Malcolm Gladwell. Outliers, the Story of Success.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Hina, Hafsa
Pub Date: 06/22/2009
Publication: Name: Pakistan Development Review Publisher: Pakistan Institute of Development Economics Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Business, international; Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 Reproduced with permission of the Publications Division, Pakistan Institute of Development Economies, Islamabad, Pakistan. ISSN: 0030-9729
Issue: Date: Summer, 2009 Source Volume: 48 Source Issue: 2
Topic: NamedWork: Outliers (Nonfiction work)
Persons: Reviewee: Gladwell, Malcolm
Accession Number: 242017208
Full Text: Malcolm Gladwell. Outliers, the Story of Success. London: Penguin Group. 2008. 309 pages. Pak Rs 995.00.

Why some people outperform all others and what is behind some highly unusual occurrences is the subject matter of 'Outliers' written by Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Tipping Point and Blink. The author follows a journalistic style of writing to explain the secret of successful people. He uses many examples, stories, case studies and interviews to suggest what kind of people outperform. Gladwell argues that intelligence is not the only key to success, rather success is a combination of ability, opportunity and a particular environment in which the Outliers (extraordinary people) grow up.

Success also depends upon access to opportunity, the author argues. To support his contention he mentions that the famous IT guys, like Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer and Eric Schmidt, were in their early twenties when the IT revolution began in 1975. These guys were well positioned then to take advantage of the new opportunities in the IT field. However the author suggests that the mere access to opportunity is not enough--opportunity can be translated into success only with hard work. The author cites the example of Bill Joy and Bill Gates to prove his point. Bill Joy had spent around 10,000 hours doing computer programming in University of Michigan. Later his extensive practice enabled him to write the architecture language, which earned him a fortune. Similarly, Bill Gates had spent thousands of hours behind the computer since the age of 13.

The second part of the book implicitly argues that cultural heterogeneity adversely influences organisational work performance. The author cites the case of relatively higher level of plane crashes faced by the Korean airline. Deeper analysis of the causes of air crashes revealed that pilot, co-pilot and aviation officials belonged to different cultures. This cultural heterogeneity made communication difficult amongst them and thereby contributed to some air crashes. The Korean airline acknowledged that culture is at the root of some of their problems. The airline upgraded its safety standards and was bestowed with an award, in 2006, for its good safety standards and transformation.
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