One more thing about Outliers and hockey.

Not to belabor the point, but here is one more thing about Canadian hockey and the claims in Outliers. Ok, two more things.

In Canadian minor hockey, the age divisions are as follows:

Age Categories

* Mite (ages 3-4)
* Tyke (ages 5-6)
* Novice (ages 7-8)
* Atom (ages 9-10)
* Peewee (ages 11-12)
* Bantam (ages 13-14)
* Midget (ages 15-17)
* Juvenile (ages 18-20)

Born early or not, every kid will enter the next age group and play against other kids a year older.

Second, taking the very best ever (i.e., the definition of outlier), Wayne Gretzky, we see this (from Wikipedia): “Gretzky’s first team, at age six, was a team of ten-year-olds, starting a pattern where Gretzky always played at a level far above his peers through his minor hockey years.”

1 comment to One more thing about Outliers and hockey.

  • todd

    Mr. Gladwell is an engaging writer, and I think his individual essays stand up as well-done set pieces.   But his books,  especially the central theses which supposedly hold the rehashed essays (now chapters) together, don’t hold up nearly as well.
    The thesis of BLINK:  trust your first impression of things as an effective heuristic (i.e., instinct often trumps a lot of hard work and study – but there are almost as many exceptions to this rule, so be careful).    The thesis of Tipping Point:  fads and fame can be attributed to a supposedly quantifiable set of social phenomena ultimately controlled by a small clique individuals well-placed to mold opinion.  (or wait, also tons of hard work and research and planning are also really really important).  The thesis of Outliers:  the uniquely talented in wildy different fields generally have a huge amount of hard work built up over many years, and this tends to discredit ideas of innate “talent” or “genius”.
    Uh, I guess.  These read like books for bookclubs and Christmas gifts.  I think you could take each book and come up with a wildy different (if not opposite!) thesis just by cherry-picking different examples.  A book like Freakanomics had more interesting (and counterintutive) theses, and backed them up with things like data, reports, research.  Interviews are not a good enough basis for reordering our understanding of things.


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