Written By: Malcolm Gladwell

Narrated By: Malcolm Gladwell

Date: November 2008

Duration: 7 hours 18 minutes


From the bestselling author of The Bomber Mafia, learn what sets high achievers apart—from Bill Gates to the Beatles—in this seminal work from "a singular talent" (New York Times Book Review).

In this stunning 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.


  • Emily W

    I think this book starts off pretty well but there were points that I felt like could have been expanded on a bit more. Some of the outcomes of outliers seemed pretty clear and then at other points I felt like there were examples just thrown in that weren't really explained very well. I also thought this book lacked diversity in the examples and tended to favor certain groups, languages, etc. I understood the concepts and what the author was trying to get across but it would have been nice to learn about more non-white male examples of outliers. They're out there, it's just up to authors to make an effort and priority to find them.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful.

  • Victoria S.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book. It reminds the reader that successful people get to where they are through a lot of luck and circumstance and not just through hard work and genius. This book makes you feel less envious of successful people and inspires you to make your own luck and opportunities.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Betty O.

    Great book but we know Malcolm has a way of grabbing the attention of his audience right from the beginning.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Taha T.

    c'est un bon livre

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Kevin M.

    A super interesting book filled with facts that definitely took a lot of time, dedication and research to expand on his ideas. I love the topics he hits on that gives you a better understanding of humans and culture, especially culture. Every chapter was unique and so much fun. To summarize the book from what I took out of it: "Everything happens for a reason, and for no reason. The universe is at work."

  • Adam H.

    Extremely interesting. Great book.

  • Siaka K.

    Malcolm use statistics, human psychology and organizational behavior to dispel myths. Excellent read for anyone who assumes that assumptions are all factual. Malcolm, explains data and takes the reader through a thorough process of inductive and deductive reasoning and how to identify inference in situations to challenge the status quo way of thinking.

  • Lisa H.

    Interesting! Challenged the way I think about successful people.

  • Brian K.

    Great book. Quite mind boggling & insightful. As much as I enjoyed it, my mind cannot simply agree with his entire concept. Of course we're all privileged in certain ways. There will always be someone in a worse situation. I think Malcolm completely undermines the internal sacrifice & drive that carries people to success. Bill Gates for example, chose to take up the opportunities he got while other boys his age opted to gallivant. The Beatles accepted the job offer of playing daily rather than opting for an easier path. In my opinion, we definitely all need support up to a life stage, from there your desire & will to achieve your objectives makes you notice opportunities that've always been there but for which your mind was not activated to. Nevertheless, interesting book.

  • James F.

    I disagree with the recent 3 star reviews. I find "Outliers" excellent in all respects: surprising revelations, interesting summary theories, and fun to listen. As always, Gladwell's narration (tone, inflection, etc.) adds much to his book.

  • David R.

    Starts off well but gets off track. I got the feeling the author was looking for similarities that fit his narrative vs getting all the relevant data. At least I know where President Obama got his "You Didn't Build it" idea from. I agree that we are a product of our generation and environment but not giving serious credit to the personal hard work and effort to rise through mediocrity does not give people the respect they deserve.

  • John M.

    The Rosetta town study is no longer correct, the high fat diet most likely led to the low heart disease rate. Not a knock on the author, just an observation. Great read.

  • David T.

    Malcolm Gladwell is a wonderful narrator of his own writing in “Outliers”. His sociological approach to the parameters of success is intriguing

  • Adan R

    Incredible read!!! So insightful. Great to connect with all the great people you have met on your way

  • Oana Roxana R

    It is the first book downloaded in my audiobooks account, and I can tell you that it was an amazing experience: the content, the subject, the narration.

  • Darwinson V

    Great read and the narrator was amazing.

  • Carmen Victoria U

    The greatest book I've ever read.

  • Adrian U

    Very great read, dives you into the lives of the successful and their progressive opportunity management. It is full of great knowledge and very easy to comprehend.

  • Aik Okaro

    Great read and very thoughtful. I am glad I was not disappointed.

  • Sam Elliott

    Great read! Highly recommend! A book that will definitely leave you thinking in a different way.

  • Dan Dunlap

    Insightful and thought provoking; an excellent read from a very creative author.

  • Anonymous

    book looks at how social circumstances can make a person's success. It briefly looks at the person's influence/effort. The book is heavily leaned to a liberal bias.

  • Mark Kremer

    in a typical Malcolm Gladwell Gladwell fashion, "Outliers" offers intriguing insight into what makes outstanding achievers... outstanding achievers. The assertions of the book are not obvious and counter intuitive, supported by a wide range of prior academic research, and brought to bare with convincing example. Though some of the claims, like the "10,000 hours magic", sound suspiciously elegant, the principal of the arguments stands. In retrospect, "Outliers" helped me understand the outstanding people that I had the good fortune to work with, and furthermore the ones that were expected to stand out and did not. The narration, by Malcolm him very self, like his writing style was clear and effective.

  • Janet Slavenski

    I appreciated the facts and interest this book brought to me personally. The authors own story was an added bonus

  • Matthew Chase

    Familiar with Malcolm Gladwell from his work with Bill Simmons. I always enjoyed his work on the podcast and most recently the TV show. I knew about this book and the 10,000 hour theory but for some reason never read it. Finally decided to take the plunge and now feel dumb for having waited this long. I finished it and then immediately started over. Genius stuff. So hard to explain these concepts but Gladwell does it with such ease in transition and language. Thankful for this book. I've already recommended it to numerous people. Get it now!

  • Melissa Gue

    Another great book by this great author! Very thought provoking! A lot of A-Ha moments. (Grateful for the narration/audio version as I was recovering from eye surgery).

  • Sentilla Hawley

    So eye opening. Greatest book I have read yet. Malcolm Gladwell is genius.

  • dom chaffey

    This is a Very interesting and intellectual read. I would recommend this to anyone. It has a similar feel to the sports psychology book called Bounce.

  • Sean ALLEN

    Great book read by the author. I shared this with my wife and many friends as I progressed through. Many "Aha" moments.

  • David Underwood

    A great listen both enjoyable and thought provoking.

  • Jared Thomas

    Great insight and elaboration of research. Allows the reader to glimpse into the lives of the successful and pull apart the contributing conditions that lead to their sucess.

  • Phillip Cronin

    I enjoyed this book. The information cited was fascinating.

  • Anthony Parish

    This book is a must read/listen to.It changes the view of success in the lives of people

  • Can Zhang

    excellent book with fascinating stories and arguments, i don't agree with all the author had said but very good writing and reading all around

  • Judy

    This was another wonderful book by Malcolm Gladwell, once again making me think of things in a new way. His studies of the successful were fascinating, as he looked behind the surface for additional facts. As usually happens with Gladwell, I keep returning to the new thoughts he introduced at moments in my daily life. The addition of his own story at the end of the book was most thought-provoking and enjoyable - the interesting path that led to this remarkable man.

  • Listening @ 80 MPH

    Some parts of this were interesting enough to rate a 4, the balance was a 3 for me. The writer is also the reader I believe, and does a good job.

  • Anonymous

    The author presents the hypothesis that successful people are born with a silver spoon. He then disproves the hypothesis and concludes that by hard work, and by making the most of the opportunities, a common person can be successful. Rather common sense, isn't it? That's how I felt at the end.

  • Anonymous

    Very Interesting. I liked the personal note Gladwell wrote at the end about himself.

  • clashboxer

    After reading Blink, and Tipping Point, I think this book best represents Gladwell's take on society that runs through all of his books. All three books are about how things we think are big are really small. I found Outliers the most interesting, and I also see it as having the largest societal impact--at least in how I personally participate in society.

  • chezann

    I've read Blink, The Tipping Point, and What the Dog Saw, but this is by far the best.

  • Anonymous

    i loved this book so much that I gave it to everyone I know for Christmas. It is full of fascinating facts. There were a couple of sections that dragged on a bit but overall it was great. He talks about so many different topics that there should be something for everyone's interest areas. I highly recommend.

  • Mike Moore

    This is an OUTSTANDING book. Honestly one of the best that I have ever read (or listened to in this case). It really makes you think. It should be required reading for every manager/supervisor level person and higher.

  • Anonymous

    Kept my attention. Very interesting. The author is an easy to listen to narrator.

  • Pam

    I gave it 3 stars because it probably deserves some stars! I just couldn't get into it. It is probably a book that many people would find interesting, but I want to be entertained on my drive home and I guess I just don't care why people are successful! But I understood the point the author was making and he's absolutely right. It's just that I don't care! Sorry!

  • Anonymous

    Simply a wonderful book. I am listening to it twice. It's just as good the second time through.

  • Anonymous

    The author does a good job covering such questions as how Bill Gates, Bill Joy and other immensely wealthy people stood out from the others and succeeded. He makes a strong point that no one is successful on their won. Rather, due to their upbringing and/or special circumstance they were given unique opportunities to be successful. Other topics such 'why asians are good at math' and 'how our schools can be improved - hint smaller class size is not the answer, are effectively discussed as well. While this book did drag in some parts - the 10,000 hour training discussion was a bit hard to believe and went too long, I did really enjoy this book and learned a few good things.

  • BenjaminC

    Although I only gave it a 3 star rating, I do recommend listening to the book. Gladwell has a great ability to tell stories and make data interesting. That said, I think he really overreaches on this book -- he tries very hard to attribute as little of a great achievement as possible to individual effort. It is certainly true that Bill Gates, the Beatles, and others Gladwell illustrates benefited from astonishingly favorable circumstances -- but they were the ones who took those opportunities and made something of it. Many others with very similar opportunities have made nothing of them. He touches on this principle with the 10,000 hour rule, but apparently ignores it in his very broad final conclusions. Still worth reading/listening to once; it made me think, even if I didn't agree with everything.

  • mandy

    i really liked this book. it was assigned to me for my sociology class, but i would have read it even on my own. it made alot of sense and made me think.

  • Shane

    I actually thought BLINK, though MUCH more revolutionary in idea wasn't up to the standard Gladwell set for himself in Tipping Point. With this offering he returns. GREAT STUFF!

  • Anonymous

    This is an interesting account of how societies arbitrarily select winners before the contests have begun. it is heartfelt, reasonably well researched and follows the sociological tradition of "Men make their own history but not in circumstances of their own choosing." The concluding chapter is most telling, in that Mr. Gladwell applies the lessons of the book to his own life.

  • Greg

    This book was outstanding. Very informative and interesting. I not only listened to it, I gave it to my wife to listen to and I'm buying copies of the books for my children to read. I highly recommend this book to anyone. You'll learn something and you won't be disappointed.

  • Patti

    The book didn't hold my attention quite as well as "The Tipping Point" but I enjoyed it overall. Got a little bored about midway through, but I loved the beginning and I thought the stories and examples got more interesting again at the end. Great insights about often overlooked factors that contribute to the success of those who are leaders in their fields.

  • Josh

    Malcolm Gladwell is a brilliant writer, and tackles the issue of diversity and privilege in a realistic way that rings true to any listener.

  • Mandi Scott Chestler

    Rugged individualism is out. Cultural legacy is in. Success is not a pure meritocracy, but the result of ability combined with cultivated opportunity and/or arbitrary advantage. No superstar stands alone. If you want to be a safe and successful airline pilot, learn to speak truth to power. If you want to be a math wizard, learn to farm a rice paddy. These are just a few of the insights documented in Malcom Gladwell's best book yet.

  • wharvey48

    Gladwell is a superb writer. All his books are very interesting, unique in presenting helpful information that is fun to read.

  • brad

    We have all heard of the exercise where you can invite any 5 people from any time or place in the world to have for a dinner party. People sometimes include Lincoln, Gandhi, Hitler, Jesus, all over the place. I would just invite Malcolm Gladwell. Listening to him for a night would be enough. I don't always agree with all of his conclusions, but what an author, thinker, and researcher!

  • lipmanc

    I have enjoyed all of Malcolm Gladwell's books very much, and I think this is his best work.

Outliers: The Story of Success

by Malcolm Gladwell

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