Lessons from Unusual Leaders – Healthcare Market Overview

A book by Malcolm Gladwell entitled “Outliers: The Story of Success” (Gladwell, 2008) explores the concept of outliers, which are extraordinary things, and sometimes people, that exist outside of what is usually considered the “norm”. When applied to humans, the study of outliers can explain why some individuals are so much more successful than others. “Outliers: The Story of Success” was ranked No. 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers for Business list from December 2008 to February 2009 and widely considered one of the most influential books on leadership. This book argues that, as student leaders and successful individuals, we tend to focus too much on successful individuals’ personalities and less on successful people’s origins, culture, genealogy, generations, and life experiences. This book also shows that genius and innate ability are not enough to be successful, one also needs opportunity, meaningful hard work, and a lucrative inheritance and legacy (Gladwell, 2008). Adequate analysis and review of this book requires a summary of its contents and a personal analysis with sound predictions.

The main purpose of the book “Outliers: The Story of Success” is to inform readers about the common misconception that successful people achieve success only because of their intelligence. The author at the same time wants to enlighten the reader that the success of a leader requires practice, opportunities, and the help of others. The key question Gladwell is trying to answer is “what makes high achievers so different from the average person?” He hopes the insights gleaned from these questions hold the key to unlocking the leadership potential that lies within some of us. The most important information in this book is the lesson Gladwell taught. The main conclusions in this book are: (1) Chance results from generosity and coincidences such as dates of birth; (2) Timing is an important component of opportunity and success; (3) The quality of child care is the most important determinant of its future success; (4) An individual requires a minimum of 10,000 hours (or approximately 10 years) of practice to master a particular skill and opportunities indirectly enable the individual to successfully practice the 10,000 Hour Rule; (5) To be successful, hard work must be meaningful and purposeful; and (6) The values ​​that come from our heritage and heritage shape our behavior. The key concept we need to understand in this book is that one needs significant opportunity, practice and hard work to succeed and these opportunities are sometimes arbitrarily assigned. The main assumption underlying Gladwell’s thinking is that, collectively, the way we imagine success as a simple derivative of innate ability or individual achievement is wrong (Gladwell, 2008).

The implications of Gladwell’s line of reasoning are: (1) One must take full advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself; (2) Some things are beyond our control; and (3) “There is no substitute for hard work.” If readers do not accept Gladwell’s line of reasoning, I believe that a cycle of failure, setbacks, and lack of leadership potential will follow. The main point of view presented in this book is that provided one has an adequate level of intelligence one also needs opportunity, time and dedication to be successful (Gladwell, 2008). While Gladwell used individual anecdotal stories of accomplishment and failure to illustrate his statements, no actual cause-and-effect relationship was determined. Gladwell uses reason and loosely based evidence to argue that our approach to defining success is incorrect, and his statements ultimately prove to be mere opinions. Regardless, Gladwell provides an interesting perspective on the origins of success, and this book is definitely worth reading.


Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: Success Stories (first edition). New York: Little, Brown and Company.