our world requires that decisions be sourced and footnoted, and if we say how we feel, we must also be prepared to elaborate on why we feel that way...We need to respect the fact that it is possible to know without knowing why we know and accept that - sometimes - we're better off that way.
A study at the University of Utah found that if you ask someone why he is friendly with someone else, he’ll say it is because he and his friend share similar attitudes. But if you actually quiz the two of them on their attitudes, you’ll find out that what they actually share is similar activities. We’re friends with the people we do things with, as much as we are with the people we resemble. We don’t seek out friends, in other words. We associate with the people who occupy the same small, physical spaces that we do.
To become a chess grandmaster also seems to take about ten years. (Only the legendary Bobby Fisher got to that elite level in less than that amount of time: it took him nine years.) And what's ten years? Well, it's roughly how long it takes to put in ten thousand hours of hard practice. Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.
The hope with Tipping Point was it would help the reader understand that real change was possible. With Blink, I wanted to get people to take the enormous power of their intuition seriously. My wish with Outliers is that it makes us understand how much of a group project success is. When outliers become outliers it is not just because of their own efforts. It's because of the contributions of lots of different people and lots of different circumstances.
Lands' End has undergone three major changes over the past couple of decades. The first was the introduction of an 800 number, in 1978; the second was express delivery, in 1994; and the third was the introduction of a Web site, in 1995. The first two innovations cut the average transaction time-the time between the moment of ordering and the moment the goods are received-from three weeks to four days. The third innovation has cut the transaction time from four days to, well, four days.
We tend to credit those who create an idea, not those who perfect it, forgetting that it is often only in the perfection of an idea that true progress occurs. Putting sixty-four transistors on a chip allowed people to dream of the future. Putting four million transistors on a chip actually gave them the future.
So, it's a very, you know - maybe we're wrong in - you know, we go around thinking the innovator is the person who's first to kind of conceive of something. And maybe the innovation process continues down the line to the second and the third and the fourth entrant into a field.
I always resist seeing my own personal motivation in my work, but I guess it must be there on some level. And I do feel very much that my life follows the kinds of things I talk about in my books. I've always thought of myself as an insanely lucky person, so perhaps the success of my first two books led me to want to examine this phenomenon on some unconscious level.
I don't go to an office, so I write at home. I like to write in the morning, if possible; that's when my mind is freshest. I might write for a couple of hours, and then I head out to have lunch and read the paper. Then I write for a little bit longer if I can, then probably go to the library or make some phone calls. Every day is a little bit different. I'm not highly routinized, so I spend a lot of time wandering around New York City with my laptop in my bag, wondering where I'm... Read more »
Do you see the consequences of the way we have chosen to think about success? Because we so profoundly personalize success, we miss opportunities to lift others onto the top rung...We are too much in awe of those who succeed and far too dismissive of those who fail. And most of all, we become much too passive. We overlook just how large a role we all play—and by “we” I mean society—in determining who makes it and who doesn’t.
I write my books to challenge my own feelings and theories. Perhaps most surprising was what I learned about rice farming. It was really interesting to think of how different Asian and Western cultures are as a result of the kinds of agricultural practices that our ancestors used for thousands of years. The life of a Chinese peasant in the Middle Ages was so dramatically different from the life of a European peasant - night and day different.
The Tipping Point is the biography of an idea, and the idea is very simple. It is that the best way to understand the emergence of fashion trends, the ebb and flow of crime waves, or, for that matter, the transformation of unknown books into bestsellers, or the rise of teenage smoking, or the phenomena of word of mouth, or any number of the other mysterious changes that mark everyday life is to think of them as epidemics. Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.