Archive for February, 2009

Outliers

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Just finished Malcolm Gladwell’s new(ish) book Outliers, and really, really enjoyed it. Like all his books, the stories are interesting, it’s a really fast read, and he draws a lot of very clear connections between the stories and the arguments he’s making.

More, the underlying argument makes a great deal of sense. The notion that a person is more than just their immediate selves is one that Americans don’t seem to put a lot of faith into, but by taking a look at a number of very successful people and trying to figure out what kinds of things led to their success (or in some cases, lack thereof), Gladwell makes a really good case that where you’re from matters, but more, and better, that basically anyone can actively *do* something about it.

For me, thinking about a future where I’ll one day have kids, it’s an interesting way to think about what kinds of things we’d do while raising them. I know I love a lazy weekend in the hammock or on the couch, but the book’s reminded me how hard my parents worked to give me the opportunities I had, and how much of who I am I owe the hard work they put in to keeping me fully engaged all the time.

Repayment for that would seem to be best done in kind. The days and days and days my mom spent waiting to take me from one activity to the next… those days I inherit, and pass on to my future children.