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An outlier perspective

In Not so random posts on December 30, 2010 at 1:15 PM

      Just finished reading an informative piece by Malcolm Gladwell, “Outliers”, and I believe a lot of people may have read the book way before I did. The reason I would say so is because the 10,000 hour rule of thumb for mastery in anything had come up in multiple conversational occasions I was involved this past few months. Just today I had the chance to REALLY spend time indulging in the book. Every time I sat down with the book I felt inculcated because of the richness of information/observation/analysis presented by the author. This book opened my eyes. Things like relative-age effect, Matthew effect, and the Chinese rice paddy theory do resonate in me and will influence how I perceive things from hereon after. The point of emphasis I gleaned from this read is that the  successes of renowned enterpreneurs, virtuosi, and the like may seem to lie outside ordinary experience. However, it is not necessarily the case because these success stories are “products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy”. Their success is grounded in a web of network and congenital/lucky advantages which were crucial in attributing to their eventual accomplishment. Understanding this, we have to see that successes are more deliberate than given. An outlier is one only because of the surroundings and life experiences he/she had been subject to. No man is an island and success is a product of intricate  and sometimes inexplicable collaboration among opportunity, cultural legacy, luck, and deliberate endeavor. On that note, I came to wonder how can formal education or informal learning contribute to this collaboration? I envision that so much has to do with a systemic change at the level of individuals, communities, and institutions if we are to expect the collaboration to somehow materialize. Until that happens, deliberate outliers are gems and hard to come by.

      Being attuned to reading academic articles, I have somehow lost the knack or habit in enjoying myself books in the language of simplicty and clarity in recent years. Outliers was a wonderful read and a book perfect for one to reach flow state. I’ll track down Malcolm’s other books in no time I guess. Lastly, not to be outdone I would like to wish everyone (including myself) a happy and smooth new year 2011  ^__^

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