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16 September 2015

Learning from the Innovators: Malcom Gladwell.

Malcom Gladwell is a highly respected writer and researcher whose insights into success, entrepreneurship and work have motivated millions.

We’re going to look at a few of Gladwell’s key quotes to understand how his insights can be used to move us forward with our own work in business.


Achievement is talent plus preparation.’

Talent is nothing without the infrastructure around it that can move it forward. Similarly, without some kind of spark, preparation and support will mean nothing. Big, true success is about growing both of these things so that they benefit each other and propel you forward.


‘No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.’

Hard work matters. If you can work tirelessly and throw yourself into your work every day, working to your capacity, great things will happen. Hard work moves things; it gives them energy. If you can find a way to open up that reserve so that you are able to work hard consistently, you can start moving towards success.



‘Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig.’

Hard work isn’t a bad thing; it just often feels that way. When you’re grinding away at mundane tasks for someone else, without any kind of sense of meaning or achievement, hard work hurts. It’s draining and depressing. But if you can find a cause for which to fight; a business to build, hard work becomes the best thing you can do. It becomes your joy, your reason for living.



‘The values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.’

If you end up surrounded by detractors, you’re going to find yourself slipping backwards. Positive, but also hardship and strength are all aspects of an environment that is conducive to success. Find an environment that allows you to grow.


‘We learn more from extreme circumstances than anything else; disasters tell us something about the way we think and behave that we can’t learn from ordinary life.’

Learning about yourself is an ongoing process. To benefit from your experiences, you need to be open and aware of the impacts they have on you as a person. Difficult experiences are valuable because they can open you up to your own inspection. Learn about yourself as you move towards success. How do you respond to challenges and set backs and how can this information help you do it better next time?


Malcom Gladwell made his name by trying to look through to what is not immediately obvious. Running a successful business requires you to see through to things that other overlook. Explore all of your options, be attentive to yourself and your surroundings and build yourself into a better and more successful person.