wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
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Malcolm Gladwell (1963- )Malcolm Gladwell


English-born Canadian expert in personal development (pictured right).


Key books

The Tipping Point (2000)

A tipping point occurs “when an idea, trend or social behaviour crosses a threshold, tips and spreads like wildfire”, creating a social epidemic.

This happens when it has:

  • stickiness (important significance)
  • power of context (appearing at the right time and place)

A tipping point is created by a few groups of influential people (the Law of the Few) who challenge and their intuition. They are:


1. Mavens 

Wise people who don’t overtly communicate their knowledge.


2. Connectors 

Knowledge communicators who unite and inspire others.


3. Sellers 

Sellers of knowledge who persuade people.


Key quotes on change

What must underlie successful epidemics, in the end, is a bedrock belief that change is possible.

The world of the Tipping Point is a place where the unexpected becomes expected, where radical change is more than possibility.


Blink (2005)

Snap, intuitive decisions are essential (if time is tight) and sometimes effective.

Particularly useful is “thin slicing” (quickly gathering key information for a quick decision).

Detailed analysis of all relevant information is usually better but not always, particularly when

  • you have too much information.
  • you’re analysing your own or other people’s responses.

Educate your instinct and first impressions by:


1. Exposing yourself to new experiences 

(e.g. meeting black people to overcome prejudice against them).


2. Following certain rules 

(e.g. don’t judge people on appearances alone).


Key quotes on decision making

There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.

The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter."


Outliers (2008)

Extraordinary achievers (“outliers”) are successful because of:


1. The “10,000-Hour Rule" 

Practising a task for around 10,000 hours (as The Beatles did in Hamburg clubs before becoming famous).


2. Luck

Bill Gates got his 10,000 hours computing practice because his rich parents gave him a computer when he was 13.


3. “Accumulative advantage”

Successful people become even more successful, because they get special advantages like more attention and help.


4. Opportunity

Seize the opportunities given to you.

Gladwell uses the example of his West Indian grandmother to show that opportunity as well as ability and ambition are vital to success.


Key quotes on success and happiness

Extraordinary achievement is less about talent than it is about opportunity

The people at the top don't work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.


Key quote on motivation

It's not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It's whether or not our work fulfils us.


Key quote on society

To build a better world we need... a society that provides opportunities for all.


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