They say that when you write, write to a perspective. That is the hallmark of every great writer. And when you are writing a non-fiction, this is even more important that you write in a way that your readers understand exactly what you want to say, never what you wish not to say. In the book Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. Published on 18 November in the year 2008 by the Little, Brown and Company, Outliers, in the simplest and shortest term possible, outlines the success secrets of some of the biggest names, from any fields of work, in the whole world.
Sometimes, it is searching the reason why Canadian ice hockey players are mostly born during the first months of the years. Sometimes, it is deducting how the Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is one of the richest persons on the planet. Sometimes, it is finding the secret why two persons of equally exceptional intelligence have different levels of success in their life. The book is basically about what might be the factors behind the success in life that we so seek, and what principles did they adopt, what extras did they have in comparison to the others and how much lucky they were in their pursuits.
In this book, Malcolm emphasizes about the 10000-hour rule. What is this 10000-hour rule? According to Malcolm, every successful person has to devote 10000 hours of practice in the field in which he wants to succeed. He explains that in detail in his book.
On the reception of the book, it topped the number one position in the bestseller lists in The Globe and Mail and The New York Times, where it stayed for the next 11 consecutive weeks. According to the readers, this work of Malcolm was a bit more personal than his previous works. The book Outliers was more of an autobiography of Malcolm Gladwell. But according to the critics, the autobiographical examples were perfectly merged with the rest of the instances, analysis and inferences provided by him. So it was acclaimed highly by the critics, especially how an individual cannot be successful just by the merit of his own talent. He needs support from the surrounding society to achieve ultimate success in his life. With an easy style of writing, Malcolm expressed the anticlimactic and depressing setting with panache, simplifying the complicated social aspects of a man's life, much appreciated by the academic critics.
Let's first know about Malcolm Gladwell a bit. Malcolm is 45 years old, is a nerdy Anglo-Jamaican-Canadian, or in short, a terrible Afro. He studied history, was into distance running, and formerly worked as a science writer for The Washington Post. He started as a staff writer for The New Yorker then, and has turned into one of the most sought after journalists of the contemporary time now.
But one thing can be said about the man, and that is he is an outlier, as he mentioned in his book. Being aided by his educational background, he can easily pen about stuff regarding history, sociology, psychology, law, statistics and arts. But to define him, he was a special pop-psychologist. What he did was take complex social, psychological and economic matters from the everyday life and analyzed them into understandable bits of words for the common person. Maybe that amounted for his exceptional popularity among everyone, starting from well-educated academic critics to the common people who just want to understand and feel themselves a bit better. In fact, some of his works are considered to be memes that they are so popular.
At this point, he has scribed three books, The Tipping Point (2000), The Blink (2005) and Outliers (2008). The Tipping Point talked about how and why certain objects become popular in our daily lives. The Blink talked about how our first impressions about something or someone mattered in our lives. The Outliers, as already told above, is a story about success.
Back to the previous question, Malcolm was special indeed. But was he really special? It is an important question that needs to be asked. No, the answer is in the negative. He was not special or exceptional. There are writers out there who have the same talent and skill in writing. But his luck was just too good when his family migrated to America, he landed up with sympathetic bosses who allowed him to indulge in other pursuits, and also that he got the chance to write popular science in his usual chatty writing style. His luck of parents, bosses and working environment is just too good in comparison to the other poor unlucky writers who did not have the same opportunities in life.
In fact, in his book, Malcolm Gladwell was not at all concerned about how Bill Gates got rich, or how to become successful like Malcolm Gladwell. Of course, he was born into the right environment at the right place at the right time. And so did Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Stephen Dubner, co-author of "Freakonomics". He also told the story of a man called Christopher Langan who had an IQ level of 195, compared to Einstein with IQ of 150. But he ends up working in a farm in Missouri still. What he emphasized upon was how to maneuver the place, time and environment to maximize your chances of success in life.
And most importantly, it is highly important to put in that essential 10000-hour rule. Michael Jordan put in that 10000 hours in basketball practice, Bill Gates put in 10000 hours in learning how to create softwares, Mozart put in 10000 hours in music, and as you can always imagine, Malcolm put in 10000 hours in developing his writing skills. Of course, not only hard work, talent and dedication accounts for success but also these three are undoubtedly some of the undeniable secrets to achieving success in life.
But apart from these three, Malcolm listed out some of the most important essential qualities to achieving success in life as follows.
a) Practice the 10000-hour rule as fast as you can. Every master of a trade has put in that essential 10000 hours of practice before he actually gained any popularity in the world. It was same with Beatles, Bill Gates and Mozart.
b) Learn the power of communication. As per the environment you are born in accounts the most. But it can also be said that power of negotiation and communication are still much important if you want to get some work done. You should always be clear about what you want, how it benefits the other person and that you should prove your word.
c) Gladwell lists out early rising as one of the most important factors in determining success for a person. First of all, if you rise up early, you are getting that extra time and energy to devote to your training. Moreover, the morning time accounts for the utmost level of productivity in a person.
There is a Chinese saying - "Anyone who rises before dawn 360 days each year never fails to make his family rich."
d) Seek the autonomy in your life. Any man has to be free to pursue his dreams to achieve anything in his life. But the question is how you can work two jobs, maintain a family and still pursue your dreams. Of course it is not that easy as it sounds but one of the most important factors that people chase money instead of money is debts. So try to get rid of debts as soon as you can. And needless to say, when you have autonomy at last, do not waste it in useless activities. Exploit it to practice the 10000 hours rule and pursue your dreams.
e) Realize your gifts. In other words, learn to understand your strengths. Jewish immigrants formed a hierarchy of the best-paid lawyers in America. Italian immigrants helped treat the heart disease and fairness policy helped in the education of Malcolm Gladwell. Understand what you are being gifted and use to the maximum.
f) Understand your luck. Luck is a very tricky term to describe, but if you come across some opportunity, do use it. Bill Gates used his opportunity to learn computers when he had the opportunity, and that is why he is Bill Gates today. So once you come across an opportunity, never miss it.
According to Malcolm, you have to be lucky to be successful. But that does not mean you cannot be successful if you are not born into the right environment. You can maneuver what you already got and try to extract the maximum out of it.