Sunday, September 14, 2014

Zach Riddle Outliers Book Blog 1

Zach Riddle
Composition 105

Outliers The Story of Success
Malcolm Gladwell
Little, Brown and Company, 2008
308 Pages

“The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world class expert-in anything.” (40)

Ten thousand hours is a ridiculous amount of time. That is over a year working on a specific goal to become the best of the best in your field. Outliers The Story of Success gives many examples of how a rule known as the 10,000 hour rule is a major contributor to successful people. Bill Gates, Bill Joy, and The Beatles all put in well over ten thousand hours before they were considered to be at the top of their level. This shows me that the people who get to the top earn their way. Having the gifted ability, which everyone one in the group listed earlier had, is proven not to be enough to get to the top. Malcolm talked about how these people with incredible talents were given unbelievably, well timed opportunities.
One of the best examples that Malcolm gives is Bill Gates and all of the opportunities that he had as a child. Gates went to one of very few high schools in 1968 that had a computer.  Most colleges at this point did not have a computer When the school ran out of funding for the program, the Mother’s Club came up with more money to pump into the computer program. When the school was no longer able to support the program, he joined a group at the University of Washington that spent countless hours working with computers. Without all of these extra opportunities, he would not have been able to get to the 10,000 hour level. I believe that to just be successful it is not essential to have 10,000 hours of practice, but to be at the top it is a necessity.
Hard work and putting in the hours is important, but there are other factors that contribute to their success. Lewis Terman, a philosophy professor at Stanford University, is quoted in this book saying “There is nothing more important in an individual than their IQ, except possibly his morals,”. I do not believe this statement to be true, because you can have all the smarts in the world, but if you do not have the people skills to communicate with other people, it will be near to impossible to get a job.
Malcolm talks about a once child prodigy named Robert Oppenheimer and the man considered to be the smartest person in America, Chris Langan. Chris has one of the highest IQ test scores in the world, yet he was unable to finish college. He was unable to finish college, because he did not have the people skills to communicate with his professors about the major problems that he was having which caused him to be late to class. Robert Oppenheimer attended college during the 1930’s and was considered to be one of the brightest on the Earth. He also tried to kill one of his chemistry tutors with a mixture of chemicals but was still able to finish college and be apart of one of the biggest military projects known to man, which is the Manhattan Project. Yes, a man that tried to kill one of his professors was hired to be on one of the most import science projects in the history of mankind. Oppenheimer had the people skills that gave him the ability to work through his problems and make major contributions to our history.
There are many characteristics that contribute to being successful, and Outliers The Story of Success describes two essential qualities in the first half of the book that are needed in order to be successful. They are the 10,000 hour rule and making use of your opportunities. Without accomplishing these two tasks, it nearly impossible to become successful. Some of the most success people of all time like Bill Gates and Bill Joy all went through these steps to become successful.  


  1. Good use of information and detail about major parts of the book very interesting

  2. your name and the composition 105 should be on the other side. You described was the book was about very well. Try to make a comparison to other books, authors, or films.