If the Manual English department stays on course from last year, 2013’s upcoming juniors will be gearing up to read Outliers over the summer. Because it is a non-fiction, fact based book, Outliers can appear at first glance to be an unappetizing summer read, especially when compared to the equally compulsory but much more accessible Grapes of Wrath, or to the much more appealing Ultimate Avengers flick. I know that students will likely wait until the week before school to do their summer reading, but before you break out the new bikini you’ve been dying to wear and forget about school, give Outliers a chance.
I get it. Reading about straight facts is painfully boring. It is for this reason that most people (myself included) will tend towards fictional storytelling when it comes time to read a book. While Outliers is a book of facts and experiments, it distinguishes itself by combining the arts of fact-sharing and story-telling. Outliers presents itself in a way which is unique from almost anything else in its genre.
Malcolm Gladwell, the author of the novel, shares stories about famous people, about himself, and about people no one has ever heard of in order to identify the unidentifiable: just what is it that makes people successful? Some of his most interesting theories include the effect of birthdays on professional athletes, how 10,000 hours of computer programming made Bill Gates a billionaire, and how self-confidence can safely land a plane. With these kinds of fascinating real-life stories, it is very easy to forget that you’re learning about various scientific studies.
Outliers is broken down into chapters; each chapter is a specific story which presents a theory about success. As the book goes on, though, readers will begin to recognize ideas resurface. Reading the book a second time is a fantastic experience, as you can really take the time to search for how different ideas fit into the earlier stories.
This book is excessively interesting, and definitely worth your while. Those who like to be entertained as they learn new things, as well as feel like they have a close relationship with the author of a book, will love Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.
The Redeyed Reader