Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Outliers


It is never too late to read a good book. I’ve just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. After reading Tipping Point and Blink, I’ve quite high expectation of Outliers. The result is that it is a good read as well. The theme of this book is to dissect the myth of ‘successes. E.g. what make Bill Gates different from us? Why Asian kids seems to be better in Math? Why Jews are so successful in legal profession in NYC? etc. The myth of genius by birth is debunked in the book. Are those evidences convincing? Well, I think that it certainly opened my mind to see things from a different perspective and I think it is the best part of reading this kind of book. The way author thinks out of the box certainly helps me to think out of my box as well. Actually, as he did the research and build up evidence to support his view, through reading his works, it is just like borrowing his key to open my box. How convenient!

In Outliers, the author mentioned that individual’s success is a result of environment factors and personal effort. Actually, it is simply the old lesson of karma aka causes and effects. From my point of view, it is nothing new about it. However, his researches did provide very good support on his view and gave me better insight on many phenomena. Namely, what are those causes that produce those well known effects? For example, when he talked about how the Korean Airlines improved their safety records, that story was fascinating to me. I always thought the reason why they had so many accidents back then was because of those pilots were fighter pilots who flied the passenger aircraft with the mindset and skills as a fighter pilot. However, after reading the book and learn that many of those accidents were actually related to their culture of hierarchy, that’s amazing to me. Also, after reading this book, it kinda strengthens my belief of “achievement of excellence through intensive practice”, namely, the “10,000 hours practice” rule. I’m not sure if I can convince my son to adopt such lesson in future, but it doesn’t hurt to learn that there are plenty of evidences to prove that works. That’s better than…’Oh, I didn’t know that…I wish that I know earlier..’ that sort of thing.

Malcolm Gladwell has a newer book just published few months back. I will go to get it later when there is sale at bookstore. Well, we are in the era of ebook, but I’ve not got into that game yet, as the cost, configuration of existing hardware and the corresponding services level are not yet meet my expectation. Also, for this kind of books, I think I would prefer to own it than borrowing them from library. So, I’m still an old fashion book-buyer for now. Anyway, I’m happy with this reading, and this book is a keeper.

Well, it is about time for me to start another book. If I find that to be interesting, I will certainly blog that too.

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