Outliers: Malcolm Gladwell's Success Story

Upending conventional wisdom has made Malcolm Gladwell famous and successful. In his new book, Outliers, he asks, Why on earth did that happen?

Bill Wadman for TIME

Malcolm Gladwell

He started with the lawyers. "Why do they all have the same biography?" he wondered. "We take it for granted that there's this guy in New York who's the corporate lawyer, right? I just was curious: Why is it all the same guy?" It takes a special kind of brain to be curious about New York City lawyers. Such a brain belongs to Malcolm Gladwell, 45, author of The Tipping Point and Blink, the founding documents of the now best-selling genre of pop economics, which together have sold more than 4.5 million copies.

Slender, with...

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