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Theme Of Success In Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers

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We all have a certain perception of success. We all think we know what success looks like. People that hold this title seem to be placed into a specific form; that all of them started with nothing and worked their way up the system, however, the author shows us otherwise. In Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers,” it is clear that success isn’t a gift but an achievable outcome determined by a multitude of circumstances that mostly aren’t in our control. The author narrates the stories of different successful figures and pulls out certain patterns that lead to their success. He accentuates the fact that success isn’t an outlier, and that there is a science to it. That success isn’t reserved for people of unusual power or abilities, but rather a result of the combination of the right factors coming into play. These can include hard work, support, and even the given opportunity. In most cases the opportunities people are given attribute to more than just their aptitude. In fact, IQ is such a small factor in someone’s success. Instead, these opportunities can arise from a variety of other conditions such as, the month someone was born in, their height, and their cultural background.

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After reading the book you could tell Malcolm Gladwell put forth a great effort into structuring his ideas and beliefs. One way he accomplishes this is by following the development of a different successful figure every chapter. A specific example used in the book would be Bill Gates. Gates had multiple opportunities that most others did not have. For example, he was exposed to computer technology early in his life because his school decided to add a computer room for their students. This was one of the few schools that had a computer room at the time. He began coding day and night, sneaking out of the house to get to school early and code even more. Another example is the time period he happened to be born into. Gates being born during the industrial revolution was a key factor in his success. This was an era when computers were just being introduced and needed a lot of upgrades. Gladwell introduced a study that revealed how some of the biggest people in software development were born in the same era. Gates was given experience in a skill that his society needed at the time. His hard work combined with the many factors that helped him along the way lead to his success. Gladwell also decided to end his book with the last chapter reflecting his own personal experience. He mentioned how he began writing due to his grandmother’s origins, and that lead him to where he is now.

A single word to describe how this book made me feel would be ambitious. Not only did it give hope to my adrift future, but it also gave me motivation. I felt reassured when I found out that having an aptitude for something wasn’t even a major component of your success. I also found it very intriguing that Gladwell used people that I have always looked up to growing up like Bill Gates and Bill Joy. I’ve always been a tech savy kind of person yet I always accepted the fact that it probably just wasn’t for me. This personal connection to the book convinced me to change my mind. Gladwell stressed what he believed were the two factors of success: social skills and practice time. He wrote about the ten thousand hour rule, that one will master anything they put ten thousand hours of practice into. Outliers gave me the desire to take on a technology career and prove myself wrong.

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Theme Of Success In Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. (2021, September 10). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from
“Theme Of Success In Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.” Edubirdie, 10 Sept. 2021,
Theme Of Success In Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 23 Feb. 2024].
Theme Of Success In Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 10 [cited 2024 Feb 23]. Available from:
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