Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I just finished Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. I very much enjoyed it. I bought it in hardcover because a) I'm really a fan of his work, and b) someone just recommended it to me (my brother had recommended it as well, but the timing wasn't right).

The thing about Gladwell is that he is such a smooth storyteller. He makes complex ideas appear deceptively simple. And, in truth I suppose he does oversimplify. But the ideas are quite elegant and rather important.

They are particularly important in this work, which is more sociological and gets a little bit more at inequality. In explaining all the socio-cultural factors that contribute to individual success, he makes a compelling counter-argument for why our society is stacked against so many people, and why achievement eludes so many marginalized groups.

Even if someone doesn't like the work -- is too aware of things lacking in his argument or see it as too superficial and easy -- I don't see how anyone could resent the read. It's fast, breezy and fun. And, as always, chock full of interesting conversation pieces.

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