Monday, August 31, 2020

读书笔记 - Outliers

I got to know this book when interviewing a candidate for our SIP engineer position. This book is about the story of success, written by Malcolm Gladwell. The book makes reader see the world in a different way, so for success.

Outlier: something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body. 异类,局外人 men and women who do things that are out of the ordinary.

Starting from the Roseto health Mystery, Wolf realized that the secret of Roseto wasn't diet or exercise or genes or location. It had to be Roseto itself. The Rosetans had created a powerful, protective social structure capable of insulating them from the pressures of the modern world.

We have to appreciate the idea that the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.

The Matthew effect chapter analyzed why Canadian hockey players birth date. League cutoff dates matter. Those were the ingredients of success at the highest level: passion, talent, and hard work. But there was another element - Bigger kid for his age. 

The 10,000-hour rule chapter is my favorite one. All the outliers were the beneficiaries of some kind of unusual opportunity. Again, your birth date matters which gave you the opportunity to succeed with hard work. "In hamburg, we had to play for eight hours." - The Beatles

The trouble with geniuses - Knowledge of a boy's IQ is of little help if you are faced with a formful of clever boys. (The threshold effect) We have seen that extraordinary achievement is less about talent than it is about opportunity. Practical intelligence includes things like "knowing what to say to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it for maximum effect."

The three lessons of Joe Flom chapter discussed about: lesson 1, the importance of being Jewish; lesson 2, demographic luck; lesson 3, the garment industry and meaningful work. There is no doubt that those Jewish immigrants arrived at the perfect time, with the perfect skills. To exploit that opportunity, you had to have certain virtues, and those immigrants worked hard. They sacrificed. They scrimped and saved and invested wisely. But still, you have to remember that the garment industry in those years was growing by leaps and bounds. The economy was desperate for the skills that they possessed.

Those three things -- autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward -- are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying. It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It's whether our work fulfills us. 

If you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires. Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities. Their world, -- their culture and generation and family history -- gave them the greatest of opportunities.

We've seen that success arises out of the steady accumulation of advantages: when and where you are born, what your parents did for a living, and what the circumstances of your upbringing were all make a significant difference in how well you do in the world.

Korean Air did not succeed until it acknowledged the importance of its cultural legacy. Plane crashes are much more likely to be the result of an accumulation of minor difficulties and seemingly trivial malfunctions. Power distance is concerned with attitudes toward hierarchy, specifically with how much a particular culture values and respects authority.

Rice paddies and math tests chapter 8 looks at China rice paddies and why Asian children math is better. "No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year falls to make his family rich." The number system in English is highly irregular. Not so in China, Japan, and Korea. They have a logic counting system. That difference means that Asian children learn to count much faster than American children. The regularity of their number system also means that Asian children can perform basic functions far more easily. Cultural legacies matter, and once we've seen the surprising effects of such things as power distance and numbers that can be said in a quarter as opposed to a third of a second, it's hard not to wonder how many other cultural legacies have an impact on our twenty-first century intellectual tasks.

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.

Suddenly the causes of Asian math superiority become even more obvious. Students in Asian schools don't have long summer vacations. Cultures that believe that the route to success lies in rising before dawn 360 days a year are scarcely going to give their children three straight months off in the summer.

Everything we have learned in Outliers says that success follows a predictable course. It is not the brightest who succeed. Nor is success simply the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf. It is a gift. Outliers are those who have been given opportunities -- and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them. For hockey and soccer players born in January, it's a better shot at making the all-star team. For the Beatles, it was Hamburg. For Bill Gates, the lucky break was being born at the right time and getting the gift of a computer terminal in junior high. Joe Flom and the founders of Wachtell were born at the right time with the right parents and the right ethnicity. Korean Air gave its pilots the opportunity to escape the constraints of their cultural legacy. 

If the opportunity was there to go on, and you were able to take it, then to her the sky was the limit.

Outliers are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Their success is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plan lucky. The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all.

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