Outliers Need Opportunity to Succeed

Malcom Gladwell’s latest book, Outliers, doesn’t mention Compassion once. But it’s still about what Compassion does: We transform lives by giving children in poverty opportunities to succeed.

Outliers are men and women who do things out of the ordinary. And in the book Gladwell delves into what makes outliers successful.

Conventional wisdom says success comes from drive, skill and talent, which is true, but not by themselves. Drive, skill and talent aren’t worth a dime without opportunity. Success is a team sport.

“When outliers become outliers it is not just because of their own efforts. It’s because of the contributions of lots of different people and lots of different circumstances.” – Malcom Gladwell

Outliers looks at the success of geniuses, business tycoons, rock stars, athletes and software programmers. And the common denominator in all the examples of success Gladwell gives, the foundational bedrock in EVERY SINGLE CASE, is that an opportunity was made available – because of geography, timing, economics, circumstance, etc.

But you shouldn’t have to read Outliers to see that. You can keep reading this blog … because opportunity is an integral part of what Compassion is about.

P.S. Outliers is a fun book to read. It’s quick and engaging. The stories are extremely interesting, and Gladwell is a smooth and persuasive storyteller. I enjoyed this book more than The Tipping Point and Blink, both of which I liked.

3 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Mike Stephens March 14, 2009

    Chris thanks for the Post!!!

    It reminds me of a verse

    Proverbs 16:33 “Even the things that seem accidental were really ordered by Him!!!” (Amplified Bible)

    You can say economics, circumstances, people, places, timing, time, climate are the reasons but I believe the “REASON” is God, is Jesus, is the Holy Spirit i.e. the Spirit of TRUTH. How did I take a trip down to Nicaragua to visit the child I sponsor??? It was God. I earned money and had a desire to go, but many other Bible believing Christians encouraged me along the way. That is ALL God!!! Also apart from God we can do nothing!!! I like to think I choose to make things happen in my life that if it wasn’t for me they never would have happened, but God pre-ordained the good deeds for me before he created the Universe so I could walk in them!!! Jesus chose to die on the Cross to be obedient to God, but Jesus’ death on the Cross was told of by the prophets many years before it even happened!!! I believe our lives are similar God knows what will happen, what we will choose b/c he has ordered it to happen already. It is encouraging to me b/c God has A PLAN!!! Jeremiah 29:11 woohooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Carenita January 8, 2009

    Another secular book on self-achievement. Spiritual and moral elements are conspicuously absent from his hypothesis. Too bad. The topic of missed opportunity eludes the writer. Seemingly a “missed opportunity” is no opportunity at all.

    Maybe I’ll finsih reading “the Shack” after all 😉

  3. Ian Durias January 8, 2009

    Well said, Chris! I’ve been planning to read this book. Even more so now.

Add a Comment

Read the ground rules for comments.