Outliers: The Story of Success
Large Print Edition
By Malcolm Gladwell
Little, Brown and Company (2008), 464 pages
Genre: Psychology / Self-Help
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - February 9, 2010
The common conception is that success is based upon intelligence: Orientals are more intelligent, therefore they excel in academics; the poor, living in slums, are not bright, therefore they achieve little or no success. Gladwell demonstrates with many examples that his notion is wrong.
Scientists have found that the people of Roseto, for example, of Italian descent, live longer than their neighbors or their ancestors because they socialize, and the socialization reduces their tensions. But parents can affect children. A genius whose parents never taught him how to relate to other people and who never learnt it on his own, remained a farmer throughout his life, while individuals with much lower IQs achieved great success because they were taught how to deal with people. Similarly, descendants of feuding Appalachians absorbed their ancestors' manners and tended to become angry and aggressive and vindictive.
Much more than IQ, persistence and practice lead to success. Gladwell shows how people such as Bill Gates, the Beatles, and even Mozart, despite their innate skills and intelligence, would not have been successful if they did not practice for some 10,000 hours. Similarly, studies have shown that by extending the daily hours of schooling of slum children, giving them three hours of homework after leaving school at 5 PM, and cutting down on their summer vacation, led to a sizable percentage of these children being able to attend college and attain success. Orientals it is shown do not have a higher IQ. They are descendants of people who worked on rice paddies virtually every hour of the day 360 days a year. The work required meticulous care. This way of life and thinking affected their descendants and helped them gain success.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.