You don't need to agree with someone to listen to their point of view. Listening is one thing, but I'm curious how many of us read books from those opposite to our own beliefs and from authors who challenge our current philosophies.
If you couldn't already tell from my previous posts, I'm a pretty big fan of Malcolm Gladwell. Although, my latest read of Outliers was not the easiest of reads. I found myself forcing my subconscious to listen to the points he was making about the elements of one's success, waiting for him to mention the other side of the coin, the one where you find your own opportunity no matter your current situation. You see, Gladwell identifies different cases of success throughout the last few decades and attempts to explain the underlying elements that add to one's success. He concludes that we do not make our success alone, and that there are multiple external elements, often unique to the individual that make it possible for them to succeed to such an extent.
For example, in the book he analyzes Bill Gates's back story, and discovers he had access to computers at a very young age when even most universities did not. By the time he was in college, he had already surpassed the normal 10,000+ hours mark needed to become an expert in his field, and ended up dropping out to form what is now Microsoft. He also mentions Steve Jobs, as to give some backing for his claim. He explains Jobs did not come from as privileged of a family, but he did although live near Silicon Valley and had the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge at a young age from some of the top tech companies in the country based on his geographic location. Gladwell cites these underlying elements as key points to consider when analyzing the "why" behind massively successful individuals. He expresses this focus on situational characteristics time and time again, and I can confidently say that I agree 100% that these elements definitely add to one's success, whether they are cultural or socioeconomic.
Although, the problem I faced with this book was not necessarily that I disagreed with his analysis, but more so that I felt like he left out a core element in analyzing one's success, that of the behavioral nature. Sure, there will always be external elements to consider, but whatever your definition of success might be, those who strive for the win also possess an attribute that can only be described as one who consistently looks for new opportunities. You will never find yourself being able to take advantage of such luck or opportunity, if you don't first position yourself to find it. Yes, having access to computers and programming at a very young age will obviously give you an edge as you begin to compete for that win, but it takes something of an individual to seize that opportunity and follow through with it to begin with. You might come from royalty, or you might come from the ghetto, but at the end of the day it's not the opportunity alone that defines your ability to succeed, but your aptitude to search for and seize such opportunity.