I've never come across a book that had been so highly recommended to me by so many people. By the time I had finally gotten my hands on a copy, no fewer than 10 people had suggested that I read it.
Outliers is a book about some of the ingredients that lead to success. It also examines a number of notable success stories, including Bill Gates and The Beatles. This is NOT a recipe for achieving success. The book focuses primarily on two important factors - opportunity and legacy. Throughout the book, Gladwell refers to the 10,000 hour rule, where it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve greatness in any field - whether it is playing sports, playing music or programming computers.
He also contrasts the careers of J. Robert Oppenheimer and Christopher Langan, a self-taught genius whose IQ has been said to be between 195 and 210. While Oppenheimer found himself working on the Manhattan Project, Langan ended up on a horse farm in the midwest. Although a high IQ can be a contributing factor in success, it is in no way a guarantee.
Outliers, as defined by Gladwell, are people who do not fit into our normal understanding of achievement. He also goes on to say that 'Outliers are those who have been given opportunities - and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.'
Now you have become probably the 6th person who recommended Outliers to me! I have gotten through part of this book already and I have to agree with your 5 star assessment. I can't put it down. The only thing is I sometimes worry I am worried I am getting too old to apply the 10,000 hour rule to my life! I sobering thought.