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May I please get a summary of Chapter Two ("The Ten Thousand Hour Rule") of Outliers.I...

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samar93 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 15, 2010 at 6:40 AM via web

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May I please get a summary of Chapter Two ("The Ten Thousand Hour Rule") of Outliers.

I have read the chapter already, for fun, and I had trouble understanding a couple of stuff so I was hoping that a summary would fix that. Thanks in advance.

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 15, 2010 at 10:18 AM (Answer #1)

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Gladwell tries to deflate the myth of innate genius (that great people are born great).  Instead, he says that opportunity and hard work too often go overlooked.  He builds off the relative age effect (the magic birthday) to illustrate how Bill Gates and the Beatles not only came along at the perfect time, but they had logged the magic 10,000 hours faster than anyone else in order to best take advantage of their opportunities in the personal computer industry and British Invasion respectively.

Computer programmers Bill Joy and Bill Gates, both born in the 1950s, have taken advantage of the relative-age effect to become industry giants in the 1980s.  Gates had access to a university mainframe as a teenager, so he was light years ahead of the competition in terms of software development (he dropped out of Harvard to write code.)  Soon, Microsoft was born (while others his age were still in college).

The same it is for the Beatles: they toured Germany as teenagers in the infancy of rock 'n' roll, honing their skills, while other bands were still in their garages.  Gladwell not only debunks the romantic mystique of self-determinism, but also the myth that genius is born, not made. He claims that Mozart and The Beatles are not so much innate musical prodigies but grinders who thrived only after 10,000 hours of practice.  In short, whoever logs 10,000 hours of experience in a booming industry has a distinct advantage over other competitors.

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cetaylorplfd | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted August 15, 2010 at 6:59 AM (Answer #2)

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In the second chapter of Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell outlines his 10,000 hour rule.  This basically means that people who are successful have put in a great amount of time practicing and preparing for their career.  The chapter starts out with the story of Bill Joy who spent hours working with computers before becoming successful.  Gladwell also cites the Beatles who played live shows for hours perfecting their skills.  After this argument, however, Gladwell goes on to argue that this amount of practice only pays off if an opportunity becomes available to someone, and these types of opportunities are often based on luck.  After this, Gladwell makes another argument about the time during which someone is born.  He drafts a table with the birth years of many successful people and notices that certain years held more opportunities for success because of the social, economic, and political climates of the time.  So in the end, one needs practice, opportunity, and the right climate to be successful--according to Gladwell anyway.

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