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True Confessions: I am ALWAYS skeptical of books that instantly “climb” to and linger on bestseller booklists, especially the “1st National Bestseller’s” ranking, all of which tell me nothing except that a book was well marketed. So if I read a “bestseller,” it’s usually many, many years past its publication date (which also seems rather close to “expiration date”). Enter Outliers (c. 2008) and The Tipping Point (c. 2000). I picked up these books following Catherine’s positive review of The Tipping Point (which I am reading next) in reviewing nonfiction options of “stories of hope” at my students’ request.
Outliers presents many narratives highlighting the power of persistence and grit. It has given me much to think about in teaching students how to “keep at it,” even causing me to rethink approaches to teaching, application, and assessment. Essentially, Gladwell explores his premise of how success results from substantial practice + hard work + “[a grounding] in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky” through sketches, proofs, and ample statistics (285). He engages through a rich story-telling style, culminating in a very effective and personable closing chapter. Using Chuck’s half-star system
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