Free «Outliers» Essay Paper


Outliers is a book that examines all the phenomena explaining what makes some people more successful than others. According to Gladwell, “outliers” are said to possess additional characteristics that an average person does not have. These outliers are distinguished by their intelligence and talents that one may want to criticize underlying their origin. Additionally, Gladwell examines a small town known as Roseto occupied by Italian immigrants. He explains how Italian immigrants spread their traditions and how these traditions are inherited by future generations. The cultural legacy endured by Italians turns Roseto into an “outlier”. In his literal work, Gladwell claims that genius is a quality that is overrated since success is not an innate ability but a combination of factors such as opportunity and hard work. The paper will discuss success byproduct of innate and unique qualities possessed only by selected individuals that I believe achieve it through nature.

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According to Outliers, success is a byproduct of nature, and a few societal members possess unique qualities leading to success. There are several elements that govern an individual’s success in social set-ups. These factors include hard work, ability to judge situations, available opportunities, time of birth, cultural legacy, meaningful work, and the quality of parental care. According to Gladwell, one can achieve extraordinary things through hard work especially when he/she possesses some innate talent: “It is those who are successful, in other words, who are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success.” (151). For example, through hard work, Benjamin Franklin rose from nothing to a leading scientific figure, national founder, and reformer. Despite his poor background, Franklin motivated readers through his inspiratory work such as the “Poor Richard’s Almanac”. In this context, he emerged successful through his inspirational work which motivated many readers in his motherland. In addition, it is importance to note that “it is not the brightest that succeed, but those who work hard” (Gladwell 130). Hence, success comes as a result of an individual efforts and logical decisions. Therefore, the success of “outliers” is seen as a “gift” in exceptional women and men like Franklin. This gift is determined by institutional, generational, familial, and cultural factors.

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Opportunity is another key factor that determines unique and innate qualities that one may possess in social and cultural settings. These opportunities are mostly evident in youths to show how successful one can become. In outliers, talents are only identified if and only if the opportunity doors are opened up for the person concerned. Opportunities enable the gifted persons to access coaches and equipment necessary for individual skill development. A gifted person possesses skills that create a significant difference between the opportunist and those do not have ambitions. Gladwell suggests, “Practice is not the thing you do once you are good. It is the thing you do that makes you good” (151), which means that to be successful, one has to undergo regular practice. For example, in Canadian youth hockey leagues, those who go for coaching gain extra practice that helps them eventually to end up being better than those without this privilege. Opportunity is a form of “accumulated advantage” acquired through arbitrary rules. Additionally, opportunity is a function of timing since year and place of birth are some of the factors that influence one’s opportunity. For example, about 25% of the richest American people were born after industrial revolution and railway construction. In Outliers, the myth of genius is illustrated by considering two computer programmers, Bill Joy and Bill Gates, who became industrial giants since they were both born in the 1950s before the advancement in the computer technology. Here, the two industrial giants took advantage of relative-age effects to excel in their field of expertise. In addition, timing is a crucial factor in defining an individual success, because the quality of timing is proportional to the level of success.

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Upbringing is another factor that leads to opportunity. In this case, children brought up by non-involved parents and involved parents are considering as counter-examples. Annette Laura, a sociologist, carried out research on the two types of parents in order to establish a key difference in determining the quality of an individual’s success. In her social research, Annette found that the concerned parents advice their children accordingly, hence providing a range of opportunities for them. In addition, involved parents develop a sense of “entitlement” that enables them to stand a better position in the exploitation of the available opportunities. Upbringing is an indicator that predicts future success. Meaningful work is another factor that determines the quality of the available opportunity. Study carried out by Louise Farkas, a sociologist, indicated that many immigrants’ offsprings became professions. Louise says that immigrants’ offspring became profession as a result of their humble families and backgrounds, where every family member valued and practiced hard work. It is clear that hard work safes one’s family from poverty hence making it richer.

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In conclusion, Outliers explains why some people emerge more successful than others. In addition, outliers possess unique characteristics that are not found in average individuals. These characteristics arise due to factors such as opportunity, meaningful work, timing, and child upbringing. Firstly, for one to succeed in life, he/she must have opportunity to exploit. In addition, opportunity is determined by time factor. For example, in hockey games, one has to go for coaching in order to gain extra skills. Therefore, one requires time to explore the available opportunity. Secondly, success depends on the environment and the nature of parental care. Children brought up by involved parents develop a sense of entitlement that enables them to emerge successful in the future. Lastly, success is determined by the nature of the work one does. For example, Benjamin Franklin emerged as a reformer and leading scientific figure as a result of inspiring work.

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