“You are the product of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Your success is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky – but all critical to making you who you are.”
–Malcolm Gladwell, “Outliers”
One of the perks of my harried schedule this semester is the two-hours three-days-a-week I spend on metro trains. Often, heavy eyelids tempt me to catch a few moments of sleep, but more often I take the time to read.
At the beginning of the semester, I envisioned this time as textbook reading, but as the weeks have passed, I’ve grasped these hours for the selfish reading of the books that fill my Kindle.
I think for most of my life I’ve been a fake reader. I value the idea of reading and cherish the touch of books, but rarely have I prized the act of reading books. There were always distractions and other outlets to take attention. Never before have I had such consistent gaps of time where really the only thing to do is read. In the tunnels where the metro train runs, there is no television, no Internet and no phone service. There’s a light, a bench and a chance to read.
In this time I’ve gone through several books and my most recent conquest was Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers.” The premise of the book is simple: why are the most successful people successful? The answer: because they work harder than everyone else.
The actual reason also involves some lucky coincidences, but every person who might happen upon these same lucky coincidences won’t know what to do with them – because everyone doesn’t have the same drive of an outlier.
It is a fascinating read and I’m crazed by the ideas it presents. Bravo to Gladwell!