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Success: Luck and sweat

Diary of a Real Estate Rookie

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The No. 1 business book in the country is "Outliers: The Story of Success," the new book by Malcolm Gladwell, author of "The Tipping Point." "Outliers" is basically a collection of weird little scholarly studies and anecdotes strung along like pearls on a necklace, arguing that it's smarter to be lucky than it's lucky to be smart. Lyrics from "Pippin" aside, Gladwell spends a lot of his time indicating that a strong factor in success is that the seed finds fertile soil -- as in his story of the kings of Silicon Valley, who were all born within two years of each other, because any computer geek older than that would have been an entrenched IBM man by the time the personal computer revolution came around. But Gladwell uses another set of his stories to indicate that success requires practice -- nearly constant practice. He uses the figure of 10,000 hours to indicate mastery of a field, whether it's music or hockey. In other words, it ...