Image result for Outliers: The story of successMalcolm Gladwell

Allen Lane, Paperback, $40

In his latest book, Malcolm Gladwell questions ‘Why do some people achieve so much more than others? And what is the secret of their success?’ He explores these questions by weaving a wide range of research and observations into simple stories and anecdotes. The three ideas that really have value for our work programme, Project 2058, are as follows:

  1. People need to feel entitled. This enables people to feel comfortable, ‘open to sharing information and asking for attention.’ (p. 105)
  2. Work ethic matters. As a culture, how effectively and how hard we work might be more hard-wired into us than we might like to think.
  3. New Zealand’s pilots have the lowest Power Distance Index scores. This indicates that ours is a culture which values our right to discuss, debate or disagree with a decision maker – in this case the captain.

Gladwell’s usual conversational style makes the book easy to read, with many a good yarn. Much of the content provides lessons for our work programme; in particular Project 2058. Lessons from the book indicate that for New Zealand to be successful in the long term, it will be vital to foster a questioning and hard working culture.

Reviewed by Wendy McGuinness and Willow Henderson, March 2009