As a children's librarian, I rarely read books for adults, and even less frequently do I enjoy them. I joined a book club six months ago thinking that I would start reading just one adult book per month, but instead I skipped meetings and convinced everyone to read children's books for July. (By the way, I'll let you know how that meeting turns out!)
So, my hubby was very surprised when I started an adult book and he was even more surprised to find out that it was non-fiction!
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell isn't your typical dry, fact-laden non-fiction tome. It's quite entertaining and fascinating. Basically, Gladwell argues that who you become is based on certain lucky breaks. What makes a great hockey player? Practice of course. But who gets chosen for the most elite teams? More often than not, the oldest kids on the team, meaning that birth date suddenly becomes a contributing factor to success.
Gladwell looks at the Beatles, Bill Gates, prominent lawyers and athletes to see if they were given some type of advantage. For instance, all the prominent robber barons-the Rockafellers, JP Morgan, Vandebilts, etc.-were born in the same 10-15 year time period. This allowed them to be the perfect age when our society was changing and growing. The same can be said for giants in the software and computing world. They were too born in the same timeframe, so they were just young and crazy enough to take advantage of the situation.
True, statistics can be bent and manipulated to say nearly anything you want, so maybe take the information with a grain of salt, but it is still very interesting stuff. No, success isn't random, you do have to work very hard, but their are some lucky breaks and circumstances that can help hard work and ability along.
I really liked Gladwell's writing style. It was conversational at times, and the stories that he told about individuals painted a very clear picture. For someone afraid of non-fiction big-kids-books (my term for adult books), this was a great read. Also after reading so much fantasy and messy teen drama, it's nice to read a book at my level, with real facts, and no vampires!
Malcolm Gladwell has published several other books, which I'll check out when I can. This might be the perfect break from the world of children's literature.