Learn What Shapes People’s Success

2 December 2022

[Video Transcript]  

The Ecosystem Of Success

Insights From 'Outliers' by Malcolm Gladwell


In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell shows and tells us that the common belief behind our most admired success stories is perhaps not as simple or heart-warming as we imagine.

People don't make it to the top by 'rising from nothing' with no advantages.

"Outliers," he says, "is not a book about tall trees. It is about forests and the advantages of the ecosystem of success."

About the soil and the sunlight and the surroundings that caused some trees to be taller than the rest.

Every outlier understands, accepts and acknowledges this good fortune in their bones.

The software industry is full of such examples, the most famous of them being Bill Gates.

The Harvard dropout behind the Microsoft empire was, in fact, the son of a well-to-do family who went to a private school.

In 1968, a computer terminal was installed at the school costing $3000, connected to a mainframe in downtown Seattle.

The funds came from the annual rummage sale earnings by the school mothers.

Gates began his ten thousand hours on the school computer in the eighth grade.

The parent of a senior in Gates' school set up a computer programming firm and asked the schoolboy enthusiasts to test their programmes in exchange for free programming time.

Walking distance from Gates' home was the University of Washington.

It was where the teenage programmers worked with a new computer firm on payroll software development.

It was how they discovered that there was free computer usage in some departments between three and six in the morning.

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"Every outlier is a combination of several strands," says Gladwell.

The first is the accident of birth-- the where and the when.

The second is the exponential advantage from those factors that nurture talent to a greater degree than would happen to anyone else born in that time and place.

The third is the patchwork of lucky breaks.

The final is the ability to put in the ten thousand hours.

Gates' advantages kept growing exponentially.

When he dropped out of Harvard to set up his own software company, he had already been programming non-stop for seven years, way beyond his 10000 hours.

"All because," he says, himself, "an incredibly lucky series of events."

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