Outliers, aka “Malcolm Gladwell does not like stupid random crap”

Author’s note: This is my new way of doing book reviews. I wait a few weeks, then write the review without reopening the book. This way you only hear about what really stuck with me.

Why do you care about this book?

This book is about what makes some people world-changingly awesome, and how to change the world in a way that gives more people the opportunity to be awesome.

Success = Opportunity + Motivation.

Wait, don’t you need skill for success? Yeah, but if you have the motivation to acquire that skill and the opportunity to acquire the skill, you will.

People have this myth that motivation is all you need, but that’s bullshit. You also need opportunity.

Stupid random crap

There’s a bunch of stupid random crap that can keep you from having those opportunities. Like being born in the wrong month if you’re a hockey player. If you’re older than all the other kids in your class, you’ll do better because there’s a feedback effect. You do a little better because you’re older, you receive praise and additional opportunities, then you do even better. You spiral upward and the younger kids don’t.

This is true in school too, but it’s not true for basketball. Why? Because hockey and school require limited resources, but basketball is pretty open. Access to a hockey rink or a teacher’s positive attention is limited, but basketball courts are easily accessible.

Sexism and racism are other examples of stupid random crap that keep people from success for no good reason. If we as a society give as many people as possible the opportunity to be truly awesome, our talent will rise to the top instead of being smushed by stupid random crap.

Malcolm’s moral of the story

Malcolm Gladwell does not like stupid random crap. He wants to get rid of it. Very badly. As soon as possible.

The 10,000 hour rule

It takes 10,000 hours to become world-class at something. The superstars in any field are the ones who get their 10,000 hours in before anyone else gets a chance to. The Beatles had this crazy gig where they were paid to play musick for like 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, or something insane. Unsurprisingly, they got really good.

In musick, there’s plenty of room for competition and cooperation, but if you want to be the world’s best something-or-other in a more competitive field, you need to be in the right place at the right time. You need to start developing a new skill when the skill itself has just come into existence. Like Bill Gates getting his 10,000 hours of computer programming practice before most people even had access to a computer.

Pace’s moral of the story

What’s the next big thing? What’s a new field of expertise that’s just barely coming into existence now? If you can figure out what it is, and if you’re motivated to become 10,000 hours’ worth of awesome at it, then you can be a superstar.

Feel clear and confident about your direction in life!


Do you wish you could follow your heart, but it seems impossible? I can help you find the clarity and courage you need.

In other words, I can help you find your path.