Brent Taylor started his research with the Forbes Rich List and applied a criteria to whittle down the world's richest people to the final line up for his fascinating new book: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Ingvar Kamprad, Larry Ellison, Carl Icahn, George Soros, David Geffen, Steve Jobs, Charles Schwab, Frank Lowy, Ralph Lauren, George Lucas, Bernie Ecclestone, Richard Branson, Steven Spielberg, John Sperling and Oprah Winfrey.
Some extraordinary and unexpected factors are revealed in Taylor's fascinating new book that explains why some people become billionaires. Despite the fact that the sample of 17 self-made billionaires come from disparate backgrounds, work in different industries, have very different personalities, and superficially appear to have different upbringings, they have one important thing in common. They are all outsiders. Their edge comes from being different and that difference is the well-spring of their creativity and wealth. This combined with direction, drive and trading intelligence has powered them to extreme wealth.
The Outsider's Edge will appeal to lovers of well-written biography; business enthusiasts and entrepreneurs looking to learn from these ultimate wealth creators; parents and educators interested in development - this book debunks a set of conventional wisdoms perpetrated about home and school; and, last but not least, outsiders themselves who have up until now been poorly served by biographies and other analyses extolling them to fit in, which frustrates them greatly, since simply they can't. Many outsiders may now wear their status as a badge of honor rather than a cause of embarrassment.
©2008 Brent D Taylor; (P)2008 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
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"Little or no science or evidence used. Bad Book"
This book is written from an envious point of view with little or no facts used but rather an author who just puts his own judgement on things to support a conclusion he came up with before starting his "research".
If you're someone ambitious looking for a book with important lessons or guide to help you succeed avoid this "rich people have issues and are evil" themed book at all costs.
"A mixed bag"
This book would have been much better had it suggested its premise rather than decreeing it. The first half of the book is biographical - summarising the lives and careers of a collection of self made billionaires. The author labels these businessmen "outsiders" as their upbringing had led them to be outsiders. Being a fellow outsider (without the billions of $$!!) I really connected with this part of the book and it was extremely interesting to compare my upbringing and career to the books outsiders. Unfortunately, the book's second half is hours of waffling where the author gives some rather shallow and unscientific presentations on psychology, sport and medical conditions like dyslexia. The second half of the book should be supplied with a free broom - for it is full of sweeping statements.
While Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" covers some similar ground positing what factors contribute to certain people's success, Gladwell mostly manages to remember he is being guided by anecdote, where this author frequently seems to make it up as he goes along - the most obvious example being his frequent references to dyslexia, which he never presents evidence for.
Its a shame, for this book makes quite a convincing case when the author sticks to telling the story of the lives of the Outsiders - but when he decides that these anecdotes are hard and fast evidence and not only that, but that they are a blueprint for success, that the book loses credibility.
If you're an outsider, read / listen to the first part - its quite interesting. Skip the second half.
If I were to summarise the premise of the book - its the old adage - Q: What's the definition of a nerd? A: The guy at school you used to tease who is now your boss.
This book is a great short cut to the lives of many billionaires, their life's stories and their struggles to achieve their fortune.
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