30 December 2008

Book Review: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Book Review: Outliers by Malcolm GladwellI’ve been waiting for this book since I saw Malcolm Gladwell speak about the research he was doing for it at the National Association of Realtors conference in Orlando a couple of years ago. The premise of the book is that success is not a random act. Rather, that success happens because of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities.

There are several very cool and interesting topics in this book. But one in particular that has captured my attention is that of “practical intelligence.” Practical intelligence (PI) is knowledge that helps you read a situation and know what to say in order to get what you want.

Practical intelligence: “knowing what to say to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it for maximum effect.” This is different from the analytical ability measured by IQ or the emotional abilities like self-control, persistence and motivation measured by Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

My sister, who is likely above average in IQ and EQ, would be off the charts in PI. Ever since I can remember she has been able to talk herself in and out of more situations then I could share! Always ending up with a result in her favor. I think this is part of the reason she is such a great teacher today. The ability to manage a group of 5 and 6 year olds and get them to do what you want is certainly a unique skill.

I think PI has a huge impact on a person’s success in our industry. Although, there are lots of tests, quizzes and simulators available to try and help us evaluate the potential success of real estate agents, I haven’t seen one that deals with PI. If you know of one let me know; I’d love to take a look at it.

Read this book, it is very interesting! If you are a hockey fan, you’ll be fascinated by the first chapter.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

  1. I also was looking forward to his new book having read “Blink” and being interested in the way we do things and why.

    Two things that caught my attention were, no matter your genetic potential it still takes about 10,000 hours of focused practice to become a Pro be it basket ball, chess or whatever.

    The second thing was the study of Harvard grads and goal setting. Very interesting that those who set goals, read them everyday and practiced until they met their individual goals were so much more successful then the other Harvard grads.

    It was all good stuff, I wish the book had been longer.

  2. I agree David. I could have kept reading. 10,000 hours gave me an interesting and new perspective on success. It’s a book in itself. A friend of mine saw Malcolm speak last week in NYC. He said he was great and captivated the audience. I’m looking forward to the next book.

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  4. I found the book very interesting and difficult to put down. Luckily a cross-country flight meant I didn’t have to. What truly interested me was the school in the Bronx. The story of that school to me was of a place where outliers could be created as long as they were willing to work hard and essentially “burn the boats” by fully integrating with the program.

    The question I was left with was “Is our organization conducive to helping our internal and external stakeholders become outliers?”. In our markets we are at a unique point in time and so we need to provide the tools and corporate attitude to help outliers thrive. I believe we are doing so, but only time will tell.

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