Currently reading

The Art of Fiction: A Guide for Writers and Readers
Ayn Rand, Tore Boeckmann, Leonard Peikoff
The Name of the Rose
Umberto Eco
Ghostwritten
David Mitchell
To the Lighthouse
Virginia Woolf
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Edward Gibbon, Daniel J. Boorstin, Gian Battista Piranesi, Hans-Friedrich Mueller
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Douglas R. Hofstadter
Perfect Wrong Note - Learning to Trust Your Musical Self
William Westney
The Prince
Niccolò Machiavelli
The Varieties of Religious Experience
William James
Twenty Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy
G. Lee Bowie, Robert C. Solomon

Outliers: The Story of Success

Outliers: The Story of Success - This book is excellent. It's fascinating, insightful, sometimes even shocking and always entertaining. If you don't read it, you're really missing out on some great research and writing.Why four stars? In my less-than-humble opinion this book, or rather this author, has the same problem as other books I've read by smart, insightful authors, I agree with their research methods and findings and even most of their conclusions, then they step into the realm of political or economic policy and I go nuts.In this case it didn't happen until the interview after the epilogue in the audio version of the book. Gladwell, who by the way, is an excellent narrator (it makes me slightly sick that he is so good at everything he does) is explaining his premise--that success is not entirely the result of an individual's grit and brilliance, but is also heavily influenced by their ancestors and environment. Fine. I have read the book and it's a position that I understand and respect. Then he says something along the lines of:"the idea if that if you make it to the top of your profession you deserve a salary of $20 million a year because you're the one responsible for getting to the top, why shouldn't you be richly rewarded? ... and I think that idea is completely false, it's completely false and it's dangerous."This is part of his "bedrock philosophy as a human being." Again, I agree with him on the point that people who end up at the top of their careers were likely helped by environmental factors similar to those that helped Bill Gates, Rockefeller etc. But to say that we, the people who weren't in their position and didn't make it to where they are, have some right to say what amount of money they should or shouldn't earn or possibly even a right to some of their money is ridiculous! Sure, they had help along the way, but their success is still fundamentally their success. Bill Gates could have had all the same luck but still never made anything of his life. Instead he, and not anyone else, recognized an opportunity and took advantage of his position for his, and all our benefit. Limiting his salary doesn't mean that there is less money to go around for everyone else. If you boil it down, what Gladwell is basically saying is the same thing you hear on an elementary school playground "NO FAIR!" Nothing in life is fair. Everyone knows it. You make the best of what you have and try to be happy for, and learn from, those who have more.It is disappointing to me that Gladwell uses such a well written and otherwise brilliant book as a thinly veiled justification for income redistribution.