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Outliers
THE S T O R Y OF S U C C E S S
MALCOLM
G LAD W E L L
# 1 bestselling author of The
Tipping
Point
and
Blink
$27.99
$ 3 0 . 9 9 in C a n a d a
Why d o s o m e p e o p l e succeed far more than others?
T h e r e is a story that is usually told a b o u t
extremely successful p e o p l e , a story that focuses
o n intelligence a n d ambition. In Outliers
Malcolm
Gladwell a r g u e s that the true story o f s u c c e s s is
very different, a n d that if we want to u n d e r s t a n d
h o w s o m e p e o p l e thrive, we s h o u l d s p e n d m o r e
time l o o k i n g around them — at s u c h things as
their family, their birthplace, or even their birth
d a t e . T h e story o f s u c c e s s is m o r e c o m p l e x — a n d
a lot m o r e interesting — than it initially a p p e a r s .
Outliers
e x p l a i n s w h a t the B e a t l e s a n d Bill
G a t e s have in c o m m o n , the e x t r a o r d i n a r y s u c c e s s
o f A s i a n s at m a t h , the h i d d e n a d v a n t a g e s o f star
athletes, why all t o p N e w York lawyers have the
s a m e r é s u m é , a n d the r e a s o n y o u ‘ v e never h e a r d
o f the w o r l d ‘ s s m a r t e s t m a n — all in terms o f g e n ­
eration, family, c u l t u r e , a n d c l a s s . It matters w h a t
year y o u were b o r n if y o u want to b e a S i l i c o n
Valley billionaire, G l a d w e l l a r g u e s , a n d it matters
w h e r e y o u w e r e b o r n if y o u want to b e a s u c ­
cessful p i l o t . T h e lives o f outliers — those p e o p l e
w h o s e a c h i e v e m e n t s fall o u t s i d e n o r m a l e x p e r i ­
e n c e — follow a p e c u l i a r a n d u n e x p e c t e d l o g i c ,
a n d in m a k i n g that l o g i c p l a i n G l a d w e l l p r e s e n t s a
fascinating a n d provocative b l u e p r i n t for m a k i n g
the m o s t o f h u m a n potential.
(continued on back flap)
In The Tipping
Point M a l c o l m G l a d w e l l
c h a n g e d the w a y we u n d e r s t a n d the w o r l d .
In Blink he c h a n g e d the w a y w e think a b o u t
thinking. Outliers will t r a n s f o r m the w a y w e
understand success.
MALCOLM
G L A D W E L L is the a u t h o r o f the
# 1 international bestsellers The Tipping Point and
Blink. H e is a staff writer for The New Yorker
and was formerly a business and science reporter
at the Washington Post. For m o r e information a b o u t
Malcolm Gladwell, go to www.gladwell.com.
LOOK
FOR
The
T I P P I N G

==;
POINT
blink
MALCOLM
GLADWELL
Malcolm Gladwell
A l s o a v a i l a b l e from
V”*””
J a c k e t d e s i g n by A l l i s o n J . Warner
J a c k e t p h o t o g r a p h © Andy C r a w f o r d / D o r l i n g Kindersley/Getty Images
A u t h o r p h o t o g r a p h by B r o o k e W i l l i a m s
V i s i t o u r Web site at
www.HachetteBookGroup.com
P r i n t e d in the U . S . A . © 2 0 0 8 H a c h e t t e B o o k G r o u p , I n c .
Two of the most
influential books of the past
decade
THE TIPPING POINT
H o w Little T h i n g s C a n M a k e a Big Difference
“A fascinating b o o k that makes you see the world in a different way.”
— Fortune
“GladwelPs theories could be u s e d to run
businesses more effectively, to turn products into runaway bestsellers,
and perhaps most important, to alter human behavior.”
— New York Times
BLINK
T h e Power o f T h i n k i n g W i t h o u t T h i n k i n g
“A real pleasure
Brims with surprising insights about
our world and ourselves.”
— Salon.com
“Royally entertaining.”
— Time
ISBN
978-0-316-01792-3
OUTLIERS
A L S O BY M A L C O L M
GLADWELL
Blink
The Tipping Point
OUTLIERS
The
Story
of
Success
MALCOLM GLADWELL
L I T T L E , BROWN AND C O M P A N Y
NEW
YORK

BOSTON

LONDON
C o p y r i g h t © 2008 by Malcolm Gladwell
A l l rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U . S . Copyright Act
of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or
transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval
system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Little, B r o w n and Company
Hachette B o o k Group
237 Park Avenue, N e w York, N Y 1 0 0 1 7
Visit our Web site at www.HachetteBookGroup.com
First Edition: November 2008
Little, B r o w n and C o m p a n y is a division of Hachette B o o k Group, Inc.
The Little, B r o w n name and logo are trademarks of
Hachette B o o k Group, Inc.
The author is grateful for permission to use the following copyrighted material:
American
Prometheus,
by K a i Bird and Martin J . Sherwin, copyright 2005
by K a i Bird and Martin J . Sherwin. Used by permission of Alfred A . Knopf,
a division of Random House, Inc.; Unequal Childhoods:
Class, Race, and
Family Life, by Annette Lareau, copyright 2003 Regents of the University of
California. Published by the University of California Press; “Intercultural
Communication in Cognitive Values: Americans and Koreans, by Ho-min
Sohn, University of Hawaii Press, 1983; The Happiest Man: The Life of Louis
Borgenicht
( N e w York: G . P. Putnam’s Sons, 1942). Used by permission of
L i n d y Friedman Sobel and Alice Friedman Holzman.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Gladwell, Malcolm.
Outliers : the story of success / Malcolm Gladwell. — 1st ed.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
H C I S B N 978-0-316-01792-3
Int’l ed. I S B N 978-0-316-03669-6
1. Successful people.
2. Success.
I. Title.
BF637.S8G533 2008
302 —dc22
2008032824
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
RRD-IN
B o o k designed by Meryl Levavi
Printed in the United States of America
For
Daisy
Contents
INTRODUCTION
The Roseto
“These people
Mystery
were d y i n g of old
T h a t ‘ s it.”
age.
3
PART ONE: O P P O R T U N I T Y
ONE
The Matthew
“For unto everyone
s h a l l be g i v e n ,
Effect
that
hath
and he s h a l l
abundance. But from him that
have
hath
n o t s h a l l be t a k e n a w a y e v e n t h a t
which
he h a t h . ” — M a t t h e w 2 5 : 2 9
15
CONTENTS
TWO
The 10,000-Hour
Rule
“In H a m b u r g , we had to
for eight hours.”
play
35
THREE
The Trouble with Geniuses,
“Knowledge
little
Part 1
o f a b o y ‘ s I Q is o f
h e l p if y o u a r e f a c e d
a formful
with
of clever boys.”
69
FOUR
The Trouble with Geniuses,
“After protracted
Part 2
negotiations,
it w a s a g r e e d t h a t R o b e r t w o u l d
put on p r o b a t i o n . ”
91
FIVE
The Three Lessons
of J o e
” M a r y got a q u a r t e r . ”
PART TWO:
Flom
1 1 6
LEGACY
six
Harlan,
“Die
Kentucky
like a man, like
b r o t h e r did!”
VIII
your
1 6 1
be
CONTENTS
SEVEN
T h e E t h n i c T h e o r y of Plane
Crashes
” C a p t a i n , the w e a t h e r radar
h e l p e d us a lot.”
has
1 7 7
EIGHT
Rice Paddies and M a t h
“No
one who
Tests
can rise before dawn
hundred s i x t y days a y e a r fails
m a k e his f a m i l y
rich.”
three
to
2 2 4
NINE
Marita’s Bargain
“All m y f r i e n d s
n o w a r e f r o m K I P P.”
EPILOGUE
A Jamaican Story
“If a p r o g e n y of y o u n g
colored
c h i l d r e n is b r o u g h t f o r t h ,
are e m a n c i p a t e d . ”
NOTES
these
270
2 8 7
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
INDEX
297
3 0 1
IX
2 5 0
OUTLIERS
I N T R O D U C T I O N
The Roseto
“THESE
OF
Mystery
PEOPLE
WERE
OLD AGE. THAT’S
DYING
IT.”
out-li-er – , l ï ( – 9 ) r noun
i: something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body
2: a statistical observation that is markedly different in
value from the others of the sample
1.
Roseto Valfortore lies one hundred miles southeast of
Rome in the Apennine foothills of the Italian province of
Foggia. In the style of medieval villages, the town is organized around a large central square. Facing the square is the
Palazzo Marchesale, the palace of the Saggese family, once
the great landowner of those parts. An archway to one side
leads to a church, the Madonna del Carmine—Our Lady
of Mount Carmine. Narrow stone steps run up the hillside, flanked by closely clustered two-story stone houses
with red-tile roofs.
3
OUTLIERS
For centuries, the paesani of Roseto worked in the
marble quarries in the surrounding hills, or cultivated the
fields in the terraced valley below, walking four and five
miles down the mountain in the morning and then mak­
ing the long journey back up the hill at night. Life was
hard. The townsfolk were barely literate and desperately
poor and without much hope for economic betterment
until word reached Roseto at the end of the nineteenth
century of the land of opportunity across the ocean.
In January of 1882, a group of eleven Rosetans—ten
men and one boy—set sail for New York. They spent
their first night in America sleeping on the floor of a tav­
ern on Mulberry Street, in Manhattan’s Little Italy. Then
they ventured west, eventually finding jobs in a slate
quarry ninety miles west of the city near the town of Ban­
gor, Pennsylvania. The following year, fifteen Rosetans
left Italy for America, and several members of that group
ended up in Bangor as well, joining their compatriots in
the slate quarry. Those immigrants, in turn, sent word
back to Roseto about the promise of the New World, and
soon one group of Rosetans after another packed their
bags and headed for Pennsylvania, until the initial stream
of immigrants became a flood. In 1894 alone, some twelve
hundred Rosetans applied for passports to America, leav­
ing entire streets of their old village abandoned.
The Rosetans began buying land on a rocky hillside
connected to Bangor by a steep, rutted wagon path. They
built closely clustered two-story stone houses with slate
roofs on narrow streets running up and down the hillside.
They built a church and called it Our Lady of Mount Carmel and named the main street, on which it stood, Gari-
4
THE
ROSETO
MYSTERY
baldi Avenue, after the great hero of Italian unification. In
the beginning, they called their town New Italy. But they
soon changed it to Roseto, which seemed only appropri­
ate given that almost all of them had come from the same
village in Italy.
In 1896, a dynamic young priest by the name of Father
Pasquale de Nisco took over at Our Lady of Mount Carmel. De Nisco set up spiritual societies and organized
festivals. He encouraged the townsfolk to clear the land
and plant onions, beans, potatoes, melons, and fruit trees
in the long backyards behind their houses. He gave out
seeds and bulbs. The town came to life. The Rosetans
began raising pigs in their backyards and growing grapes
for homemade wine. Schools, a park, a convent, and a
cemetery were built. Small shops and bakeries and res­
taurants and bars opened along Garibaldi Avenue. More
than a dozen factories sprang up making blouses for the
garment trade. Neighboring Bangor was largely Welsh
and English, and the next town over was overwhelmingly
German, which meant—given the fractious relationships
between the English and Germans and Italians in those
years—that Roseto stayed strictly for Rosetans. If you
had wandered up and down the streets of Roseto in Penn­
sylvania in the first few decades after 1900, you would
have heard only Italian, and not just any Italian but the
precise southern Foggian dialect spoken back in the Ital­
ian Roseto. Roseto, Pennsylvania, was its own tiny, selfsufficient world—all but unknown by the society around
it—and it might well have remained so but for a man
named Stewart Wolf.
Wolf was a physician. He studied digestion and the
5
OUTLIERS
stomach and taught in the medical school at the Univer­
sity of Oklahoma. He spent his summers on a farm in
Pennsylvania, not far from Roseto — although that, of
course, didn’t mean much, since Roseto was so much in
its own world that it was possible to live in the next town
and never know much about it. “One of the times when
we were up there for the summer—this would have been
in the late nineteen fifties — I was invited to give a talk
at the local medical society,” Wolf said years later in an
interview. “After the talk was over, one of the local doc­
tors invited me to have a beer. And while we were having
a drink, he said, ‘You know, I’ve been practicing for sev­
enteen years. I get patients from all over, and I rarely find
anyone from Roseto under the age of sixty-five with heart
disease.’ ”
Wolf was taken aback. This was the 1950s, years before
the advent of cholesterol-lowering drugs and aggressive
measures to prevent heart disease. Heart attacks were an
epidemic in the United States. They were the leading cause
of death in men under the age of sixty-five. It was impossi­
ble to be a doctor, common sense said, and not see heart
disease.
Wolf decided to investigate. He enlisted the support
of some of his students and colleagues from Oklahoma.
They gathered together the death certificates from resi­
dents of the town, going back as many years as they could.
They analyzed physicians’ records. They took medical
histories and constructed family genealogies. “We got
busy,” Wolf said. “We decided to do a preliminary study.
We started in nineteen sixty-one. The mayor said, ‘All my
6
THE
ROSETO
MYSTERY
sisters are going to help you/ He had four sisters. He said,
‘You can have the town council room/ I said, ‘Where are
you going to have council meetings?’ He said, ‘Well, we’ll
postpone them for a while/ The ladies would bring us
lunch. We had little booths where we could take blood, do
EKGs. We were there for four weeks. Then I talked with
the authorities. They gave us the school for the summer.
We invited the entire population of Roseto to be tested.”
The results were astonishing. In Roseto, virtually no
one under fifty-five had died of a heart attack or showed
any signs of heart disease. For men over sixty-five, the
death rate from heart disease in Roseto was roughly half
that of the United States as a whole. The death rate from
all causes in Roseto, in fact, was 30 to 35 percent lower
than expected.
Wolf brought in a friend of his, a sociologist from
Oklahoma named John Bruhn, to help him. “I hired med­
ical students and sociology grad students as interview­
ers, and in Roseto we went house to house and talked to
every person aged twenty-one and over,” Bruhn remem­
bers. This happened more than fifty years ago, but Bruhn
still had a sense of amazement in his voice as he described
what they found. “There was no suicide, no alcoholism,
no drug addiction, and very little crime. They didn’t have
anyone on welfare. Then we looked at peptic ulcers. They
didn’t have any of those either. These people were dying
of old age. That’s it.”
Wolf’s profession had a name for a place like Roseto—a
place that lay outside everyday experience, where the nor­
mal rules did not apply. Roseto was an outlier.
7
OUTLIERS
2.
Wolf’s first thought was that the Rosetans must have held
on to some dietary practices from the Old World that left
them healthier than other Americans. But he quickly real­
ized that wasn’t true. The Rosetans were cooking with
lard instead of with the much healthier olive oil they had
used back in Italy. Pizza in Italy was a thin crust with salt,
oil, and perhaps some tomatoes, anchovies, or onions.
Pizza in Pennsylvania was bread dough plus sausage, pepperoni, salami, ham, and sometimes eggs. Sweets such as
biscotti and taralli used to be reserved for Christmas and
Easter; in Roseto they were eaten year-round. When Wolf
had dieticians analyze the typical Rosetan’s eating habits,
they found that a whopping 41 percent of their calories
came from fat. Nor was this a town where people got up at
dawn to do yoga and run a brisk six miles. The Pennsylvanian Rosetans smoked heavily and many were struggling
with obesity.
If diet and exercise didn’t explain the findings, then
what about genetics? The Rosetans were a close-knit group
from the same region of Italy, and Wolf’s next thought was
to wonder whether they were of a particularly hardy stock
that protected them from disease. So he tracked down rela­
tives of the Rosetans who were living in other parts of the
United States to see if they shared the same remarkable
good health as their cousins in Pennsylvania. They didn’t.
He then looked at the region where the Rosetans lived.
Was it possible that there was something about living in the
foothills of eastern Pennsylvania that was good for their
health? The two closest towns to Roseto were Bangor,
8
THE
ROSETO
MYSTERY
which was just down the hill, and Nazareth, a few miles
away. These were both about the same size as Roseto, and
both were populated with the same kind of hardworking
European immigrants. Wolf combed through both towns’
medical records. For men over sixty-five, the death rates
from heart disease in Nazareth and Bangor were three
times that of Roseto. Another dead end.
What Wolf began to realize was that the secret of
Roseto wasn’t diet or exercise or genes or location. It had
to be Roseto itself. As Bruhn and Wolf walked around
the town, they figured out why. They looked at how the
Rosetans visited one another, stopping to chat in Ital­
ian on the street, say, or cooking for one another in their
backyards. They learned about the extended family clans
that underlay the town’s social structure. They saw how
many homes had three generations living under one roof,
and how much respect grandparents commanded. They
went to mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and saw the
unifying and calming effect of the church. They counted
twenty-two separate civic organizations in a town of just
under two thousand people. They picked up on the partic­
ular egalitarian ethos of the community, which discour­
aged the wealthy from flaunting their success and helped
the unsuccessful obscure their failures.
In transplanting the paesani culture of southern Italy
to the hills of eastern Pennsylvania, the Rosetans had cre­
ated a powerful, protective social structure capable of
insulating them from the pressures of the modern world.
The Rosetans were healthy because of where they were
/row, because of the world they had created for themselves
in their tiny little town in the hills.
9
OUTLIERS
“I remember going to Roseto for the first time, and
you’d see three-generational family meals, all the baker­
ies, the people walking up and down the street, sitting on
their porches talking to each other, the blouse mills where
the women worked during the day, while the men worked
in the slate quarries,” Bruhn said. “It was magical.”
When Bruhn and Wolf first presented their findings
to the medical community, you can imagine the kind of
skepticism they faced. They went to conferences where
their peers were presenting long rows of data arrayed in
complex charts and referring to this kind of gene or that
kind of physiological process, and they themselves were
talking instead about the mysterious and magical benefits
of people stopping to talk to one another on the street and
of having three generations under one roof. Living a long
life, the conventional wisdom at the time said, depended
to a great extent on who we were—that is, our genes. It
depended on the decisions we made—on what we chose
to eat, and how much we chose to exercise, and how effec­
tively we were treated by the medical system. No one was
used to thinking about health in terms of community.
Wolf and Bruhn had to convince the medical estab­
lishment to think about health and heart attacks in an
entirely new way: they had to get them to realize that they
wouldn’t be able to understand why someone was healthy
if all they did was think about an individual’s personal
choices or actions in isolation. They had to look beyond
the individual. They had to understand the culture he or
she was a part of, and who their friends and families were,
and what town their families came from. They had to
I o
THE
ROSETO
MYSTERY
appreciate the idea that the values of the world we inhabit
an …
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