Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Book review of the month

Kevin Jackson in the Sunday Times on Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point:
Has it ever struck you that, had Neil Armstrong been born in the 17th century, his chances of becoming the first man on the moon would have been severely diminished? That remarkably few medieval peasants ever made killings on the stock market? That the drive and attack of the Rolling Stones’s singles might have been a bit dampened if their lead instruments had been crumhorns or flageolets? If so, you will find yourself in enthusiastic agreement with the first half of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, which sets out to demolish the myth – as he sees it – that success (and/or genius) is either a happy fluke of nature or the product of solitary, unaided talent. Nope, he says. You have to be born at the right moment; at the right place; to the right family (posh usually helps); and then you have to work really, really hard. That’s about it. I have just saved you 17 quid.
That’s just the first paragraph. If you want more, it’s here.

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