“The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all.”

What you just read is one of many “one liners” in the book entitled, “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell.  I encourage you all to read it.  It’s well written, and I read the whole thing (285 pages) in 1 and a half days.

An outlier is something (or some people in the case of the book) that stands out from the average or normal.  The term can be used in statistics when analyzing data and drawing conclusions.  While in most cases the outliers are dropped (as in a curve that a teacher gives after most of the class performed poorly on a test), Gladwell decides to study them; to try to understand them.  Bill Gates is one example used in the book.  He is basically the richest person in the world.  He founded Microsoft.  He went to private school, the PTA raised money and decided to buy a computer, the school started a computer club, he joined, he was at the school all the time programming and learning about the computer, started working for a company that wanted to test programs on their computers at work (while still in hs), graduated, ended up starting Microsoft, RICH MAN!  Gladwell takes the end result (RICH DUDE) and goes back to Gates’ childhood and starts re-tracing his steps.  There are other examples in the book…Gates isn’t the only oustanding person in the world with this type of story.  If you want to know other stories, buy the book.

Gladwell surmises towards the end:

“It is impossible for…[Gates]…or any other outlier for that matter, to look down from their lofty perch and say with truthfulness, ‘I did this, all by myself.’  Superstar…software entrepreneurs appear at first blush to lie outside ordinary experience. But the don’t. They are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy.  Their success is not exceptional or mysterious.  It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky — but all critical to making them who they are.  The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all.”

In the music business, it’s the same way.  Michael Jackson didn’t get famous because he just decided to wake up one morning and be famous.  It started with the Jackson 5, but, even before them, there were circumstances, or inheritances as Gladwell would say, that allowed him to be at the right place at the right time for him to succeed like he did.  Keith Urban didn’t just decide to be famous.  He has had a tough road, worked hard, and owes a lot of his success to his current producer.  Check out the band called “The Ranch” from back in the day.  Keith Urban was the lead singer.  If you listen to those songs, and the songs off his first major album, there is quite a difference.

I don’t ever want to think I can do it on my own.  Thanks to my family, and all the “history and community” I have in my life, I have had those “inheritances.”  So thanks to my family!  But, to make it in the music industry, it’s all about who you know and relationships.  What better example to use to show how we all need each other than the music business?!  I can’t make it on my own as a drummer, and be famous.  I need a band.  And vice versa.  As a side note, I don’t wanna be famous.  I just want to play for a famous person.  🙂  We all need each other…

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