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Another book review – Malcolm Gladwell’s OUTLIERS

 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.

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Jazzed about this wonderful review of my upcoming book!

Gray Lady of Long Branch book cover front and spine
The Gray Lady of Long Branch (Four Pillars) Fiction, 283 pages, ISBN: ISBN: 978-0-9857093-8-9

Disclaimer: The reviewer now writes fiction and has a terrific blog for writers on which he reviews books, dissects the writing life and more. But in my former life as a journalist, Gary was my editor. He notes that at the end of the review, so read it for yourself and see what you think.  If you’d like the short version, here are the Cliff Notes:

In this case, Satchell’s novel focuses on the lives of those coming and going at a grand Victorian beach house in New Jersey. Built in the 1910s, the house serves as the unique setting and narrator (yes, narrator!) of more than a dozen vignettes within its walls, taking readers on an emotional journey through time. The stories relive milestones in the lives of the DiStefano family who owns the house, friends, and visitors who rent the house for weekend getaways or vacations.

The stories are often warm and uplifting, and sometimes sad. Satchell excels at drawing readers into the lives of her characters and making you care about them. The characters, and their experiences, are all easily relatable to our own stories, our own personal triumphs, challenges, and tragedies.

And in case you can’t suspend your disbelief that a house can act as a narrator, stick with it. All will be made clear in the end.

Satchell has always had a knack for telling stories in a compassionate way and for letting the passions of her characters define them, and that skill is evident here. Prior to crafting fictional stories as a novelist, she chronicled real-life stories as a reporter for The Tennessean in Nashville and other area newspapers.