In a world that glorifies the successful, that puts the greats of life on a pedestal, that worships those who stand above the rest, the concept of success should not be such a hard concept to grasp. Every newspaper covers the extraordinary, those who are different, above the world we live in. This is why they are making news. Every child has posters of role models in their room. Youth look up to the extraordinary because they are the image of excellence and of hope. This is a world that idolizes and extols those who stand out. The successful are the center of the cultural universe. Therefore, their backgrounds and success stories should be just as prominent as their actual success, should it not?
Yet, here is a bestselling, award-winning author, Malcolm Gladwell, writing a 300 page epic of persuasion about the anatomy of success. Perhaps, are the narratives that build these success icons more complex than the icons themselves? Are the steps toward getting there more intricate than the steps involved in actually being there?
In Outliers, Gladwell assumes his role as society’s grand synthesizer and takes on the task of answering these questions. And while he is able to paint the theories of philosophy and sociology with a clarifying spectrum of synthesis, the author falls in attempting too much clarity, which makes his argument seem close-minded and weak. Gladwell writes with a captivating sense of entertainment, insight, and lucidity, however the problems lies in the fact that success is not so lucid.
In addition, the entire book is based on an American misconception that Gladwell points out and then confronts with a nine chapter counter argument. Detracting from this argument though, which is impressively woven, is the fact that the misconception which Gladwell stands to combat is mistakenly conceived by Gladwell himself. He creates an opposition to his argument, giving himself a self-created purpose for writing.
Nonetheless, this purpose remains strong and...