Outliers Summary – Success Factor Books by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is a book about individuals who did things that are beyond ordinary. From rock stars, business tycoons, to programmers, the author uncovers the secrets between the best and the rest. But, he emphasizes that how people approach success is profoundly wrong.

So, are you interested to learn the concept in Outliers better than ever? Continue reading the Outliers summary to get what you need.

Outliers Summary

Outliers: The Story of Success is an interesting book that explores the hidden secrets behind people who achieved massive success. Gladwell shows that besides hard work and talent, there is much more to having success. While I found some parts a bit repetitive, you can skim them.

outliers book summary - The Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell

Overall, Outliers has great lessons that make the book worthy of reading. The book is all about people who stand out from the rest. They are the top educators, professionals, scientists, innovators, billionaires, politicians, businessmen, and athletes.

If you are looking to define success, these people come first. And, they are the ones that ordinary people look up to. Whenever you hear stories about outliers, it emphasizes individual effort.

Gladwell argues that there is always a different version of the story. While individual effort counts for a lot of things, it is only one reason to achieve success. This is what I have tried to tell you through the Outliers summary.

Upbringing, opportunity, birthdays, luck, and other contributing factors play significant roles as well. Also, the book gives you an idea about the law of cumulative advantage. It means, if you had an advantage over your peers from an early stage in life, it leads to differences in performance that tend to exist for longer periods.

Main ideas from Outliers summarized

Here is the summary of the main ideas from Outliers.

  1. Your skills won’t be useful after attaining a certain threshold

To debunk the most popular myth of being a self-made person, Gladwell looked at how much skill an individual might need to make them a huge success. There is no denying that practice matters, but there are limitations when it is about achieving success.

Hence, when you cross a certain threshold with your abilities and skills, anything, in addition, won’t make things too good. One good example is that after 1980, the average height of a basketball player should be 6 feet and 7 inches. So, what would happen if you are 7 inches tall?

You may have thought that the extra inches might benefit you. But in reality, those additional inches won’t give you an upper hand over other players. After you have reached a specific level of expertise, factors such as social skills, networking abilities, and lucky breaks can influence your career.

  1. If you are born in the wrong month, it can put you at a disadvantage

It’s a big deal in school if you have dated a girl who is 2 years younger than you. But when you are 40 and take your wife to a social gathering, nobody would be surprised to know whether she’s 38 or 42.

That’s because relative age matters. And, it becomes a deciding factor when you are young. Precisely, how old you are might give you an advantage or disadvantage over your peers.

Gladwell took the example of professional hockey players in Canada. He found out that players who were born in the first half of the year, end up in NHL. Furthermore, more than two-thirds of players have birthdays in the first quarter compared to the last.

The annual cutoff date for the players is January 1st. It means that kids who were born in December have to wait for a whole year. If you are 9 years old, you barely can stand against a 10-year old boy in terms of speed and strength.

This difference is huge and it can make for up to 12.5% of your whole life.

  1. Also, it matters where you come from

Gladwell says there’s a good reason why Asians are good at math and there are several factors that favor them. Asian languages help children to learn to add numbers without learning how to count.

Secondly, farming rice has induced a greater sense of discipline. It needs patience, coordination, control, and precision to produce rice, which is harder compared to farming corn or wheat. Also, the results are rewarding as well.

On the other hand, European farmers are robbed often by greedy landlords, and leaves them less motivated to perform their best. So, math is hard just like farming rice. You need to stick with the problems and allow your brain to work.

Who should read vs. who shouldn’t read Outliers?

If you are looking to find answers about what makes a person successful or how some people have achieved success, this book is for you. The best part about this book is the 10,000 hours rule, which is, the time taken for a person to master a specific skill and achieve success.

So, when you are reading this book, I would like you to apply those concepts to success. However, if you are looking for some miracle or shortcut to achieve massive success in your life, it is better not to read this book. I hope that I have made that clear through the Outliers summary.

Review of the Outliers

I am really glad that I have read the book and have shared the Outliers summary through this post. It is a unique and refreshing way how the author counter-attacked with logical arguments to the most common belief of what it needs to become a self-made man.

I loved reading the book and would suggest you do the same if you are looking for genuine reasons. Overall, Outliers is a great book that everyone should find interesting, especially if you believed in the myth. I can vouch that you can learn a lot of new things from this book.

Should I read the complete book?

Yes, I encourage you to buy and read the complete book. Also, you got an idea about the book through this post on Outliers summary.

The book explains why the concept of a self-made man is nothing but a myth. The truth behind the most successful people in their field is often the result of rare opportunities combined with sheer luck and other factors. And, most of them can’t be controlled.

Marilyn Nissen
Written by Marilyn Nissen

Marilyn Nissen is the founder of BestSellerSummary.com, a highly reputable book summary and reviews website. With over a decade of experience in summarizing and reviewing books, Marilyn is a trusted authority in the book industry.