Outliers: Out of the Ordinary

1097 Words3 Pages
Malcolm Gladwell insists throughout his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, that the recipe for achievement is not simply based on personal talents or innate abilities alone. Gladwell offers the uncommon idea that outliers largely depend upon “extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies” (Gladwell19). According to Gladwell, successful men and women are beneficiaries of relationships, occasions, places, and cultures. The author draws on a different case study in each chapter to support a particular argument concerning success. Despite his indifference and suppression in regards to counterarguments, Gladwell’s claims are effective for many reasons, including through the accounts of experts, tone and style of writing, and the technique he utilizes when opening a chapter.

First, Gladwell’s claims are impressively effective as a direct result of his use of professional expertise. Perhaps one of the most important aspects in chapter two, entitled The 10,000-Hour Rule, is the inclusion of professional neurologist, Daniel Levitin, who absolutely supports Gladwell’s main argument. “Ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert – in anything,” writes Levitin (40). Equally important to the arguments made in chapter two, psychologist K. Anders Ericsson provides professional insight into the world of the “gifted.” In addition, Gladwell makes use of the findings of professional psychologist, Michael Howe, and renowned music critic, Harold Schonberg, regarding the length of time it took Mozart to produce “his greatest works” (41). By including these experts, Levitin and Howe, within his argument, Gladwell strengthens his claim that success frequently depends on how...

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...cies for which Gladwell argue are strongly represented and undeniably convincing. Even without an acknowledgement of the rebuttals to his arguments, the author presents compelling claims that are successfully strengthened through the inclusion of specialist information, an appealing conversational tone and style of writing, and the initial attractions that begin each chapter. Just as Gladwell’s recipe for success does not adhere to conventional conceptions, Outliers does not remain within the typical expectations of academic writing. Not acknowledging a rebuttal, for instance, is ordinarily considered a lack of credibility; however, as Gladwell points out in Outliers, “This is a book about outliers … who do things that are out of the ordinary” (17).

Works Cited

Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers: The Story of Success. New York: Little, Brown and Company,

2008. Print.
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