The premise of “Outliers” is that extraordinary success is difficult to achieve without opportunity and fortuity. The book abounds with examples: The Beatles having the opportunity to hone their craft in Hamburg, Germany; Bill Gates’ computer club membership in high school and proximity to the University of Washington computer lab; the legendary lawyer Joe Flom getting castoff work from white-shoe law firms; European and Asian children having longer school years than American children; Canadian youth hockey players gaining an advantage over their peers based on the month of their birth, and other examples too numerous and nuanced to describe here. The author does not argue that opportunity automatically begets success. Time on task and hard work are necessary prerequisites to success, in his view, but he also argues persuasively that being in the right place at the right time, or even being born at the right time, can have tremendous consequences. I liked the book because it challenged conventional wisdom and was thought-provoking.
Three words that describe this book: Fascinating, provocative, counter-intuitive
You might want to pick this book up if: You appreciate ideas that cause you to reexamine conventional wisdom.