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Author Topic: Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell  (Read 23765 times)
chin
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« on: 01 August 2009, 00:28:52 »

I read the book review few months ago, and finally got the book earlier this week.

It was a page turner, and I finished the book in two sittings. A good book, and an easy light reading. I will writing some more comment later.
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hangchoi
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« Reply #1 on: 11 September 2009, 05:36:08 »

Just grabbed this book from the airport book shop and read half of it during my flight to Budapest. I think I will finish it on my way back..........

Really an interesting book.....
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「吾心信其可行,則移山倒海之難,終有成功之日。吾心信其不可行,則反掌折枝之易,亦無收效之期也。」
chin
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« Reply #2 on: 13 September 2009, 02:12:04 »

Yes, it's an interesting light reading. I picked up two of his books (Outliers & Tipping Point) at the recent promotion. Outliers is more interesting reading for me than the other one.

The book sort of dispelled some romantic believes that someone somehow can change the world sole with his/her own determination and ability. Bill Gates was smart, but if were not born at the right time at the right place.... etc...

The general theme should not be too surprised for people bought up in traditional Chinese culture. The Chinese long ago say that 時勢做英雄 (the era/environment makes the hero) or 謀事在人成事在天 (planning/preparation by people, success by the "heaven") or the idea behind 孟母三遷.

The above statement is by no mean to take any credit away from the author. He's putting the idea in modern context and reinforce the idea - that smart and diligent people still need to be in the right time at the right place to achieve greatness.

The second half of the book went great length to examine how culture & family affect one's achievement and behaviors. I wonder if these observations had any survivor bias?!
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« Reply #3 on: 13 September 2009, 11:48:28 »

Well, finished it on my way back from Berlin.

This book is particularly useful for some parents, I would say.....

People may not think that  孟母三遷 matters much but this book gives them a qualitative view.

I like the chapter about the three lessons of the lawyer much. Not because it talks about legal profession, but because it states a very true principle of "meaningful work".
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「吾心信其可行,則移山倒海之難,終有成功之日。吾心信其不可行,則反掌折枝之易,亦無收效之期也。」
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« Reply #4 on: 28 September 2009, 18:23:15 »

Haven't read the book, but because of this thread, I wiki the book and read the sort of preface.  Later I encounter this article which seems telling the same story as "why elite hockey player born in the first few month of the calendar".

It seems the more we dug from the statistical data, the more inclined in believing to the Chinese ancient wisdom 風水/命運.
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Hey, diddle, diddle ! The cat and the fiddle.
chin
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« Reply #5 on: 28 September 2009, 18:59:48 »

Haven't read the book, but because of this thread, I wiki the book and read the sort of preface.  Later I encounter this article which seems telling the same story as "why elite hockey player born in the first few month of the calendar".

It seems the more we dug from the statistical data, the more inclined in believing to the Chinese ancient wisdom 風水/命運.

Depending on what you mean by 風水/命運 and how people relate & react to 風水/命運 as told by the 'masters'.

It's one thing to appreciate & accept the randomness in life, it's different story to resign one's fortune entirely to 風水/命運, especially the more superstitious, deterministic view of life.

In the former case, you will still need to prepare yourself to take advantage of the opportunity arised. You still need to be smart, work hard, and willing to take risk. At the same time, you need to fully prepare for failure even though you are smart, worked very hard and took risk, simply because of wrong timing or a bad sequency of event happened. 
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wongyan
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« Reply #6 on: 28 September 2009, 23:18:20 »

there is a book called "Good Luck".  A tale written by two Spanish that really gave me a different aspect on "good luck" versus "luckiness". 
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Never stop Learning, Never stop Earning!!
哲人無憂,智者常樂。並不是因為所愛的一切他都擁有了,而是所擁有的一切他都愛。
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« Reply #7 on: 10 October 2009, 10:34:03 »

there is a book called "Good Luck".  A tale written by two Spanish that really gave me a different aspect on "good luck" versus "luckiness". 

Any explanation? 試舉例加以說明之。
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« Reply #8 on: 12 October 2009, 11:02:35 »

as it is written in a tale format, it is hard to explain as different people may have different interpretations.   I can borrow the book to you if you like. It is also very light that you can finish it 1-2 nights.
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Never stop Learning, Never stop Earning!!
哲人無憂,智者常樂。並不是因為所愛的一切他都擁有了,而是所擁有的一切他都愛。
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« Reply #9 on: 10 January 2010, 03:18:55 »

My daughter really liked this book that she subsequently purchased all the other Gladwell books.

The latest one is What the Dag Saw. It's a collection of his essays, instead of a specially written book with a coherent theme. I am reading the part about minor heros - people who are obsessed with what they do and innovated greatly in their little corner of the world.

Since the book is really just a collection of unrelated essays, they can be read in a piece meal fashion without much problem. I am most fascinated sofar by the interview with Nassim Taleb, the author of Black Swan. I have read two of Taleb's books and knew that he's a fund manager. But he never talked about his exact strategies in his books, but hinted that he's not predicting the market, and cashing in one extreme events.

In this interview, it was revealed that the trading strategy involves buying (and only buying, not writing, or selling in layman term) varies out-of-money extreme event puts and calls. The basic idea is that other option traders are presumably pricing options contracts using normal distribution to predict extreme events. Whilst Taleb believes black swan events happen far more frequent than what normal distribution predicts - the tails are much fatter than assumed. With this strategy, which I assume the extreme event options are dirty cheap, he will constantly losing small amount of money every single day, hoping to make a killing in the extreme events.

If the financial markets are getting more and more volatile, which seems to be the case with more frequent market crashes, this strategy could work well. (It did worked well reportedly for Telab.)

The question on the option pricing is how cheap is cheap enough? And if he's not predicting the market, how does he assign probabilities to the extreme events and size his bets?
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