""Outlier" is a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience. In the summer, in Paris, we expect most days to be somewhere between warm and very hot. But imagine if you had a day in the middle of August where the temperature fell below freezing. That day would be outlier. And while we have a very good understanding of why summer days in Paris are warm or hot, we know a good deal less about why a summer day in Paris might be freezing cold. In this book I'm interested in people who are outliers—in men and women who, for one reason or another, are so accomplished and so extraordinary and so outside of ordinary experience that they are as puzzling to the rest of us as a cold day in August."
He goes on to explain that sometimes we get far too focused on the individuals characteristics, habits and personality traits of those who get furthest ahead in the world. To understand an outlier we have to understand their culture, community, family and generation. We've been looking at tall trees, and thinks we should have been looking at the forest.
I support the fact that some people become more successful than others because of the people and community around them including the opportunities that they were given to thrive. Do you know one of the smartest individuals in the world today has an IQ over 200 and is a bouncer at a bar in the United States? I won't go into all the detail you will have to get the book and read it yourself. But one of the reasons that he didn't finish college and go on to be a successful scientist or engineer was because of the community and the lack of mentoring and guidance he was given. He had to drop out of college because his mom didn't know how to fill out the paperwork properly for his financials. It's heartbreaking story.