All success stories have roots that run deep that determine to what extent they will succeed, and how they achieved that success. In Outliers, Gladwell’s second chapter highlights one of those trends as spending a lot of time practicing and working on their craft. Gladwell cites studies and sociologists who state that for an individual to become an expert in any skill, they need to spend about 10,000 hours practicing and honing their choice of activity. Overwhelmingly, almost all statistics show that successful people in their chosen fields had at least 10,000 hours of experience to get to where they are. Gladwell makes the point that to get 10,000 hours of practice, which usually takes atleast a decade of work, a person needs a lot of luck and extraordinary circumstances to make it happen. Only someone who is given the right opportunities for the right things at the right time can hope to be successful. In fact, Gladwell uses many success stories to prove his point that 10,000 hours is the magical number through examples such as Bill Joy, a renowned computer programmer and pioneer for Internet technology. Gladwell describes the same phenomenon occurring with Bill Gates—a series of fortunate events allowed Gates to gain 10,000 hours of practice at a very young age. Many successful people share the similar story that because of circumstances, timing, and sheer luck they were able to spend time doing what they loved doing most, which was vital for their future success.
Gladwell’s claim in this chapter is that most people don’t come across such fortunate circumstances that allow them to pursue their passions in such dedicated hours, and that in those dedicated hours, in order to truly master the craft, atleast 10,000 hours must be spent to be good at it. “…and without 10,000 hours under his belt, there is no way he can master the skills necessary.” In this chapter, the only opposing viewpoint that Gladwell addresses is when he talks about talent and how society has come to think that that’s what separates the good from the great, and how without it you could never truly excel at your craft. “…the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.” Later in the the chapter, Gladwell concedes that innate talent does exist, and it roots from deep within a person’s DNA. Throughout the chapter, Gladwell states the need for luck and fortune to be with you on your journey, as well as support and the necessary resources to get you to where you want to go. Gladwell utilizes research to back up his arguments because his claim that success derives from an extreme number of dedicated hours of practice works in the face of the traditional concept of success: that it comes from talent and “hard work” alone. Through his reasoning and evidence, Gladwell wants to challenge culturally dominant ideas about success and how we perceive it by using two very well-known success stories.