Outliers – The story of success : Excellent book.
Malcolm Gladwell, has connected the events that happen around us but we don’t realise the deep meaning behind them.
I really liked the message that it is not just the brightest and the best that get to be successful in life, there are more factors like opportunities, hard work, where we come from etc. The examples of Bill Gates and Bill Joy getting an opportunity to practice and hone their skill is really appropriate. But that does not take credit away from them. The most important lesson is the 10,000 hours of practice. This was so true in case of Beatles, Joe Flom also. One can say that getting an opportunity is matter of luck but willingness to put in hard work and doing it is entirely in our hands.
Similarly I liked the example of Cris Langan – one might have very very high IQ, but that does not guarantee the success in life. The example of Oppenheimer highlights other part of the story – you need to be able to communicate, present your story to be successful in life.
I was most impressed by the KIPP story. Not just the hardwork students were putting in and getting the resulsts but the fact that irrespective of your background you could rise in life if right environment is generated.
From the hardwork perspective, the life of Chinese rice farmer and life of !Kung bushmen of Kalahari Desert in Botswana is a striking example. How the nature and the work that we do to strive in the nature around us shapes our thinking, our attitude towards life and how it make us successful or not in different fields.
Finally the study of PDI – Power Distance Index – shapes our communication and what effect it has on work. It is so true that our environment and our upbringing shapes our communication and our mannerism – how we talk to elders, with people at higher position and in social context, what words do we use etc. And when we are in the new environment those words, that mannerism takes entirely different meaning.
While everyone in the international business need to study this and adapt to the ways of communication around us, I feel the leaders and managers and all the decision makers need to learn it even more than others.