My son knew that I had read and enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink. He also knew that I had read The Tipping Point. As a result, when he became stuck for a good Christmas gift idea, he figured he couldn’t go wrong with a copy of Outliers. Before he gave it to me I had decided to skip this one by Gladwell and see if he comes back with another. Once I owned it as a gift, I felt this nagging responsibility to read it. After all, what if Alex wanted to talk about it with me. Who knows if he might decide to read it on a whim. I know he won’t read it, but I still felt this obligation. It’s the same gift obligation that makes me wear the ugly shirts that my family gives me (at least once in their presence).
Reading Outliers became even more difficult after I purchased my Kindle. I didn’t think I’d do much traditional book reading once I experienced reading on the Kindle. In fact, had I been inclined to read Gladwell’s book, I would have purchased the Kindle edition and been done with it. Well, I pulled a muscle while out running so I had some extra time on my hands, so I dove into the book. It was a fast read, but it really wasn’t worth the time I invested. While I found some real thought provocation in each of his first two books, I felt like this book was self-serving, especially when I got to the epilogue. The essence of this book was that we shouldn’t expect to do great things unless we work hard and get really lucky. There, 285 pages summarized in a single cliche. Go apply that $27.99 toward your own Kindle.