The story of success

Malcolm Gladwell - Penguin - 2009 - 336 pages


2021 June 01 | by Arduino Mancini Education - Leadership

In the era where wealth, social success, and celebrity achievement seem to have become our primary life purpose, we have all asked ourselves a few questions:

  • What is the secret to success?
  • Is it really just a matter of individual talent and persistence in pursuing goals?
  • Are other, unpredictable factors coming into play?
  • And what really distinguishes the person who excels from all others?

Malcolm Gladwell’s answer shakes one of the most deeply rooted convictions in contemporary society: the myth of the self-made man, the man who can succeed solely thanks to his talents and strengths.

The author succeeds in doing so by observing with particular attention the “outliers “, the people who have reached the peak of success, from sports champions to scientific geniuses, from musical masters to multi-millionaire businessmen.

Gladwell’s analysis focuses on their individual skills, on the crucial moments of their extraordinary careers, but also on the apparently insignificant details of their biographies: their ethnic origins, the composition of their families, the year and even the month of their birth.

The results are surprising; talent and persistence, although essential, do not ensure success and must be combined with other elements and circumstances, often bizarre and almost always underestimated.

We thus learn that

  • Asians are great mathematicians but poor aeroplane pilots;
  • almost all the greatest team sports players were born in the first few months of the year;
  • the Beatles were successful also because, to play music, they accepted to do so for eight hours straight even in a striptease club;
  • John D. Rockefeller became an arch-billionaire because he was born in the right place at the right time;
  • Bill Gates was able to revolutionize information technology because as a boy he benefited from an incredible series of lucky coincidences.

This, Gladwell argues, must not lead to a resigned fatalistic attitude, but rather bring to our attention the role of these “additional” factors, to

  • provide everyone with equal opportunities for growth and personal fulfilment in the future;
  • accept and encourage the development of the strengths of each individual, nationality and culture;
  • work hard to succeed.

Want to buy the book?

First, watch this author presentation video, then go to the table of contents.




The Roseto Mystery

Part one

I  The Matthew effect
II The rule of the ten thousand hours
III The genius problem (part one)
IV The genius problem (part two)
V The three lessons of Joe Flom

Part Two

VI Harlan, Kentucky
VII The ethnic theory of air disasters
VII Rice paddies and mathematical tests
IX The Marita pact

A Jamaican story
Index of names


(No Ratings Yet)
Fabrizio Maneia 3 June 2021 17:57

Buonasera dott. Mancini,
…ci siamo incontrati qualche anno fa…
Leggo sempre con molto piacere i tuoi articoli preparati espressamente per Stahl e le indicazioni di lettura.
Cercavo un libro simile da tempo…grazie per l’ informazione.

Buona Serata

Fabrizio Maneia

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