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Malcolm Gladwell all over the place

November 18, 2008 |  4:22 pm


In the L.A. Times yesterday, Susan Salter Reynolds reviewed Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers: The Story of Success," his third book. Like its predecessors, "The Tipping Point" and "Blink," the book seeks to show us the world in a new way. Salter Reynolds writes:

We are used to looking at success, Gladwell explains in the opening chapter, as an individual story. But in fact, successful people "are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot. . . . It's not enough to ask what successful people are like, in other words. It is only by asking where they are from that we can unravel the logic behind who succeeds and who doesn't."

The review leaves me wanting a little more. If where (and who) a person comes from determines his success, wouldn't siblings follow identical paths? How can my small Rhode Island town produce both a Colorado ski instructor and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author? Luckily, I don't have to look very far to get more Gladwell, because his book is popping up everywhere. As is he: Next week he'll make appearances in England, and the following week he'll be in Canada.   

Where to find the ubiquitous Gladwell online:

And after the jump, Malcolm Gladwell visits the Barnes & Noble interview show Tagged.

As for my question, I don't see it getting answered anywhere. Luckily, I've got the book right here.

—Carolyn Kellogg

Photo credit: Kevin P. Casey / For The Times