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well asians have higher standards for their maths. i did my primary school in UK and when i had to prepare for secondary school entrance exam in hong kong, I had to catch up on 2 years of maths

Diana Leyden

I am a Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Conn. School of Law. I assigned your book, Outliers, to an advanced class. Our clinic represents pro bono low income taxpayers who have problems with the IRS. We have been trying to see if any of your explanations give us different ways to view why so many of our clients cannot navigate the IRS. Would you be receptive to receiving writting comments/thoughts on your book?


A moderately good job not taking the Pinker Bait. Distance.

Beach Boy Fatty

i'm gonna make my own post about it

D. Harrold

There is certainly sufficient evidence available touting the benefits of rote learning to things like math. However, rote learners typically do not seem to be very good at looking at a situation and determining what to do next. Case in point, Asian airline pilots know the procedure books backward and forward, but as a group they struggle to quickly and accurately develop a workable solution to an emergency situation. Conversly U.S. airline pilots know enough about the procedures to find them when necessary but are excellent at quickly devising a workable emergency plan - even when they fly 150 miles past their destination.


When some students want to uderstand just about the non-plagiarized essay they should buy do my essay associated with this topic. Just because the persuasive essay writing is a really solid thing.

Dan L.

If it wasn't already mentioned, you may want to check out The Teaching Gap, by Stigler and Hiebert. It describes a study of videos taken in classrooms in Germany, Japan, and the United States and the explores what the results of the research say about the performance gap.

Brad Hollister

I think there should be a new book about the little tribes in our free market society called companies. It could be entitled, "Little Kingdoms."

Our government policy can be directed by scholars and sociologist driven by moral/ethical "correctness," but the vast majority of inequality and inequity occurs in the hidden aspects of society, where some of the most primitive human aggressions and manipulations form the power structure for working America. (For instance, there have been references to IQ's correlation to physical height and one's earning potential. Many more examples abound.)

Ana C. Andrea R (profe Vicky)

This book explains the history of success and how success is presented differently in different types of people.

The book begins with an investigation of Gladwell on why a number of Canadian hockey players were born in the early months of the calendar year. The answer, he says, is that since hockey leagues determine eligibility for youth per calendar year, children born January 1 play in the same league as those born on 31 December that year. Because adolescents born earlier this year are larger and more mature than their younger competitors, often identified as best performers, leading to additional training and a higher probability of being selected for elite leagues hockey. This phenomenon in which "the rich richer and the poor poorer" is called "cumulative advantage" by Gladwell.

Malcolm Gladwell interviews Bill Gates and focuses on the opportunities given to him throughout his life that led to its success. Gladwell argues that greatness requires a lot of time, using the source of the musical talents of the Beatles and computer savvy of Bill Gates as examples.

Gladwell interviews Gates, who says the only access to a computer at a time when there were common helped him succeed. Without such access, Gladwell says that Gates would still be "a very intelligent, charming and driven by professional success," Gladwell explains that to reach the 10,000 hour rule, which considers the key to success in any field, is simply a matter of practice a specific task can be performed with 20 hours of work a week for 10 years. He also notes that he himself took exactly 10 years to meet the 10,000 hour rule, during his short stay in The American Spectator and his recent work at The Washington Post.

Gladwell constantly reminds the reader that genius is not the only or even the most important thing in determining the success of a person. Using an anecdote to illustrate his claim, he discusses the history of Christopher Langan, a man who ended up working at a horse farm in rural Missouri, despite having an IQ of 195 (Einstein's was 150). Gladwell notes that Langan has not achieved a high level of success by the environment he grew up in. No one in life with Langan, and nothing in their training to help you take advantage of his exceptional gifts, he had to find success for yourself

Noting that define innate natural abilities that should have helped so successful in life, Gladwell argues that Oppenheimer made education a fundamental difference in their lives. Oppenheimer grew up in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Manhattan, was the son of a successful businessman and painter, attended the School of Ethical Culture Fieldston on Central Park West, and was granted a childhood of concerted cultivation. The extreme values Oppenheimer argues that these opportunities given the opportunity to develop practical intelligence necessary for success.

Before the book ends, Gladwell argues on the basis only of his mother, of Jamaica, Joyce, a descendant of African slaves. Joyce attended University College London, where he met and fell in love with Graham Gladwell, a young mathematician. After moving with Canada, Graham became a math teacher and Joyce, a writer and therapist. While Gladwell acknowledges her mother's ambition and intelligence, which also points to opportunities offered to their parents that helped them live a better life than other descendants of slaves in the West Indies. Gladwell explains that, in 1700, owner of a white plantation in Jamaica purchased a slave and became his mistress. This act inadvertently save the slave and his offspring from a life of brutal servitude. As a descendant of slaves, this time, luck led to Gladwell's position relative success in life. Summing up the publication, Gladwell points out that success is not unusual or mysterious. It relies on a network of benefits and inheritance, some deserved, some not, some cattle, some just luck, "and at the end of the book, remarks," outliers was not intended as autobiography. But it can be read as an extended apology for my success. "

John Stallcup

The subject of Asian education was covered well by Jim Stigler's 1991 book "The Learning Gap". Jim also created the TIMSS video series of classroom practice in the US as compared to other countries. Read everything Jim Stigler has written and you will have a better understanding of the granular components of why half the freshman class at Berkeley are Asian. I would love to have Malcom and Jim meet and talk about it. That would make a great article. Outliers is a great book.


Back in several east coast US schools, I remember having to memorize a fair amount of trivial things, but was never taught how to memorize. Maybe the Asian kids are taught that. It's helpful to have some things committed to memory. I still have the multiplication table and quadratic forumla in my head, and they're still useful. I just don't think it was worth my time back then to memorize state nicknames, unless it had been done as an example for the purpose of teaching me how to memorize.

Alexei Bogdanov, Human Science Research Director, Mars Inc

Hi Malcolm, truly enjoyed reading the blink and nearly finished outliers. I wish they will be re-issued over and over again with some more great insights that you have. One little remark I have: in Ouliers, paperback UK edition, page 237 where you refer to the work of David Arkush, comparing Russian and Chinese proverbs. You refer to Russian proverb "if the God does not bring it, the earth will not give it" as a sign of pessimistic repressive feudal system where peasants have no reason to believe in their own work. And then you compare it with Chinese one, inferring the latter is a symbol of the hard work and believe in results attitude. Well, it is clearly not a very well thought through statement. Peasants in Russia worked hard and if you read history you will notice that Russia was supplying grain to all Europe right until the end of 1950's, and it was even so idiotic that somewhere on the soviet-polish border to trains would meet in June 1941- out of Russia with grain, into Russia already with Nazis. So how can it be possible if Russians were so lazy and only counted on God? Contrary to what you state, there is a saying : Count on God, but don't screw up! And the latter is much more known and popular even these days. I am not sure in your example you have properly interpreted it. Nobody is denying hard work. Quite the opposite, the God's will and hard work make the result- that is what is it about.
Whilst I am based in Belgium and sort of understand why some non-Russian see or perceive Russia they way they do- and- very often clearly in dark light, I still find it unfair to make short-sighted statements about Russia's history. You even state Tsar being one of the richest people on earth of all times, this wealth is not just land, it is value-added products, only available through hard labour.

I do hope in new editions you will rectify the above-mentioned reference.

Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss it any further. I am in the business of TV effectiveness testing through the use of cognitive sciences.

Good luck and we hope to see more of your brilliant books.


I appreciate and agree with what Malcolm wrote and the comments of people who preceded this. I would like to add: (1) nagging parents
(notice two parens!) in my case (2) exposure to role models (3) lower the "class" you are from the greater sucess and satisfaction. These had major impact on me an average HS student not having good memory or study skills.

Margaret Blank

Hi Malcolm

I saw you being interviewd on tv about Outliers when we were on holiday in the US last year and phoned back to my college librarian in the UK to make sure he had the book by the time I got home.

I wasn't disappointed. I've recommended it to everyone I get to talk books to and will keep on saying it.

There may be points I would argue but the very fact that you make a case so well for hard work and opportunity is what makes the book so important.

I work in a Further Education college, (Age 16+ and mainly vocational courses like welding and childcare) and many of our students come from disadvantaged backgrounds. They also tend to have poor literacy and numeracy standards. As a result, no matter how bright they may be, the opportunities are few and far between. (Chris Langan could have been one of ours and no-one would have noticed he was a genius!)

You really gave me something to think about and I'm going to read everything else you've written now - although I might skip the detailed basketball stuff, it bewilders me!

So thanks, I enjoyed Outliers and am looking forward to more.

Margaret Blank

Mark Gutentag

I am reading Tipping Point. Just curious why you spent so much time on Paul Revere when it looks like his role was blown way out of proportion and was unknown until a poem 90 years later, and that he was but 1 of many riders. Are you sure of your facts about Paul Revere?

perry timberlake

December 17, 2001 your article on Stanley Kaplan and the SAT: it seems to me that 3 balls with 3 colors can give 9 possible color combinations, not 10 as your article stated.


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I think doing this at a young age allows kids to memorize easier and perform better in math when they are required to remember equation after equation.

Ade Awo

Rather late in the day to be making a comment in 2010! But thats when I got drawn to the book. Wonderful, enlightening and thought provoking stuff.
Just to add that you didn't seem to have given much credit to your great great great great grandmother other than acknowledging her West African roots. Being widely read as you are, I will be surprised if you haven't come across the iconic Chinua Achebe book 'Things Fall Apart'. There you should be a able to figure out the contribution of the 'lady from the Alligator Pond'. But I suppose it would be mostly apocryphal, right? Well enjoy the read just in case you haven't already. As follow up, Nigerians are found almost everywhere on the globe and if there is one in the remotest part of Siberia or such like place, the ethnic origin will be Igbo! Sure thing.


You write well will be waiting for your new publications.


Happy New Year! Happiness and success in 2011.

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  • I'm a writer for the New Yorker magazine, and the author of four books, "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference", "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" and "Outliers: The Story of Success." My latest book, "What the Dog Saw" is a compilation of stories published in The New Yorker. I was born in England, and raised in southwestern Ontario in Canada. Now I live in New York City.

    My great claim to fame is that I'm from the town where they invented the BlackBerry. My family also believes (with some justification) that we are distantly related to Colin Powell. I invite you to look closely at the photograph above and draw your own conclusions.

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