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Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Excellent book by Gladwell. Really enjoyed it, he talks about why things are the way they are and how certain things may contribute to the way the things are the way they are that many can't see. I really enjoyed his synapsis of the Hockey players in the NHL and what months they were born in, and why they seemed to excel more than the others.

Here is a brief overview of that:

“In Canada, the eligibility cutoff for age-class hockey programs is Jan. 1. Canada also takes hockey really seriously, so coaches start streaming the best hockey players into elite programs, where they practice more and play more games and get better coaching, as early as 8 or 9. But who tends to be the “best” player at age 8 or 8? The oldest, of course – the kids born nearest the cut-off date, who can be as much as almost a year older than kids born at the other end of the cut-off date. When you are 8 years old, 10 or 11 extra months of maturity means a lot.

So those kids get special attention. That's why there are more players in the NHL born in January and February and March than

any other months. You see the same pattern, to an even more extreme degree, in soccer in Europe and baseball here in the U.S. It's one of those bizarre, little-remarked-upon facts of professional sports. They're biased against kids with the wrong birthday.”

Success seems to stem as much from context as from personal attributes. He also talks about being in the right place at the right time and hard work. Why were the rock band “The Beatles” so successful? Did you know how much they played early in their career. It was show after show, for many long hours practically every night of the week. Why was Bill Gates so successful as a young programmer? Did you know that Bill attended an elite private school in Seattle. This school had a computer terminal in 1968, almost unheard of at the time. And this was not just any computer: It was a state-of-the-art time-sharing terminal directly linked to a mainframe in downtown Seattle. Bill was always programming on it and put in so many hours. He also had the right people around him at the right time.

Highly recommended!


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