Malcolm Gladwell wants to convince us that the way we think about success is completely wrong:

He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing.

Gladwell always struck me as the guy who had an interesting idea one night while he was stoned, and decided to write a book about it. Both Blink and Tipping Point sound great while you’re reading them, just as many armchair philosophies do, but the more you try to align his hypothesis to his anecdotes and evidence, the more you try to make concrete sense of his ideas, the more holes you find. The world is too complex, and Gladwell often uses too broad a brush.

But the premise of Outliers sounds, again, like a fantastic arm chair philosophy, and I’ll most likely read it like every other middle-class liberal white guy.