Drinking Deeply

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 9:41 AM

Book Review: Outliers

I recently read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. The central thesis of the book is that inborn talent isn't everything. You do need a bit of talent to get in the door, but the people who are at the top aren't exactly the people who have been born with the most, but rather people who, through a lot of work were able to take advantage of the opportunities given to us. He surveys a number of different things that proves his point and makes his case very persuasively.

I think about my own math ability. I probably have spent a couple thousands of hours working on math problems - math competitions, spare time, fun problems, arml, math team, etc etc. And now numbers make sense! So that certainly is nice. And no excuses to those who complain they "just don't get numbers!"

That said, the major takeaway for me is that John Piper doesn't become the preacher he is and the scholar he is simply because he's incredibly gifted. He is incredibly gifted, but he's spent thousands and thousands of hours in the greek text, learning and teaching and preaching. The same goes for anyone and anything - they spent hours and hours honing their skills and weren't simply "talented." As I think about my Greek and (ailing) Hebrew abilities, the frustration at not remembering words, not understanding grammar, and not being able to do much comes quickly. But hopefully with (lots of) practice, it will start to come.

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