Review: Outliers

Remember when I held a book challenge in 2014, and didn’t even read one of the four books?  That’s actually not true.  I started The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and got about 100 pages in before I had to quit.  I learned a lot about the McDonald’s food manufacturing process – as weird as it is – but eventually the book’s science talk and agriculture statistics wore down on me.

So, that was that.

I did, however, finish the last book in the 2014 challenge six months in to 2015.  No big deal, or anything.  Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, is a non-fictional assessment about what makes people successful – but, surprisingly doesn’t have anything to do with master’s degrees, running up the career ladder, or who people know.  Instead, this story is all about how, when and where a person is raised determines his/her opportunities for success.

In a true nature vs. nurture argumentative fashion, Gladwell explores examples of the most successful people in recent generations (think Bill Gates), and how their unique life circumstances propelled them to capitalism stardom. Malcolm is also coined for bringing popularity to the discovery that it takes 10,000 hours for a person to master a field.  It is shocking to realize how many of the people in Outliers had 10,000 hours of ‘practice’ at such a young age; Mozart, the Beatles, and Bill Gates himself each had at least 10,000 hours practicing their mastery by the time they hit their early 20’s – setting themselves up for unique opportunities to continue pursuing their passions professionally.

Outliers is in interesting reading choice for me because it is quite unlike other books that I enjoy, which are usually funny, teaching a life lesson, or have a unique writing style.  Gladwell’s book is a straight-forward, yet engrossing assessment on how culture and our environments play an important role in our professional development.  Overall, I did not find a true ending or personal ah-ha moment within the story; instead I chose to take away that each of us can examine our own childhood and cultural experiences for unique opportunities for personal success.  What does being an almost twenty-nine year-old in 2015 afford me?  How am I different for being raised in Ohio?  What opportunities can come from my time studying abroad in France?

As I ponder some of these soul-searching questions, here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the book.  If you’re looking for a unique take on what makes people successful, I hope you pick up a copy of Outliers!

  • “By the first time they [the Beatles] had their first burst of success in 1964, in fact, they had performed live an estimated twelve hundred times.  Do you know how extraordinary that is?  Most bands today don’t perform twelve hundred times in their entire careers.”


  • “Those three things – autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward – are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.”


  • “No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.”

Linking up with Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop for prompt #3: book review!

2014 Book Challenge!

Hey y’all!  I alluded in my last post that I would have a challenge for you this week, and I am here to deliver on that promise. Woop! So, without further ado, let’s just jump on to it.  Shall we?

A couple months ago, I stumbled upon this article on the 26 Books that Will Change the Way You See the World.  I was so intrigued by the list that I decided then and there that I would challenge myself to read all of these books.

I really wish I was ‘standing up here’ stating that I plan on reading all 26 books this year.  I am always impressed with those people who read 20+ books in a year.  Alas, I am not included in that bunch.  Plus, I don’t want to totally lie to y’all since I already read one of them: Harry Potter (duh).

The real issue with reading 26 books in a year is that I only tend to excessively read for about three months.  This is while I am sitting by the pool and there is nothing else to do, but bask in the sun’s rays, sip on something lovely, read some words and dip occasionally into the water in front of me.  Ahhhh.  So, my 2014 goal is to read 4 Books that Will Change the Way You See the World!  Rock on with my bad self.

Want to know which books I chose?  Scroll on to read synopses of the four books, and my timeline for finishing them.  If you’d like to join the challenge and read the books with me, feel free to let me know in the comments or the submission form below.  I’ll send email updates with discussion questions and chapter timeline goals.  Additionally, let me know if you’ve read one (or several) of these 26 books and if I chose the right ones / if you have suggestions for other good ones!  I need advice, peeps!  And, yes – this is kind of like a book club – just virtual!  



Last Lecture by Randy Pausch: I’m totally prepared to cry for this one about the Carnegie Mellon professor, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and given only a few months to live.  Projected to be a surprisingly uplifting read.  Target completion: April 2014.


Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris: After the Last Lecture, I’m planning on needing a good laugh.  This book, including Sedaris’ travels abroad and experiences in other cultures, is expected to provide those humorous belly aches.  Projected to be a fun read.  Target completion: June 2014.


The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen: I’ve heard so many great things about this book even prior to seeing this list.  I think it’s a great addition to my diet knowledge toolkit, and I can’t wait to read about its theories.  Projected to be an enlightening read.  Target completion: July 2014.


Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell: Ok, so part of my reason for wanting to read this book is because my sister owns it already.  Who doesn’t love free books?  Hehe.  But, seriously, I’ve heard it’s a really good and intriguing read about what it takes to be successful (including a lot of factors beyond our control).  Projected to be an interesting read.  Target completion: August 2014.

** Have you read any of these books?  Which books did I miss?  Did you read something lately that you really liked?**

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