3 Key Takeaways From The Book Of ‘Outliers’
Civilizations and people are changing, in this fast going life, our perception and definitions are also changing. So why do we insist on the past definitions of success? In the book, ‘Outliers’ Malcolm tries to persuade us to look at success from different perspectives. He tells us the story of successful people different from what we used to hear. Surprisingly he gives solid proofs from not only one branch but many. He gives examples from ice hockey players, pilots, lawyers, engineers even himself. And some of the mentioned characters are really well known all around the world. In this writing, I don’t want to focus on what he tells instead I wanted to tell you what can be understood by reading this book. Let’s check my key takeaways:
1-) Talent and intelligence are overrated.
When we start to do something we cannot expect to be good. Being professional in one field requires deliberate practices. A lot of people give up on what they are doing just because they think they are not talented or intelligent. But it is not the case. For example, look at the Mozart example. If I asked if Mozart was talented, almost everyone would answer yes. But on the other side of the story, Mozart composed his most famous concerto after ten years of struggle. Musicologists don’t find his early compositions remarkable even today. When it comes to intelligence people judge cruelly. But like in the example of art we cannot expect someone who doesn’t have any experience to solve complex math problems at one try. If this were the case, Christopher Langan, the most intelligent person in the world, would have solved an atomic equation like Einstein. But no! He is an ordinary man living an ordinary life. So this again proves that success is not something that we own at the start but something that we earn on the way. For this reason, Malcolm emphasizes the rule of 10.000 hours. Only a 10.000 hours rule can be writing on its own. But in this writing what we need to know about this rule is interviewing lots of successful people, researchers found all the time same result: 10.000 hours. So instead of looking at success as luck, we should focus on 10.000 hours of effort.
2-) Inequality of opportunity is a real thing.
We all tend to believe that we can achieve whatever we want if we really give it enough time. Sorry but this is too dreamy to believe. There are people all around the world who need to work or aren’t able to give 10.000 hours for other reasons. And if you look closely at this number, actually it counts for years and years of studying!! At this point, all written in the up seems like leading to despair but no. What the writer tries to tell us is society deceives people by telling them desperate stories like a poor boy who has nothing becomes the richest man in the world. And when we believe these stories, we are just sitting in our small rooms and struggling all day and not becoming the richest man as expected. Today according to calculations if you earned $180.000 every day from the day Jesus Christ was born, you would still not be as rich as Jeff Bezos. So this proves why our hard work doesn’t pay off. Malcolm tries to trigger us to face our inequalities and come up with solutions. We should always chase opportunities. The belief that we can save ourselves despite the impossibilities only by working hard is one of the attitudes that distances us from success the most. The important thing is to face our impossibilities, pursue opportunities, and obtain the opportunities necessary for success. This is why Malcolm says in many parts of the book that success is not the product of a single person, but of many, perhaps even a society. Here is a good quote from the book:
Outliers are those who have been given opportunities and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.
3-) Know your culture and background.
Knowing yourself is important in every aspect of life. But when it comes to success it is even more important to know yourself, your environment, and your culture. People from different cultures struggle with different problems. And at the origin of these problems culture lies. Some people coming from agricultural societies so cooperation, solidarity are well developed. Even after all these years, you can still see the root of these traits because these people still like to study or work together and they find peace by doing that. On the other hand, people coming from farming societies are impatient and prone to fight. So if we know our lack and power according to where we came from, we can deal with lots of our unsolved problems and we can make possibles from impossibles.
Finally, as a university student, I liked and was inspired by this book so much. I was always observing successful people who have different opportunities and characteristics and was asking myself: Could there be common characteristics of these people? After reading this book still I think they have one common trait which is studying. But on the other hand, I think each and every person has different circumstances so each success and failure stories are different. What matters is being studied enough when your own opportunity finds you and if that opportunity cannot find you look everywhere to find it. Because this is what all outliers did!
Hope you like my writing and read ‘Outliers’ because there is a lot to explore inside of the book!!