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Outliers: Out Of The Ordinary Essay

1179 words - 5 pages

Malcolm Gladwell insists throughout his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, that the recipe for achievement is not simply based on personal talents or innate abilities alone. Gladwell offers the uncommon idea that outliers largely depend upon “extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies” (Gladwell19). According to Gladwell, successful men and women are beneficiaries of relationships, occasions, places, and cultures. The author draws on a different case study in each chapter to support a particular argument concerning success. Despite his indifference and suppression in regards to counterarguments, Gladwell’s claims are effective for many reasons, including through the accounts of experts, tone and style of writing, and the technique he utilizes when opening a chapter.
First, Gladwell’s claims are impressively effective as a direct result of his use of professional expertise. Perhaps one of the most important aspects in chapter two, entitled The 10,000-Hour Rule, is the inclusion of professional neurologist, Daniel Levitin, who absolutely supports Gladwell’s main argument. “Ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert – in anything,” writes Levitin (40). Equally important to the arguments made in chapter two, psychologist K. Anders Ericsson provides professional insight into the world of the “gifted.” In addition, Gladwell makes use of the findings of professional psychologist, Michael Howe, and renowned music critic, Harold Schonberg, regarding the length of time it took Mozart to produce “his greatest works” (41). By including these experts, Levitin and Howe, within his argument, Gladwell strengthens his claim that success frequently depends on how much time one puts into a certain skill. Within the use of professional expertise, Gladwell further supports his arguments by going into intricate details provided by the specialists. The author explains exactly what the professional asserts and how particular pieces of evidence relate to Gladwell’s unconventional idea of success.
Furthermore, Gladwell’s tone and style of writing throughout Outliers contributes to his arguments’ effectiveness. The manner in which Gladwell tells the stories in relation to each individual claim is brilliant. Not only is the writing tone of the author informative, thoughtful, and compelling, but it is also frequently conversational. Many times in Outliers, Gladwell seems to be speaking directly to his readers. The author achieves this conversational tone primarily by asking questions within his arguments. In The 10,000-Hour Rule chapter, Gladwell applies this tone when he asks, “What’s ten years?” The author is challenging the reader to determine what significance ten years has in relation to success. Unknowingly challenged, the reader searches for an explanation within his or her own thoughts before continuing reading. The author answers his own question, “It [ten years] is roughly how...

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