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Reflections from Our Bookshelf: Outliers

Reflections from Our Bookshelf: Musings on how we view reading a bit differently


We are starting a new monthly series for LinkedIn to highlight some of the books we are reading individually and as a team. We hope these brief reflections will inspire you to pick up a book or give us a recommendation for what we need to read next.


Outliers: The Story of Success
By: Malcolm Gladwell
Reflection By: Elizabeth H. Reynolds


Why I read it? This book came to us as a recommendation from many of our clients. While not a recent bestseller this book is often considered Gladwell’s most prominent work.



What is it all about? Gladwell takes his readers on a journey to understand what truly makes someone an Outlier. While at first glance people may attribute success to ambition, intelligence or personality it is often what is going on in the background that matters most. He illuminates their fortune by pushing the reader to see the environmental factors at play.



What caused us to pause?

1. Practice – Gladwell coined the “10,000-Hour Rule” as the standard he sets for getting good at something. Those who become highly successful work hard, practice, and in time get great. Many would argue The Beatles are one of the most successful bands of all time. This level of musical excellence did not erupt overnight, but through nightly eight-hour jam sessions in some of Hamburg, Germany’s least glamorous clubs. Between their founding in 1957 and the start of the so called “British Invasion” the fab four spent seven years honing their craft. As a firm we see the value in deliberate practice. Everyone on our team has a “daily process” they track, devote extra attention to and hope will help them achieve greatness.


2. Cultural Awareness – We learn the unfortunate consequences of maintaining silence when you should really speak up. Being a good member of a team means knowing when you need to voice your opinion. Gladwell gives a multitude of examples of how our ability to advocate for ourselves is often connected to the society in which we grow up. He references a slew of Korean Air crashes that occurred in the 1980’s and 1990’s. These accidents were often the cause of the copilot not wanting to correct or question the captain’s decision. During this period the rate of loss for Korean Air was seventeen times higher than US carriers. Through training and acknowledgment of cultural legacy the airline was able to move forward and become one of the safest airlines to fly. At Foster Victor we have worked hard to bring together a team of diverse talents, where collaboration isn’t just encouraged, but expected. This open environment lends itself to fresh ideas and better outcomes.


3. Discipline – The Knowledge is Power Program “KIPP” is a public charter school program serving students who live-in low-income areas. This very intense program teaches life lessons of endurance and discipline congruently with reading and mathematics. In this unique education environment days are long, and the school week continues with an abbreviated day on Saturday. Through all this hard work and dedication, the children who would statistically be underachievers become overachievers. This “all in” mentality has led to many success stories through disciplined hard work. At the Foster Victor office, we have weekly check-ins with the whole team to see how we are progressing on our weekly and yearly goals. This dedication to reaching our targets keeps everyone motivated.



Add this to your reading list if… you enjoy nonfiction written in a style that pulls you in with persuasive storytelling and gripping facts. This book weaves together unique vignettes that analyze the many reasons why someone may find success. While not all these success factors are in someone’s personal realm of control it gives hope that it is achievable.


Pickle Rating 5/5 

Shannon Dermody

Shannon DermodyTEST

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