Work at least 10,000 hours in an area before you can become super-successful at it.
If you were an aspiring photographer, at some point in your life, you may have come across the below given quote from the legendary candid photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson.
‘Your first 10000 photographs are your worst.’ – Henri Cartier-Bresson
In this book, Malcolm Gladwell comes up with something similar by creating what he calls the 10,000 Hour Rule, a rule that is challenged by today’s self-help gurus. He believes this is the magical number for achieving greatness.
The book starts with examples of ‘outliers‘ – people who are extraordinarily proficient in certain subjects or skills (like The Beatles and Bill Gates) and then breaks down the enormous amount of work that goes into all outliers before they became one.
He uses ‘divergence test’, a test that requires you to use your imagination and take your mind in as many different directions as possible, just to prove that in order to be successful one needs a ‘fertile’ mind than a higher IQ. Yes!!
Interestingly, the culture we belong to and the legacies passed down by our forefathers has certain influence towards shaping our path to greatness. The kind of analysis he does on a junior hockey team’s data by comparing their dates of birth and explaining why some players who were born in certain months had an edge and performed better (outliers) than those born in the remaining months…. might tickle your left brain for a while.
He does a similar in-depth analysis on the richest men in the world and tries to map the commonality in their data (or life) that he thinks has contributed to their greatness. There’s one full chapter which includes NatGeo’s Air Crash Investigation styled dissection of an airplane’s black box transcripts.
Although very intense in one or two chapters, i really enjoyed reading this book . The examples he covers are so diverse – from young hockey players to Bill Gates to pilots to race paddy farmers, and goes about explaining why these people are able to scale greater heights than most others. This kept my brain refreshed from cover to cover.
This was my first book of Malcolm’s and i will consider reading other books of his, in the future although not immediately.
If you like what you read, you can support by buying this book directly from Amazon: Outliers: The Story of Success (affiliate link).