The Story of Success – Outliers

Myths About Success Revealed in Outliers

The common theme believed about successful people is that they come up with a great idea, work hard and build great teams of people. Although some of this is certainly true there are a number of other significant factors that play into the success of wealthy people. The blueprint of success according to Outliers author Malcolm Gladwell is extended to their family, their birthplace or even their birth date. Malcolm Gladwell outlines the specific pattern of these other elements that have played into the success of some of the most famous and wealthy people in the world. Gladwell has studied thousands of people who have achieved extraordinary success and through his out of the box thinking discovered some fascinating and unusual patterns emerged.



Is it Persistence, Beliefs, Hard Work that makes the difference?

Psychologist Anders Ericsson and some of his colleagues did a study in the early 1990’s at Berlin’s elite Academy of Music. They divided the schools violinist’s into three groups. First group was the stars, the students with the greatest potential to become world class soloists. The second group were those students classified as “good”. The third group consisted of those who were unlikely to play professionally but aspired to be music teachers in the public school system. What was revealed was the difference in the amount of time practised. The very best ones simply outworked the other groups. The magic number of elite violinists was 10,000 hours. This magic number also appears in all other professions of elite people. 10,000 hours. Exceptional talent does not just appear  it is the result of work.

What did Gladwell Discover About The Beatles?

The Beatles arrived on the U.S. scene in 1964. John Lennon and Paul McCartney had been playing together since 1957.Severn years prior to arriving in America. They achieved rock star status when they launched St. Peppers lonely Heart Clubs Band and The White Album.This happened 10 years after they started playing together. With a blend of luck, timing and connections the Beatles, when they were a struggling high school band was asked to play in clubs in Hamburg, Germany. Over a period of a year and a half they played 1200 times. This is how the Beatles developed their skills. It did take the right timing, the right connections and a blend of hard work to achieve this.



The Story of Bill Gates

Bill Gates was the son of a wealthy lawyer in Seattle and his mother was the daughter of a well to do banker. Bill was put into Lakeside, a private school that catered to Seattle’s elite families and the school had just started a computer club. This was 1968 and most colleges did not have computer clubs. Computers, based on limited supplies in the sixties started a time sharing policy. A sequence of events led to Bill Gates getting excessive access to computers at Lakeside and eventually the University of Washington. He literally spent thousands of hours programming on the computers in exchange for working on software for some companies.The correlation of events that unfolded allowed Bill Gates to have access to computers which in turn he developed his skills. Skill and talent are a part of the equation but timing and connections also played an intricate part.


Outliers Unveils A Unique Fact

Gladwell did a calendar analysis of the 75 richest people in the history of the world. Almost 20% of the names they end up with came from a single generation in a single country.In the 1860’s and 1870’s the American economy went through one of the greatest transformations in its history. Railroads were being built and Wall Street emerged. It was  a great industrial era. Nine of the ones on the list were born within 9 years of each other. The same information was applied to the breakthrough of the computer era and when you look at the icons in the computer world such as Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer,Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt you see they were born within about 2 years of each other. Timing in trends and enormous growth periods combined with connections and hard work once again show a pattern .

The Secret Sauce of the Success Formula

Thousands of individuals and groups have been studied to determine if there is anything outside the ordinary that equates to the extraordinary success of people. One of the common denominators of the elite in anything is the inordinate amount of time put in to excel. The magic number is 10,000 hours. This separates the outstanding from the great ones. Almost no one takes any of this credit on their own doing. Everyone had help by a variety of means from parents, coaches and connections. Andrew Carnegie, one of the wealthiest people who ever lived revealed to Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich that his success was achieved almost entirely through the Mastermind Group he had organized. All of these over achievers are a product of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Spun in a web of inheritances,some deserved, some not,some earned and some just plain lucky.


David Thompson

Success is yours to discover…imagine!

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About David Thompson

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