This is the third book of Malcolm Gladwell, and it’s three in a row for books of his that I’ve truly enjoyed. He has a unique way of unveiling the assumed and revealing the patterns and reasons we don’t realize are present.
In Outliers, Gladwell examines success stories. One of the most well known characters in the book is Bill Gates. The book is an easy read of complex subject matter. Gladwell is a master storyteller, and he weaves compelling narratives around empirical research to engage the reader. You’re drawn deep without realizing you’re enjoying sociology.
One paragraph toward the end of the book summarizes his findings succinctly:
Superstar lawyers and math whizzes and software entrepreneurs appear at first blush to lie outside ordinary experience. But they don’t. They are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Their success is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky – but all are critical to making them who they are.
Gladwell’s conclusions are remarkable, but they are not new. Throughout the book, I caught myself nodding as his meticulous research and narrative simply verified a much older assertion:
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21)
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)