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Malcolm Gladwell

“Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds.” - Malcolm Gladwell

Key Takeaways

🔵 Success is a combination of opportunity, culture, and timing.

🔵 There's no shortcut to success. It takes time and effort to be successful in anything.

🔵 To be successful, you need to put in the hard work.

🔵 You can achieve great things if you have the right mindset and are willing to work for it.

🔵 The most successful people dedicate a large chunk of their time to their chosen field

Big Ideas

Dedicate time

While many factors can contribute to success, one of the most important is time. It takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in anything, and that's the average. For some people, it may take more, and for others, less. It doesn’t suggest that you have to work 24/7 with no breaks. In fact, taking breaks is crucial for maintaining focus and preventing burnout. Best believe that if you don't put in the time, you'll never see the results you want.

To achieve greatness, you must dedicate the time required to reach your goals. Put in mind that the most successful people are not necessarily the smartest or the most talented; instead, they're those who sacrificed hours and hours of practice to become experts in their chosen crafts.

Mind you; it’s not putting in the time for the sake of it. You must be strategic about it. Find ways to get feedback so you can improve and make the most of your efforts.


Malcolm Gladwell argues that the keys to success depend not only on talent or intelligence but practice. He cites the example of the Beatles, who played for hours on end in Hamburg before they became famous. And it’s so true because, without practice, you'd never become an expert in anything.

So if you want to be successful at anything, the key is to start practicing now. It doesn't matter if you're not the brightest or most talented person in your field. That's why many professional athletes, musicians, and other successful people started practicing at a young age. With enough practice, you're sure to achieve greatness.

But how does one go about dedicating those hours? Well, it starts with a willingness to put in the effort, and eventually, you'll begin reaping the rewards. It won't happen overnight because the time will come when you'll feel like quitting, but the ability to push through will eventually make you excel.

Capitalize on your talents

While some people are born with more remarkable natural abilities than others, everyone has the potential to achieve success if they're able to capitalize on their talents.

From Gladwell’s example, Bill Gates became one of the wealthiest men in the world, not because he was a genius, but his computer access when fewer people did. He was able to leverage his talents and take advantage of an opportunity that most people didn't even know existed.

While not everybody will have the same opportunities, your unique talents and abilities can be used to your advantage. Use them to their fullest potential. At the same time, whether you're an athlete, artist, or entrepreneur, it takes more than just raw talent to be successful. Hard work, dedication, and a willingness to capitalize on your abilities would most definitely come in handy at all times.

Hard work

Success is not talent or IQ but a combination of hard work and opportunities. No shortcuts. To achieve it, one must be dedicated and work hard. By the way, effort is one of the most important predictors of success. And anyone who wants to achieve something great must be on the lookout for opportunities.

So what does this mean for you? If you're working towards a goal, don't give up. Keep hustling and sacrificing time and energy to become good at something, and eventually, you'll achieve the success you deserve. Don't give up on your dreams too early. Keep working hard, and anything is possible.

Seize Every Opportunity

Gladwell argues that success is primarily a result of opportunity. He suggests taking advantage of opportunities because they may lead to success that was never thought possible. Sometimes, opportunities don't just happen; they have to be seized. Other times, they come in disguise, pointing to the fact that many successful people have had mentors who helped them along the way.

If, at any point, you're feeling lost or down on your luck, remember that there might just be an opportunity lurking around. And if you want to be successful, you must seize every opportunity. Be proactive; never wait for opportunities to come to you; go out and find them.

You must be prepared because when an opportunity presents itself, be ready to take advantage of it.

Be persistent and keep trying no matter how often you fail until you achieve your goals.

How Outliers changed me

I'd rather get lost in a world of make-believe than learn about the struggles and successes of real people. That all changed when I picked up The Outliers, which immediately transformed my view of success and what it takes to achieve it.

Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers tells the stories of successful people who have overcome great odds to achieve their goals. These beautiful stories inspire me to work harder and take advantage of opportunities that come my way.

Who is Outliers for?

Outliers is an essential read for anyone interested in learning about what it takes to achieve greatness. It offers a more nuanced view of success that can help anyone achieve their goals.

If you're looking for a book that will change the way you think about success, then Outliers is it.

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About Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is a journalist, author, and public speaker. He is the host of the podcast Revisionist History and a co-founder of another podcast company Pushkin Industry. Through his work, he shares his unique perspective on popular culture.


Isak Vidinghoff is a Strategic Life Coach and Content Creator. He communicates personal development strategies to help people find purpose and meaning to live their fullest potential in life.

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