Outliers By Malcolm Gladwell

 

       “Outliers” is phenomenal. Malcolm Gladwell definitely thinks beyond the ordinary. His mind is creative- very creative. He is a non-conformist. I am attracted to people that can connect the world through their minds, and apply A into B, and B into C, and C into A. I once said, “It takes a deep thinker to understand that the mind is an adventure on its own, and if every human could explore the creativity of the mind, this world will be transformed every single day.”


            Here are a few of my favourite Malcolm G quotes from the book:

“Outliers are those who have been given opportunities-and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.”

“The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot. It makes a difference when and where we grew up.”

“Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities.”

“Achievement is talent plus preparation.”

“…If you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires.”

“It is those who are successful, in other words, who are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success. It’s the rich who get the biggest tax breaks. It’s the best students who get the best teaching and most attention. And it’s the biggest nine-and ten-year olds who get the most coaching and practice. Success is the result of what sociologists like to call ‘accumulative advantage’.”


            Once upon a time, I decided my long-term goal was to transform Nigeria’s health sector to the best of my ability. In 2012, I won a prize for being the third best student in Nigeria for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination out of over 1.6 million students. Right after this honour, I won a full scholarship to study abroad in an accredited American college, and I’ve been here ever since. I am where I am today because of my determination, but also because of opportunity. The fact that I was the third best student in my country does not mean I was smarter than anyone; it simply means I was presented which an opportunity to build on my education, and I snatched the opportunity. I am dedicated to a life of service because I see myself as a representative of the underrepresented talented African child – one that never even got a chance to understand the importance of education. I grew up in a family where education was a big deal. My late grandfather was a teacher, my dad is a retired architect and my mom is a deputy principal. I had the opportunity to value education. I had the opportunity to have ambition. I have talent, but there are many other African girls back at home that are equally talented, but don’t have the opportunity to discover their talents.

           When Malcolm Gladwell wrote, “The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot. It makes a difference where and where we grew up”, I was moved, just because I have been thinking in this direction almost all my life, but never expected anyone to write a whole book about it. He also said, “Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities.” Gladwell backed up his point by a lot of research involving interviews with great people. My favorite was the Bill Gates story. Gates had a rare opportunity to access a PC during a time when computers were still scarce, and this gave him an opportunity to practice programming continuously, which was not common for a kid his age. He seized the opportunity and unknowingly began to fulfil the 10,000hr rule.

Gladwell’s 10,000hr rule explains that mastery comes with practicing for 10,000hrs. However, the big question is: how many people are given the opportunity to practice for 10,000hrs? Success is a perfect mix of OPPORTUNITY and PRACTICE- DELIBERATE PRACTICE. So, do not look down on anyone except you are lifting them up. Do not judge anyone. As Malcolm X said, “Don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.”

Have you read Outliers? Please share your thoughts if you have.

P.S- This piece was written by a friend @chinelo_ib. I’ve learnt so much from this girl she doesn’t even know it. She’s an avid book reader who is very passionate about life in itself and is working towards transforming Nigeria’s health sector. Chinelo is such an amazing person who has influenced me to read more. If you enjoy reading or would like to develop this (amazing) habit be sure to stay tuned for more reviews! 

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