Tagged: pop psychology

Outliers

outliers malcolm gladwell little brown and company 2008Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell, 2/5

Holy cherry-picked data, Batman!  At least it’s hand-picked, I guess?  That is about the nicest thing I can say for this book, which, though entertaining, smells like bad science.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I think I’ve been exposed to enough good research and logical reasoning (thank you Daniel Kahneman and David Hackett Fisher) to recognize the sketchy stuff.  The thesis is all over the place, ending with a laughable call to action that sounds great on the surface (let’s give everyone the same opportunities in life so they can all achieve success) but is idiotic in context (let’s wave our enlightened magic fairy wand and give everyone identical backgrounds, community, family legacy, historical timing, interests and skills, so everyone can be super successful genius millionaires).  Frustratingly, this book’s popularity was inevitable–who doesn’t like to read a good success story AND be told that it isn’t all due to talent, you unluckily ordinary human being with untold potential, you.

Why I read it: Heard about it from my Dad, who thought it would be fun if I read it (I’ve been avoiding Gladwell for years).

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