Ingredients of Outliers: Women Game Changers

Ingredients of Outliers book reviewThere are people who succeed at something and there are those whose success turns everyday people into superheroes. We call these people “outliers”, a term from the field of statistics and popularized by author Malcolm Gladwell. Outliers are things (people, data points, numbers) that lie far outside the realm of what you would expect. Figuring out what “ingredients” propelled these six extraordinarily successful women into outlier status is the singular focus of Ingredients of Outliers: Women Game Changers.

What Ingredients of Outliers Is About

Ingredients of Outliers is an ongoing book series by Dr. John Shufeldt focused on finding the special “ingredients” behind extraordinarily successful people (“outliers”). This book from that series, in particular, focuses on the unique challenges encountered and transformed by women into powerful levers of success. Six women are featured in interviews, all of whom chartered new levels of excellence in several professional fields (medicine, law, literature, etc.) .Following each interview, the reader is given some words of advice gleaned from the interviews, followed by a list of resources for further information.

The interviews, however, are the central focus of the book and deserve the most attention because they demonstrate (rather than just point out in neat bullet points) how messy success really is. The interviews also brilliantly show the motivation behind each woman’s rise to outlier status.

Through each interview, readers get a glimpse of how and why these women felt compelled to achieve their success.One particularly striking interview featured Sharon Guynup, TEDx speaker and documentary creator, who shared her disappointment when a professor told her she would never become a writer because of “her background”. Readers also get to see how even seemingly simple decisions (like, “Hey, I could do that”) catapulted Marsha Ternus to become the first woman to serve in Iowa’s supreme court after working a dead-end job at a bank.

Dr. John Shufeldt is a multi-talented and multi-career professional who dedicates himself to one field of study every 10 years. In 1986, he earned his MD degree. In 1995, he earned his MBA. In 2005, he earned his law degree. Currently, he runs Shufeldt Consulting, MeMD, and the Urgent Care Integrated Network.

What Was Best About This Book

The best part about this book in the Ingredients of Outliers series is the unique perspective and power of the women in the interviews. The interviews, while brief, are inspirational and highly motivating. The fact that Dr. Shufeldt interviews these women while they are still achieving success is also noteworthy. Readers get a sense that there is more to come from these women.

What Could Have Been Done Differently

If you are reading this book from the perspective of “I want to pick up a few tips on how to be better”, this book won’t be your cup of tea. There isn’t a step-by-step guide in this book or coherent set of principles. Each interviewee offers a different perspective and different tips. If you’re looking to gather inspiration from extraordinary professionals from different fields, this book might be just for you.

Why Read This Book

As shared above, Ingredients of Outliers: Women Game Changers is about inspiration. It’s about finding the strength to pursue a college degree even though you left high school or to go on into public service when your dreams of another kind may have ended. The book offers readers a chance to think outside the box and beyond their obstacles in a new way.

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