Friday, August 20, 2010

Book Review: Outliers, The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers, The Story of Success, is a great read by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell takes a look at successful people and asks the questions of why. One of my favorite chapters is number 2, “10,000 Hours “In Hamburg we had to play for eight hours.” In this chapter Gladwell gives example after example of the overnight success of people who have put in 10,000 hours of practice. Too often people aren’t willing to do what it takes to be successful. They point to someone who seems to have materialized from nowhere and is suddenly successful. Often times, if you review the life of this person, you can see that they have been “practicing” and “preparing” for many more hours or years than you might think. Gladwell looks at the Beetles who flashed onto the music scene in the 60’s but when you look at their rise to fame, they spent many hours playing non-stop in tiny establishments to get to the point of this instant success. They were practicing their craft and learning about the business of singing and writing music. So if you haven’t put in your 10,000 hours yet, take heart—work hard, practice intentionally, strengthen your performance, and be the best that you can be.

In part two of the book, “The Legacy”, Gladwell looks at a young girl who attends a KIPP school. She has made a bargain to participate fully in the KIPP educational experience (early in the morning until late afternoon at school and then hours of homework after the day is done), so she has a chance to recognize her amazing potential. She is, quite literally, putting in her educational hours in a rigorous and intentional way, so that her future will be brighter. Maria has found the bargain frustrating at time, but is sticking to it because she values her opportunity to become.
As in all of Gladwell’s books, he is though provoking and insightful. Access the author’s work though reading or listening to an audio presentation—or both.

Not so usual celebrations…
August 20th is National Radio Day. In this day of IPods and CD changers, it may be challenging for your to understand how the radio could be so important, but for those who precede these inventions, the radio was as important as soda. Listening to the radio is what we did. Today, on occasion, I will listen to the radio in the car instead of a book on tape or my favorite musical CD, and I think, I should do this more often. So today, no CDs, no IPod, just the radio and my favorite talk shows or music.

Activities for Kids
Have kids work in teams to create the perfect 10 minute radio show. Have them include a Public Service Announcement, a contest, and advertisement or two, a favorite song, and some classic radio personnel banter. After the teams have created this perfect 10 minute show, have them share it with one another. Be sure that the kids name the station up front.

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