opportunities and legacy

These are some of my favorite pieces of the book. Have you read the book? Did you like it? Leave a comment to let me know

Nischala’s Overall Rating : A+ [And I’ve added all of Malcolm’s books to my Bookshelf for 2013 🙂 ]


The 10,000 Hour Rule

A few weeks back, I read the book “Outliers : The Story of Success” BY Malcolm Gladwell – One of the most interesting and thought provoking books I’ve read in the recent past. One of the key points in the book is that it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to achieve excellence in anything – Be it programming, music or art.

I guess we’ve all heard that “Practice Makes a Man Perfect”, but no one really put a number to the practice efforts..

Somehow the thought continued to linger on.. I pondered about my own life and about the lives of people I know who achieved excellence in their sphere of work / art or any skill… Did it really take 10,000 hours to achieve excellence..

Well… I guess YES and NO.. Simply because I think it all depends on how broadly your define the “skill” and how specifically you define “excellence” – Both of which are not so easy to do! Of course there are several other factors specific to an individual, the environment, etc – which influence the final outcome of your efforts…

But everything constant, does it really take 10,000 hours of dedicated practice?

Let me take a few examples:
I don’t think you need 10,000 hours to make the perfect cup of tea (And again perfection is fairly subjective); But I can vouch for the fact that it can probably take 10,000 hours to master cooking

Again, I don’t think you need 10,000 hours to figure out how to put your baby to sleep; But I can vouch for the fact that it can probably take much more than 10,000 hours to achieve some level of mastery on parenting

Again, I don’t think you need 10,000 hours to write a perfect blog post; But I can vouch for the fact that it can probably take as much as 10,000 hours to publish a good book – You need to reach a different level of self-awareness, comprehension of writing process, literary literacy and “understanding your audience”.

Now let’s do a quick Math
10,000 hours translate really to
2 hours per day for 13.69 years
4 hours per day for 6.84 years
6 hours per day for 4.56 years
8 hours per day for 3.42 years
10 hours per day for 2.7 years

Hmm.. I think these number explains a lot of things.. Like
Why does it take most writers at least 3 years to get their first book published? (From idea to shelf)
Why does it take any parent at least 3 years to feel comfortable about parenting?
Why does it take anyone at least 5 years to get their PhD?
Why does it take most bloggers a few years to find their niche in the blog-o-sphere?
Why does it take several years for organizations to figure the right Social Media strategy?
Why does it take very long for most of us to get it “right” on Twitter? (Twitter started in July 2006)
Why does it take any singer / musician several years to achieve complete control on their voice?
Why does it take any gymnast several years to even be considered for the Olympics?
Why does it take any actor several years to find their “niche” in acting?
Why does it take any chef several years to get a Michelin Star rating?
Why does it take any pilot several years to fly the Air Force One?
Why does it take any photographer several years to click that one magical perfect picture?
Why does it take politicians several years to be elected as critical representative of the state?
Why does it take anyone several years to be the CEO of a large organization?
Why does it take anyone several years to be the Dean on an educational institute?
Why does it take couples several years to find the “perfect equilibrium”?
Why does it take several years for people who embark on their spiritual journey?
Why does it take anyone several years to get perfect in oral communication?
Why does it take several years for you to find your soul-mate? (Because you are working on being perfect and so is your soul-mate I guess!)

And yes! One you get there – Then the sky is the limit to what you can achieve..

NOTE: Above are based on my observations, and there could be deviations / exceptions as with everything else in life

As I did my research on this, I came across

1) An interesting and divergent point of view on this titled as ““Paradox of Skill – Why greater skills lead to more luck

2) An excellent inforgrahic which captures essence of the 10,000 Hour Rule brilliantly. Sharing the same below.

10000 Hour Rules