This time we hosted the BYOB Party with JustBooks at the cosy JustBooks library, Sahakarnagar. It was an extraordinarily intense set of discussions that we had.
Srikanth talked about a book called Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s the age of the non-fiction book, isn’t it? Lots of non-fic books were discussed in this session. Everyone wanted to know how to be successful, a question that Gladwell could provide no self-help magic potion for. He gives you the facts, tells stories and deconstructs myths of success, e.g., people with a high IQ are not necessarily successful. The question came up about what success really can be defined as and what contributed to success. One theory attributes success to the environment. There are also periods and places in history where success was common, take the 1950’s baby boomer generation. Gladwell lays out the controversial 10,000 hour rule, easier to illustrate with skill-based success stories, e.g, violinists, chess players and plumbers who spend 10,000 hours on their craft are bound to succeed.
We learnt many new things. Conversation threw up the broken windows model of policing, first described in 1982 in a seminal article by Wilson and Kelling. Then the Black Swan Theory was discussed. Watch this one-minute video. Another idea was the Hot streak, a period in a professional’s life that is markedly improved over others. Watch this interesting video analyzing data collected about thousands of professionals’ winning streak moments. If you trace the large-scale career histories of individual artists, film directors and scientists, you can identify the success from the cost of their paintings, the success of their movies and the number of citations they have received, respectively. One interesting fact that emerges from this analysis is that you can nail the hot streak regardless of age or career, thus drilling a hole in the theory that musicians and mathematicians must be young. Success among scientists also depends on the ‘hotness’ of the field itself.
A book that elicited a great deal of discussion was a non-fiction book about Caring. Let’s talk about this book in the next post.