I'm a very slow reader--it usually takes me weeks to get through a 250 page book. It takes me a whole week (reading an hour or sometimes two a day) to get through most of The New Yorker.
But I devoured Outliers in under five days.
Michael said that Gladwell was saying some things I've been saying on this here blog, so I gave it a chance. Michael was right.
In a chapter called "Marita's Bargain," he writes:
We are so caught up in the myths of the best and the brightest and the self-made that we think outliers spring naturally from the earth. We look at the young Bill Gates and marvel that our world allowed that thirteen-year-old to become a fabulously successful entrepreneur. But that's the wrong lesson. Our world allowed only one thirteen-year-old unlimited access to a time-sharing terminal in 1968. If a million teenagers had been given the same opportunity, how many more Microsofts would we have today? To build a better world we need to replace the patchwork of lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determine success--the fortunate birth dates and the happy accidents of history--with a society that provides opportunity for all.
One seemingly disparate chapter at a time, Gladwell debunks the myth of the self-made person, and exposes all of the ways the most successful people have had advantages of one sort or another, including himself (in the last chapter) and lays bare the ways the least successful people have had disadvantages. It's a hopeful letter to us all.
Read this well-written book. When you get a chance, chime in here with your thoughts.
What implications does this book have for Quaker education? What new Light can this add to our Meetings?