Outliers, The Story of Success

Cindy Posted Jun 13, 2012
by Cindy

"Outlier is a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience."* A person who is an outlier is someone who is so exceptional as to be outside of normal human experience.

The Outliers Book

In the book titled, "Outliers, The Story of Success", Malcolm Gladwell postulates that success has less to do with innate ability and more to do with a combination of hard work and favorable circumstances. Some of the oportunitie that Gladwell writes about include:

  • birth-date
  • culture/language
  • right time/right place
  • more opportunities to practice


Gladwell takes a close look at what makes someone immensely successful. He explores everything form meteoric rise of The Beatles, to NHL Hockey players, to software giants like Bill Gates; and he exposes a common pattern in the case of each one. Gladwell demonstrates again and again that an opportunity combined with 10,000 hours of meaningful practice is what it takes to create an 'Outlier'.

The Outliers identifies that great success is made up of a complex network of opportunities, culture, upbringing, talent, and hard work.

This book's impact on TrueSmarts:

The idea that we need not only the right opportunities but also 10,000 hours of meaningful work is something that has inspired us at TrueSmarts. Meaningful work means that an activity needs to:

  1. Be mentally challenging
  2. Have an internal or extrinsic reward that is easy for kids to understand.
  3. Allow kids the autonomy to do it.


All of our activities keep these concepts in mind and help you to teach your children key financial, entrepreneurial, leadership and social skills in a way that is both meaningful and rewarding.

Also, Gladwell stipulates that one opportunity that middle class parents can give their children is the cultivation of practical knowledge through a parenting style called "Concerted Cultivation". In concentrated cultivation, children are actively parented. They are taught to talk to and question people in authority, they are taught to manipulate their environment to suit them, parents communicate with their children, protect their children and are actively involved in their children's free time. All of these things combined help middle class children to learn practical intelligence.

TrueSmarts offers a community which helps you to develop practical intelligence in your children using hands on and meaningful activities. It is also, the goal of our activities, and this blog, to help you to recognize the opportunities and favorable circumstances that your children have and then to teach your kids to recognize them as well. We want to help you raise your own little outliers! 


*Quote from a Q&A session with Malcolm Gladwell.

Tags: TrueSmarts Inspiration 

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