I was really impressed by the The Tiping Point by Malcolm Gladwell . It was purely based on social epidemics . Now this book Outliers by him is simply awesome . One thing i really like about him is his abilty to draw unfathomable connection between things which turns out to be perfectly logical and present it in powerful narrative . Must say , great storyteller of non fiction literature .
Now , it is pretty much ingrained in our culture the myth of self made man . That a person in order to succeed needs nothing but hardwork and talent and his innate cpacity and vision . Having heard numerous rags to riches stories we believe that a man can reach anywhere by sheer hardwork . This book deftly debunks this myth . Success according to Gladwell is result of cumulative advantage . Though hardwork is crucial factor , but things like timing , circumstances , genetic factor and sheer coincidence has as well contributed to success saga of great persoalities .
Take for instance – Bill Gates . In 1968, when Bill Gates was 13 years old, his school, Lakeside Academy in Seattle, Washington, acquired a computer, a terminal on which Gates could program non-stop for the next few years, a once in a lifetime opportunity to practice something that would have unforseen value. At the age of 16, Gates learned that a mainframe computer was available for free in the middle of the night at the nearby University of Washington. Unbeknown to his parents, the young Gates snuck out each night to write code between 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. Good fortune played an critical role in Bill Gates’ success by allowing him significant programming practice time that very few others his age had during a critical juncture in computer history.
I think somewhere there were the series of coincidences , circumstances and oppurtunities which lead those great people to greatness . Difficult to digest , bot its true . Ofcourse their own conviction and hardwork were important too .