This was my first introduction to Malcolm Gladwell’s works and I was compelled to read it based on the theory behind it. A wonk by hobby myself, I love the idea of finding patterns those who don’t bother to look deeply below the surface might miss. This book is all about that kind of thing – patterns that could well be missed but when cobbled together, provide an aha moment about something. In this case the aha moments are there to identify a link between gigantic and known successes — be they professional Canadian Hockey players or The Beatles, or some Asian countries’ students penchant to outperformance others on standardized math tests.
The version I “read” was the unabridged audiobook read by Gladwell himself. I think hearing it in his own voice, in his own inflection was interesting, like being in a lecture hall with him right there, delivering the findings live. Be warned about considering that option, though, because it’s the kind of book you want to pick up and refer to again and again. To marvel over certain passages and certain findings and wonder at them and share them with others.
Gladwell makes an astonishing, provocative, and, dare I suggest sacrilegious (in this day and age), assertion — that a highly successful individual’s prowess is not built upon just the hard work and rugged individualism of that one person. Rather, he suggests, it is built upon the circumstances — be they the societal timing, the culture, the season, the access to resources or, even in one instance, the prejudices — in which the individual finds him or herself, that deserve the credit.
I’m taking an agnostic view on that assertion, and only suggest you listen or read this with an open mind. If you do, I think you’ll find it a highly entertaining and very interesting read with a lot to mull over once you’ve reached the end.
Cross-posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads.