Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The book is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, recommended to me by Dr. Alan Vann Gardner and given to me by my daughter, Caroline. Gladwell’s other come-highly-recommended-to-me works are: The Tipping Point and Blink.

I’m in Australia, sitting at Genoveve, a funky little coffee shop in Brisbane’s funky West End. It’s 6:15 a.m. November 13th here, making it November 12th afternoon back home in the States. I just phoned a client there and told him (almost demanded, actually) to buy Outliers before the sun goes down, and to read Chapter 7 – The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes – before bed. “That’s how much this thing has hit me,” I said. My client was in his car as I was placing the call. We ended the conversation with him pulling into a parking lot at a book store to make the purchase.

I can’t go into the reasons for my urgency – that’s privileged information. But I will say this, if he thinks I was out of my mind then I’ll willingly pay whatever price I need to, because from my vantage point he, his organization and the people who work for him are worth much more than my looking foolish.

I need to introduce Outliers to my son; but a different chapter and for different reasons. For him it’ll be #8 – Rice Paddies and Math Tests. I won’t call and push him from Australia. The odds that whereas my client probably appreciates this morning’s effort, my son will think I’m nuts. I’m his dad, not his consultant. Different relationship. Different backgrounds. Different situations. Definitely, different states of urgency, but, none-the-less, important.

I’m going to recommend Outliers to everyone coming to this year’s Leaders’ Retreats. The Winter 2010 Retreat is just two and a half months away – January 23-27. The Summer 2010 Retreat will be August 21-25.

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