Saturday, January 17, 2009

Book Recommendation: Outliers

Outliers seems to be the book everyone is talking about right now. Just finished it a couple of days ago and sent it to one son who said he planned to read it before we talked and then talked to another son who was also reading it at the same time.

It really is a good book and answers a lot of questions, but in my opinion, it presents as many more. However, the best part of it is that each reader will be able to adapt all of the studies to his/her own profession, or children, or how to rear children, or what it takes to be successful no matter what your interests. As a matter of fact it is so logical that much of what he "proves" by actual studies and evidence is what most of us intuitively knew already, but had no way to present any proof except common sense. The only thing missing is that he doesn't recognize that success encompasses more than money or celebrity status as a yardstick--but I'm sure he expects that he doesn't have to say it--we know it.

There were a couple of researchers who had "off the wall" premises who were able to work through some actual studies and by golly, they were right! Maybe this will pique your interest: Given that over 36,000 kids want to go to Harvard each year and given that they are all pretty smart kids, what would you say to someone who posited that having a lottery for the openings among the qualified (about half fit the bill of being good enough while the other half did not) would get them the same mix of students they are looking for but presently spend huge amounts of time going over the entrance applications?

And, in view of the "Miracle on the Hudson" you would really find fascinating how plane accidents happen or are averted.

The basic premise is that it takes 10,000 hours of practice before one can become an outstanding success in any field but along with that comes a lot of luck and/or help from strangers or family plus timing, intelligence, wealth, background and what demographic as to when and where one might be born. No way can I do justice to what others can do with a legitimate review, but I hope you'll give it some thought. It can be a quick read and then you can go back and study the details that are exciting to you.

See ya...

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