Why do some people succeed far more than others?
In 'The Tipping Point' (the 1st book) Malcolm Gladwell redefined how we understand the world around us
In 'Blink' (the 2nd book) he revolutionized the way we understand the world within
And this book will transform the way we understand success...
It doesn't matter who your father or mother is, or who your grandfather was, or what business your family is in. If you have ability, tha vast network will find you, and if you are willing to work to develop that ability, the system will reward you
What's the question we always ask about the successful? We want to know what they're like - what kind of personalities they have, or how intelligent they are, or what kind of lifestyles they have, or what special talents they might have been born with. And we assume that it is those personal qualities that explain how that individual reach the top :
The tallest oak in the forest is the tallest not just because it grew from the hardiest acorn, it is the tallest also because no other trees blocked its sunlight, the soil around it was deep and rich, no rabbit chewed through its bark as a sapling, and no lumberjack cut it down before it matured. We all know that successful people come from hardy seeds. But do we know enough about the sunlight that warmed them, the soil in which they put down the roots, and the rabbits and lumberjacks they were lucky enough to avoid? This is not a book about tall trees. It's a book about forests
Yes, the hockey players who make it to the professional level are more talented than you or me. But they also got a big head start, an opportunity that they neither deserved nor earned. And that opportunity played a critical role in their success
It is those who are successful, in other words, who are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success. It's the rich who get the biggest tax breaks. It's the best students who get the best teaching and most attention. And it's the biggest nine- and ten-year-olds who get the most coaching and practice
We could easily take control of the machinery of achievement, in other words -- not just in sports but, as we will see, in other more consequential areas as well. But we don't. And why? Because we cling to the idea that success is a simple function of individual merit and that world in which we all grow up and the rules we choose to write as a society don't matter at all
He's had to work very hard for whatever he's got. I'm very proud of him. Those were the ingredients of success at the highest level : passion, talent, and hard work. But there was another element
The question is this: is there such a thing as innate talent? The obvious answer is yes. Achievement is talent plus preparation
Practical intelligence includes things like "knowing what to say to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it for maximum effect."
It's knowledge that helps you read situations correctly and get what you want. And, critically, it is a kind of intelligence separate from the sort of analytical ability measured by IQ.
You can have lots of analytical intelligence and very little practical intelligence, or lots of practical intelligence and not much analytical intelligence, or- as in the lucky case of someone like Robert Oppenheimer- you can have lots of both.
So where does something like practical intelligence come from? We know where analytical intelligence comes front. It's something, at least in part, that's in your genes.
IQ is a measure, to some degree, of innate ability. But social savvy is knowledge. It's a set of skills that have to be learned. It has to come from somewhere, and the place where we seem to get these kinds of attitudes and skills is from our families.
Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities.
Can we learn something about why people succeed and how to make people better at what they do by taking cultural legacies seriously? I think we can.
Virtually, every succcess story we've seen in this book so far involves someone or some group working harder than their peers.
Nor is success simply the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf. It is, rather a gift. Outliers are those who have been given opportunities = and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them