Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

53%

27 Critic Reviews

Instead of focusing on the idea of “10,000 hours” as an essential path to excellence, he dampens this theory with determinist conclusions about the role of chance.
-Washington Times

Synopsis

There is a story that is usually told about extremely successful people, a story that focuses on intelligence and ambition. Gladwell argues that the true story of success is very different, and that if we want to understand how some people thrive, we should spend more time looking around them-at such things as their family, their birthplace, or even their birth date. And in revealing that hidden logic, Gladwell presents a fascinating and provocative blueprint for making the most of human potential.

In The Tipping Point Gladwell changed the way we understand the world. In Blink he changed the way we think about thinking. In OUTLIERS he transforms the way we understand success.
 

About Malcolm Gladwell

See more books from this Author
Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He was formerly a business and science reporter at the Washington Post.
 
Published October 29, 2008 by Little, Brown and Company. 317 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical, Self Help, Parenting & Relationships, Science & Math. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Outliers
All: 27 | Positive: 11 | Negative: 16

Kirkus

Below average
Sep 01 2008

At times it seems an exercise in repackaged carpe diem, especially from a mind as attuned as Gladwell’s.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by PD Smith on Jun 19 2009

. . .in an age that idolises success and celebrity, Gladwell's compelling popularisation is timely and even important.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Derek Draper on Dec 05 2008

As the book unfolds there is a hunger for something deeper and more profound that never turns up.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Jason Cowley on Nov 22 2008

The trouble with the book is that Gladwell is ultimately engaged in a long argument with nobody but himself.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by David Leonhardt on Nov 28 2008

. . .leaves you mulling over its inventive theories for days afterward. It also, unfortunately, avoids grappling in a few instances with research that casts doubt on those theories.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Nov 17 2008

. . .glib, poorly reasoned and thoroughly unconvincing.

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Publishers Weekly

Below average
Reviewed by Leslie Chang

Real life is seldom as neat as it appears in a Malcolm Gladwell book.

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Wall Street Journal

Excellent
Reviewed by David Shaywitz on Nov 15 2008

. . .for all the quibbles that may attend the individual stories that Mr. Gladwell has assembled -- the thrust of his argument is right on target.

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Book Reporter

Excellent
Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg on Jan 24 2011

. . .a provocative, consistently engaging, occasionally amusing work that has the potential to change the way we view the world. . .

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Star Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Max Ross on Nov 30 2008

The book reads more like a series of individual studies than as the cohesive "story of success" it's supposed to be.

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Washington Times

Below average
Reviewed by Joanne McNeil on Nov 23 2008

Instead of focusing on the idea of “10,000 hours” as an essential path to excellence, he dampens this theory with determinist conclusions about the role of chance.

Read Full Review of Outliers | See more reviews from Washington Times

Entertainment Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Gregory Kirschling on Nov 12 2008

. . .Gladwell always tells stories to make his points, and every single one of them in Outliers is a plateful of brain food that tastes like salty peanuts.

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The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Howard Gardner on Nov 23 2008

At times, in his laudable effort to critique biological arguments, especially the idea that talent is dispensed by the luck of the genetic draw, Gladwell goes too far.

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The Telegraph

Excellent
Reviewed by Robert Colvile on Dec 10 2008

. . .that's the secret of Outliers: it isn't about outliers at all. It's about everyone.

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The Telegraph

Below average
Reviewed by Ed Smith on Dec 08 2008

Some of Gladwell's ideas also border on internal inconsistency.

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Christian Science Monitor

Excellent
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Nov 17 2008

Overall, it’s another winner from this agile social observer.

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The Independent

Below average
Reviewed by Lesley McDowell on Jul 05 2009

Marxist theory and feminist theory got there a long time ago, so there's not much new here, although it is possibly presented in a more palatable form for some.

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The Independent

Below average
Reviewed by Boyd Tonkin on Nov 21 2008

. . .it turns out that this bitter, unAmerican pill comes deftly spun in sugar.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Excellent
Reviewed by Jonah Raskin on Nov 16 2008

With relentless curiosity and a keen fascination with significant details, he focuses on trends and illuminates the larger lessons he wants everyone to learn. 

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Open Letters Monthly

Below average
Reviewed by Steve Donoghue

Luckily for him, Gladwell isn’t writing for intelligent readers. . .

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Open Letters Monthly

Below average
Reviewed by Peter Coclanis

. . .how egregiously incomplete, insubstantial, and unconvincing Gladwell’s explanation of success actually is.

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Forbes

Excellent
Reviewed by Steve Forbes

Gladwell combines a wonderful writing style with an incurably iconoclastic curiosity. . .

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Salon

Below average
Reviewed by Louis Bayard on Nov 17 2008

The problem with having your theory in hand from the beginning is that you have to slough off whatever data don’t fit.

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Business Week

Excellent
Nov 20 2008

. . .even if one can't help wondering what contradictory evidence Gladwell may have left out, Outliers is thought-provoking.

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The Seattle Times

Below average
Reviewed by MaryAnn Gwinn on Nov 13 2008

. . .Gladwell never confronts the fact that success is defined differently in different cultures;

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Time Magazine

Excellent
Reviewed by Bill Wadman on Nov 13 2008

Outliers is a more personal book than its predecessors are.

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Boston Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Claude Fischer

He wraps compelling stories and engaging characters around the kernel of research, delivering the academic material so entertainingly that readers may not even notice they have been schooled.

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Reader Rating for Outliers
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