• Christopher G. Moore


Gladwell has authored a couple of books that received wide international attention: Blink and The Tipping Point. His latest book is titled Outliers. In a profile titled Geek Pop Star, New York Magazine, goes inside Gladwell’s world, talk to his friends, analysis his personality, his early life in Ontario, his work habits for the New Yorker magazine. In his new book he asks question about how people like Bill Gates came to do what he did. Gladwell examines various elements such as talent, family connections, friends and luck. Merit alone rarely accounts for a great success.

“What’s a put-upon guru to do? Gladwell isn’t about to give back his advances or stop speaking at business conferences, but he is trying to take his writing in a more meaningful direction. Where he once focused on cool-hunting and T-shirts in his New Yorker articles, now it’s IQ tests and pension systems. “There is a kind of underlying social vision in a lot of his pieces,” says Henry Finder, his editor at the magazine. “The basic vision says how we fare in life isn’t just determined by ourselves and our character, it’s determined by a lot of other things that are beyond our control.” Gladwell has expanded that social vision into a book that he describes as “more political” and “a little angrier” than his previous efforts. “The interesting part of this now is trying to figure out what you do with the idea,” he says, explaining the new approach he took with Outliers, “as opposed to before, where the interesting part was just explaining the idea.” Bruce Headlam, a childhood friend of Gladwell’s who’s now an editor at the New York Times, calls Outliers “the book that’s closest to Malcolm’s heart.”

The article also discusses the idea that it takes 10,000 hours to become a professional. Whether it is golf, ice hockey, flying or writing fiction those are the hours that must be paid to compete at a professional level. Like with most hard or difficult paths, people look for shortcuts. Maybe Mozart and a handful of others are the exception that proves the rule.

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