After meaning to read this book for the longest time, I finally did. Barnes&Noble has, more or less, become the team hang out while on the road. So one morning, when we had some good time to spend there, I pulled this book from it’s shelf in the front of the store (that’s where the bestsellers are) and began reading. I read nonstop for about an hour or so–knocking out about 117 pages. Because I found the book to be so fascinating, I returned in the evening for about another hour until the store closed and read the rest minus 20 pages and then the store closed–making me feel like a failure since I couldn’t even successfully finish a book, even written on success, in one day. However, I soon returned within the week and happily finished. But more to the point, the book was worth the read and I am just about to tell you why.
Gladwell, already notable for his bestselling books, Blink, and The Tipping Point scored another onto the national bestseller list with Outliers: The Story of Success. Outliers is nonfiction, but being so doesn’t keep it from telling some great, and better yet, true stores of real people who “lucked” out–almost literally. Gladwell didn’t write this book to be a guide or manual for success, rather this book was written to show and even explain, with even a scientific approach, how success comes about.
Pleasantly, Outliers is an easy read. The book’s content is intellectual, but the style is accessible for the average, used-to-entertainment, everyday, reader. In other words, Outliers is sophistication made simple–even fun. While reading, I felt as though I was learning much, not only about success, but about modern society, culture, and worldview. Gladwell clearly brings a fresh approach to the way the world should properly view financial success.
You’ve probably wondered, at least once in your life how Bill Gates became who he was and why more have not become the same. Gladwell addresses and thoroughly answers this question (and it’s broad equivalent) in his book. You’ve probably also wondered why the Asians seem to be so much more disciplined and far beyond America in it’s approach to technology, math, science . . . and seemingly, just about everything else. Or, have you ever pondered how your heritage still affects you today and even your success? Outliers is full of musings and answers to the idiosyncrasies of our modern day society. Little did I know how rice patties, family feuding of olden days, Jamaican prejudices, Asian communication, and Canadian hockey teams display so much insight into success within the mainstream today.
Practicality and application, however, do not escape this book. Yes, this book is full of interesting little known facts about our world and how it runs, but at the very same time it gives you a new perspective on your own life in our current society–where it fits, and where it’s currently or potentially headed. Gladwell inspires you to ponder your future and your potential, and not only your potential. This book calls to action–to prepare, to cultivate, to practice, and to plan.
Finally, I will add, this book, though not written from a biblical worldview, does not lack in it’s honesty. What you see is what you get; and more to the point: what Gladwell sees is what you get. Truly, as Christians, coming away from a book, such as this one, we can see that the greatest need of our very success crazy, culturally confused, world–is Christ alone.