The subtitle of this book is called “The Story of Success” and throughout the book Gladwell tackles seemingly unrelated happenings in life and shows how those very circumstances contributed to your success or non-success.
For example, hockey players. A few years ago it was discovered that almost every hockey player that was on the Junior Hockey League in Canada was born in January, February or March almost without exception.
Why is this? Is it because those born in January, February or March are special? No, it’s simply that the cut-off date for age-class hockey is January 1. Therefore, when the recruiters come around they are looking for the bigger and more coordinated players.
Once the players are chosen, they are then given opportunities for playing in 50-75 games instead of 20. They get better coaching. When the teenager first starts to play, it’s not that he’s so much better but by the time he’s 13 or 14 and has had the benefit of extra coaching and more hours playing, he’s the one more likely to get drawn for the Major Junior A league and from there into the big leagues.
These kids are not necessarily more talented than the others but because they were born in the “right months”, they get the “lucky” break.
This book also addresses why the culture of Korean pilots were causing them to have so many plane crashes. Fascinating? Oh, yes!
Did you know that those who are dominant in the computer industry were born in the 50′s? Why was Bill Gates successful? He didn’t arise out of a vacuum to become a leader in the computer industry. He was born in 1954 and his high school was one of the only ones in the country to have a computer. This was a time when computers cost a lot of money and even all universities didn’t have one but Bill Gates’ high school did.
Bill Gates spent hours and hours there and then when Popular Mechanics announced that they had a build it yourself kit for computers, the world was ready for it, and Bill Gates who had put in his time was ready, too.
There are so many fascinating tidbits like this throughout the book that I could hardly set it down.
Referring back to the story of Bill Gates… Malcolm Gladwell says that if you put in 10,000 hours towards anything, you will be an expert at it.
That’s exactly what Bill Gates did – in a time when no one believed it woud go anywhere and that computers were only for the big businesses, Bill Gates didn’t care. He was interested in the computer and spent hours and hours and plenty of nights working and learning at his highschool.
These people put in their time and when opportunity came, they were ready to step into it.
As a christian we know that “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD…” Psalms 37:23 And we also know that nothing happens by chance, but I still find it fascinating to see how circumstances come about.
I loved this book and am eagerly waiting to read “The Tipping Point and “Blink” also written by Gladwell.
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