Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gladwellian Thinking

In the mid-eighties, when hair bands ruled the world, a young man named Malcolm leaves Canada and heads south to the U.S. to give journalism his best shot. Thanks to an uncommonly clear writing style and keen eye for a story, Malcolm quickly climbs the career ladder, landing a job at The Washington Post. After less than a decade at The Post, he reaches the pinnacle of literary journalism, The New Yorker. There, he becomes a rock star, writing articles full of big ideas about the hidden patterns of ordinary life, which then become centre stage for not one, not two, but three #1 best-selling books.

Is it chance or circumstance that helped place Malcolm in the spotlight?

The author of "The Tipping Point" and Blink" has taken the study of successful people to a new level with his latest book, "Outliers". In it, Malcolm Gladwell opines how people like Bill Gates get to rule Microsoft, the "Ethnic History of Plane Crashes", and why NHL players are overwhelmingly born in the first part of the year. In other words, what other factors besides passion, hard work and persistence explain why a chosen few in any profession or discipline achieve uncommon levels of success while many others fail to achieve their potential or worse, crash and burn.

Gladwell’s wildly popular and provocative theories about modern life have turned his name into an adjective. "Gladwellian" is used to describe concepts and catchphrases such as "thinslicing", "connectors" and "mavens" that originated with his widely read earlier work.

Today, in true Gladwellian fashion, Malcolm shares his thoughts on "Outliers" with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Several months ago, while addressing a business audience in London, the follically-endowed Gladwell expanded on what he discovered through the writing of "Outliers", by dispelling some "rumours" about a success path followed by some classic rock icons.

Does Gladwell's research on success make sense with respect to the 10,000 hour investment?

This topic has surfaced before on TSB, (Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Talent - October 16, 2008), however, Gladwell has taken it in a new and different direction with "Outliers".

Does Gladwell make you re-think what is required for you and the people around you to become truly remarkable?

"When you're rich and famous you are the dominant force in a relationship, even if you try hard not to be. I've talked of sacrificing everything for Fleetwood Mac, but I realize now that it is simply the only thing I've ever wanted to do"

Originally posted February 17, 2009

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