Canadian author and journalist Malcolm Gladwell is well known for his extraordinary ability to grasp connections that most of us miss; he has a brilliant ability to uncover the hidden rules that shape the balance between the Davids and the Goliaths of this world (which happens to be the title of one of his best selling books). Gladwell is also the author of the phenomenally successful ’The Tipping Point’, which refers to the magical "moment" in which an idea or trend crosses a threshold and takes off, and ’Outliers’, which looks at the way we understand success.
Below are some of Gladwell’s most illuminating insights on success and happiness, taken from his books.
“We overlook just how large a role we all play--and by ’we’ I mean society--in determining who makes it and who doesn’t." (From Outliers: The Story of Success)
2. Not a Random Act
“Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities.” (From Outliers: The Story of Success)
3. Function of Persistence
"Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for 22 minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after 30 seconds.” (From Outliers: The Story of Success)
4. Money and Happiness
“It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us. Being a teacher is meaningful." (From Outliers: The Story of Success)
"The values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are." (From Outliers: The Story of Success)
6. Shape the World
"If you work hard enough, assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires." (From Outliers: The Story of Success)
"Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all." (From David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants)
“They [innovators] are people willing to take social risks--to do things that others might disapprove of. That is not easy. Society frowns on disagreeableness. As human beings we are hardwired to seek the approval of those around us. Yet a radical and transformative thought goes nowhere without the willingness to challenge convention." (From David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants)
9. Accumulative Advantage
“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. It’s the rich who get the biggest tax breaks. It’s the best students who get the best teaching and most attention. And it’s the biggest nine- and ten-year-olds who get the most coaching and practice. Success is the result of what sociologists like to call ’accumulative advantage’.” (From Outliers: The Story of Success)
10. Success is not Mysterious
“Superstar lawyers and math whizzes and software entrepreneurs appear at first blush to lie outside ordinary experience. But they don’t. They are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Their 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 them who they are. The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all.” (From Outliers: The Story of Success)
Over to you: do you agree with these Gladwelllian lessons in success? Are you a fan of Malcolm Gladwell? Let me know in the comments box below...