Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Malcom Gladwell on Work

I am really enjoying reading The New Yorker author, Malcom Gladwell in his recent book Outliers: The Story of Success. I would like to review this book, but I'm still processing it as Gladwell masterfully weaves stories with deductions on success. I would call this book a psycho/socio-dissection of success.
Those three things--autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward--are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying. It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It's whether our work fulfills us. If I offered you a choice b/t being an architect for $75K a year and working in a tollbooth every day for the rest of your life for $100k a year, which would you take? I'm guessing the former, because there is complexity, autonomy, and a relationship b/t effort and reward in doing creative work, and that's worth more to most of us than money.
Work that fulfills those three criteria is meaningful.... Bill Gates had that same [ecstatic] feeling when he first sat down at the keyboard at Lakeside. And the Beatles didn't recoil in horror when they were told they had to play eight hours a night, seven days a week. 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.

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