Get a free audiobook

Outliers

The Story of Success
Written by: Malcolm Gladwell
Narrated by: Malcolm Gladwell
Length: 7 hrs and 18 mins
5 out of 5 stars (805 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers" - the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

Brilliant and entertaining, Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.

©2008 Malcom Gladwell (P)2008 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    649
  • 4 Stars
    125
  • 3 Stars
    27
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    570
  • 4 Stars
    111
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    558
  • 4 Stars
    108
  • 3 Stars
    27
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Puts in perspective the true reasons of success

Biggest lesson: those who are outliers need both to work hard, and the ability to work hard

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

enjoyed immensely

so it seems our success can be attributed to many varying factors. thank you for shedding light onto many misconceptions about success and providing ways and means to apply those ideas in our own lives

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

very interesting approach to an original subject

loved the various very different stories to make the point the author was bringing forward.

thank you

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking.

Well written, captivating and very interesting.

Author is best suited for reading his own work.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Listen and Learn

this work was great and my only regret is that I didn't read/listen to this book earlier. There's something to be said about that. in fact, its described in this book in timing.

Do yourself a favour and listen and learn.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unique perspective

Really liked the different perspective about success the author is trying to imply. A must read book!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

If success is a plane dont let your ego crash it.

Great listen. The plane crash stories really got me to understand how great teams are formed and why some teams dont work. Imagine people die because of hesitation and egos smh

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A masterpiece. A must-read.

The world would be a better place, with many more authors like Malcolm Gladwell.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic!!

I guess its wrong to say "I couldn't put it down" but when I first listened to it I would sit in my car after arriving at my destination and continue to listen for as long as I could.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding thoughts and stories from Mr. Gladwell

came to know about M.G. from Joe Rogan! great reading of a very interesting book!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Leah C. Day
  • 2009-09-14

Interesting

This was a pretty interesting book. I don't agree with all of the reasoning, but it's an interesting theory.

The one downside to this book is that if you're looking for motivation, it might work the opposite effect.

This book is about how luck and certain circumstances make you more likely to be successful such as your birthdate, ethnicity, and religion.

If you easily see your circumstances as beyond your control, you may read this book and feel disheartened that you're not lucky or have the right circumstances to be successful.

I believe luck is part of it, but drive and ambition are also important too. You DO have the power to alter your circumstances, even if you've not been given special advantages.

62 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Scott T. Hards
  • 2008-12-13

Engaging, but overrated

Outliers has many interesting statistical anecdotes sprinkled throughout, to be sure. My interest was held. But at its core, the book's central theme is simply "successful people are aided in their success by their families, culture, education and other chance factors. They could not have done it alone." This is not exactly a particularly profound revelation. Gladwell repeatedly asserts that most people think Bill Gates-type successes are simply due to that person's raw talent and little else. But is that really the case? Does anybody really think Bill Gates could have achieved what he did had he been born in Botswana, for example? What's more, while crediting these outside factors with making these "outliers" possible, he fails to note that in almost every case, hundreds if not thousands or even more other people had virtually identical birth situations, yet failed to achieve greatness. Gladwell's goal seems to be an attempt to take the shine off of society's great success stories by, in effect, claiming they just got lucky. But I think the formula for producing an outlier is more complex than that. Too often in this book, Gladwell seems to be profoundly stating the obvious.
Gladwell's narration of his own work is generally skillful and an easy listen.


299 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • KHarrang
  • 2008-11-21

Captivating (if not an outlier)

Regardless of what you ultimately think of the author's analysis, Gladwell is a masterful storyteller, weaving together interesting anecdotes from such diverse sources as plane crash research to hillbilly feuds to standardized math tests. That Gladwell narrates the audio book himself adds greatly to the listening experience. Critics will complain that his thesis is obvious (that opportunity, cultural inheritence and hard work play key roles in success), or that his examples are selective and ignore in turn outliers that don't illustrate his points -- or, somewhat inconsistently, both. But Gladwell's books are successful because he examines phenomena and topics of importance in an accessible and entertaining way. No one should mistake Malcolm Gladwell for a big thinker like, say, Stephen J. Gould, but Gladwell would be the first one to tell you that he's no outlier. Don't accept everything the author says as truth revealed, but do listen to this book -- it's one of the best non-fiction offerings available through Audible.

153 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sher from Provo
  • 2012-04-12

Very Interesting!

Gladwell sets out to explain how the top people in any field were able to get there. The explanations can be very surprising. I was very engaged throughout the whole book. He talked a lot about education, and having been a public school teacher for the last 27 years, I found it absorbing, hopeful, and found myself wishing that I had known some of these things 27 years ago.

Gladwell narrates his own book, which sometimes turns out well, and sometimes not so much. Although obviously not a professional, he has a pleasing way of reading. I wouldn't be choosing a book on account of him reading it however. Still, it was very "listenable" and I enjoyed it very much.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • 2010-08-23

This book should be called 'selective evidence'

Whilst a lot of the ideas in this book are not Gladwell's alone, he takes responsibility for presenting them as if they were fact. Some parts are fascinating - such as the investigation of pilot errors which lead to crashes - but much of it falls woefully short of sound argument. The main points in the book are either obvious or highly questionable: intelligence alone is no trigger for success; luck is big factor in all great achievements; 10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve excellence at anything.

The examples he provides completely ignore the possibility that timing is not just luck, but actually a inherent quality of the thought process that goes into the idea of the business in the first place. Did Bill Gates really become so successful purely because he was: a) in the right place at the right time, and b) put in 10,000 hours of programming in an age when computers were hard to come by? By drawing these conclusions he overlooks the unprovable possibility that Gates may have become successful in another area had he not been born at the right time to start Microsoft.

Were the Beatles successful because of their 10,000 hours of practice in German nightclubs and the like before their 'breakthrough' US number one? Even if you ignore Gladwell's convenient use of their US breakthrough to mark his 10,000 hour cut-off (coming 18 months after their UK success), were they really successful because of the amount of practice they put in? Was it merely musical competence that raised them above their peers? What about inspiration, creative ideas, charisma, chemistry or pure unteachable songwriting genius? And what about the likes of Nick Drake, or Kurt Cobain, or Buddy Holly? They could not have possibly put in the 10,000 hours 'required' practice as prescribed by Gladwell. There must be hundreds or thousands more in the world of music, film, literature, or even business who do not conform to the 10,000 hour rule. Yet they are conveniently overlooked.

67 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Robert W
  • 2009-05-09

Intriguing but the research is questionable

This book is quite intriguing, but often as I listened I began to wonder about his research methodology. His facts, while compelling seem to be only part of the picture and I began to wonder as to how much picking and choosing of facts was going on to support his points. His determination to support his rather deterministic view is clear throughout the piece.

36 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Luiz C Payne
  • 2009-03-07

Great audio book

The content was entertaining and fascinating. A lot of "oh wow" moments. What was really good was Malcolm's read. He is an excellent reader--right on point with his inflection and cadence. I thought it had to be a professional reader.

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • 2011-11-28

Not as revelatory as you'd think

It takes lots of actual practice to master something. It also takes opportunities that are not in our control. So basically, Gladwell is trying to prove Calvinism (hard work + predestination). Pinpointing the web of circumstances that leads to success is something that we obsess over as a culture and Gladwell provides a very interesting analysis of how this works. But I do not feel like I heard any revelations here that I did not learn from my father when he encouraged me to get internships as an undergraduate.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • S Prabhu
  • 2008-12-27

Excellent book; well adapted for the audio format

Unusual take on a topic that is taken for granted. The author's voice enhances the message-highly recommended audiobook-perhaps my best book of the year!

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Felix
  • 2012-04-11

Too many examples, not enough ideas...

Would you try another book from Malcolm Gladwell and/or Malcolm Gladwell?

I am rating this book at 3 stars because there are too many examples and statistics terms used by the author; however, the main ideas are simple and were very well presented on a book summary I read online at no cost. Though I enjoyed listening to the book, I feel reading the book summary would have been enough.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The relation between the facts as presented by the author are certainly interesting parts of the book. The least interesting is where the author gets caught up on statistical data and tries to reinforce a point with too many examples.

What does Malcolm Gladwell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Not sure.

Do you think Outliers needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I wouldnt buy a follow up book.

15 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-02-27

Those who appear to be extraordinary are ordinary people

In this book, Malcolm does a study of many of the highly successful people we know to prove that it is not mostly what they were born with, that is having a higher IQ or having a special talent who got them where they got. They had to put a huge amount of work, they took advantage of their environment, the period where they were born, gifts from their past generations and more. The example of Bill Gates show it clearly that he was advantaged not only because he was born in a blessed period to get mature during the IT boom, but also, having access to an outfitted computer in 1968 when he was 13, during that same period, computers were so expensive that even professors in computer science barely had access to them, and programming was so complex, by the time he showed up at the Silicon Valley, he had more than 10 000 hours of programming in his fingers. Nearly all of us, if given same opportunities with the outliers, we will surely write the same stories, if not better.
The Asians do not have higher IQ than the rest of us, the just have more school time and work harder than the others, this is why the will outperform the rest of the world in maths and other scientific complex subjects. The example of the KIPP schools brought to the USA is a demonstration that working harder and for longer period can yield impressive results.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • DG
  • 2019-09-18

A different view on success.

Read by the author this book unwinds the perceived notion of success into what circumstances allowed them to be successful. It is one one my favorite books

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Client d'Amazon
  • 2018-03-20

clear and easy to listen

clear and easy to listen to while you are walking. enjoy his narration of success. insightful but not pretentious usual American bestseller. I think gladwell has improved a lot from Blink