You may be thinking that doesn’t sound like a groundbreaking theory. Worse, if you read his critics, you’ll see that many contend that Gladwell’s methodologies are derivative and unscientific. Outliers also suffers from a bit of unevenness – as with The Tipping Point and Blink, Gladwell leads with his best stuff and by the end of the book he seems to be rehashing the same themes with inferior data and less interesting case studies (basically writing about himself for the book's final act). I would suggest ignoring all that and reading it anyway if you’re inclined to popular non-fiction at all.
The joy of Outliers is in the depth with which Gladwell explores his case studies, shedding light on the stories behind the stories we know. Did you know that the Beatles became the Beatles by taking advantage of the opportunity to play countless hours of music in front of live audiences in Hamburg’s red light district? Or that a disproportionate number of professional hockey players are born in January, February and March? Equally important as these factual discoveries are the analytical building blocks employed by Gladwell – ideas (not necessarily his own) like The Matthew Effect and the 10,000 Hour Rule, which resonate beyond the covers of Outliers. Outliers entertains, educates and, most importantly, makes one think about their own successes, under-utilized talents and what might have been.