Orbell Communications

Communicating Your Message

New Year Chaos and New Year Reading: Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

Posted by jorbell on January 14, 2010

Here we are in the middle of January and I find myself being pulled around in all directions.

The company I work for will be moving offices shortly but we still don’t know on what date which does make it tricky to plan anything. I can’t get fully into the design and layout for the new HotLINX because I’m caught up with a variety of PR work and event organisation and then we’ve still got the grim weather in the UK to deal with.

Are these excuses? OF COURSE THEY ARE!!!

But I’m fighting back! Today I started reading Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcom Gladwell on the bus into work. At least I’m using that so-called dead-time effectively and positively.

This particular book looks at how certain circumstances in formative years play a lot bigger role in individual success than we might otherwise give credit for. It also says that it isn’t just natural talent that’s the key – it takes hard work and dedication and even mentions a figure of 10,000 hours ‘practice’ in 10 years to master a particular skill.

Mozart has already been given a hard time because his early works as a six year old weren’t exactly compositions but arrangements of other people’s material. What is widely regarded as his first outstanding piece wasn’t written until he was in his early 20s. A little harsh on a child prodigy but I get his point.

These types of examples make the book kinda amusing too as it challenges the unchallegable. Stuff you used to just accept as fact is clearly a load of nonsense according to old Malcy. Anyway, from what I’ve seen so far it is a very good read. Thought-provoking and inspirational and I can whole-heartedly recommend it.

That might seem a strange statement so early in the book but I’m not new to Gladwell as an author you see. I also very much enjoyed his book The Tipping Point which explains how little things can make a big difference. Here is the overview as written on Wikipedia:

Tipping points are “the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable.” Gladwell defines a tipping point as a sociological term: “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.” The book seeks to explain and describe the “mysterious” sociological changes that mark everyday life. As Gladwell states, “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do.” The examples of such changes in his book include the rise in popularity and sales of Hush Puppies shoes in the mid-1990s and the precipitous drop in the New York City crime rate after 1990.

How are you finding the new year? Have you started well or has little changed? Do you have any book recommendations? Please post in the comments section below.


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