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  • How to become very successful

    Posted on August 12th, 2009 Peter Tjernström No comments

    If you’re a very successful person, you’d probably like to think of yourself as a gifted but self-made and hard-working individual. In his latest book Outliers, Malcom Gladwell takes a slightly different view and describes, by looking at e.g. differences in circumstances and timing, how social factors interact with sufficiently intelligent, devoted and hard-working people to make them exceptional, to make them the outliers.

    UK cover version

    UK cover version

    In a nation where the idea of the American Dream still prevails, this book has ignited some heated discussions. It often seems like readers have interpreted Gladwell as giving the social factors too much weight. My interpretation of Gladwell’s point of view is that while there are many who possess the intellect, skills (not always the ones we think of) and devotion to become true outliers, not everyone can become one. These are necessary but not sufficient criteria. The circumstances and timing also have to be such that the skill set and devotion pays off. A person with Bill Gates’ skills and build wouldn’t have particularly successful if born in a medieval village in Scandinavia when the Viking leaders were raiding and fighting for power.

    Read the book, it’s full of insight and can alter your view of the world. Here are some comments from Malcom Gladwell himslef and from others.

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