Life on the front porch

Faith, life, kids & bikes

Outliers – My book reflection


I’ve read a bunch of books this year and this was probably my favourite.  Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  First of all, an outlier is someone (or a group) who out performs others in an exceptional way.  Some of the examples from the book are: The Beatles, Bill Gates, Jewish lawyers in New York, violent hillbillies in the southern states, hockey players born January to April, The KIPP program and rice farmers.

What Gladwell found and what I found memorable:

1. 10,000 hours – The number of hours a person must spend on a subject or skill in order to have full mastery.  Outliers come from this group, but not all those with mastery are outliers.
– what is it that I want to be excellent at?
– what is it that I have put 10,000 hrs into?
– it’s a non negotiable as to being an Outlier but not a guarantee

2. KIPP – an inner-city school program that pushes it’s students specifically in the area of math through grades 5-8.  The hours are long, the students even go to school on Saturdays and stay up late to keep up with homework.  The ones who are picked and accept excel.
– the hard work and dedication needed to excel is possible
– no one achieves beyond where they are envisioned

3. No Outlier is purely based on the person (Bill Gate’s example)
– family – his mom was on a parent council that bought a computer for their school (in 1965?)
– genetics – interested in technology and a knack for understanding
– birth year – what if he was born 1 year earlier or later?  Key opportunities would have been lost
– luck of location – just happened to live near one of the only hubs on the planet

4. Outliers are predictable
– you can’t be anything you want to be, but you can predict who will be exceptional.  (few pro hockey players coming out of the Dominican Republic, but there are some fine baseball players)
– we can increase the chance of someone being an outlier by changing some simple factors like – practice time, vision, changing birthday cutoffs for sport participation.

Have you read Outliers?  I’d love to hear your opinion.

What’s the best you’ve read this year?


Author: Robb Massey

I'm a husband, dad, pastor and a coach. I love following Jesus, riding my bike and having fun with my family. We live in wonderful Winnipeg, Manitoba in the prairie heartland of Canada

3 thoughts on “Outliers – My book reflection

  1. Thanks Rob! Good post. Working on my 10,000 hours for preaching. I think I have 9,500 to go.

    Jon Kroeker

  2. That’s a noble aim and I’m cheering you on.

    I now have new ammunition to keep my kids practicing – it’s the only thing that will get them better at music/math/reading/spelling/washing dishes…

  3. Pingback: A House of Prayer that Became a Mission Base « Life on the front porch

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