Gladwell debunks the idea that genius and other ‘outlier’ behavior are inherent qualities, arising solely from natural talent or proclivities. He looks at the social and cultural factors that have led to outbreaks of outlier behavior, from Jewish professionals to Hatfield-McCoy style blood feuds, and makes a compelling case that being in the right place, at the right time, in the right environment, have much to do with one’s outcome.
He also makes the case that plain hard work have more to do with success than does natural talent. He compares the trajectory of toprank musicians with that of their second-best colleagues, and finds that the single distinction between them is that the top players began practicing longer, earlier. The ‘magic number’ seemed to be 10,000 hours of practice.
I found this to be a very interesting read.