[Well, I don't know if his theories will work in music because the measure of success he seems to be using is not really applicable. FM wasn't unsuccessful prior to Rumours
was anomaly, not only for the group, but for the record industry]
Book analyzes "success" and will discuss Fleetwood Mac in the study.
Next 'it' book sizes up success
Author examines what sets high achievers apart
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Malcolm Gladwell's forthcoming examination of how mega-success is achieved will not be out until November, but judging by the buzz already surrounding it, "Outliers: Why Some People Succeed and Some Don't" promises to be this winter's "it" book.
Perhaps the most prolific Gladwell-watcher has been blogger Jason Kottke, who has written several anticipatory posts on kottke.org about the book since last fall. "I've learned," he wrote in November, "that the subject of this book is the future of the workplace with subtopics of education and genius."
Well, sort of.
As Kottke noted in May, the book's Amazon page is up, and preorders are being taken. The publisher's description there says that Gladwell takes on the question, "What makes high achievers different?" The answer is that "we pay too much attention to what successful people are like and too little attention to where they are from."
Why did it take Fleetwood Mac so long before achieving superstardom with "Rumours"?
What makes a great soccer player great, rather than merely very good?
What about Bill Gates' "peculiar childhood" set him apart from all the other computer buffs who were around at the dawn of personal computers?
In a short excerpt, Gladwell writes that "I want to convince you that the way we think about success is all wrong."
It is hard to know what, exactly, he means by this, or to know what common thread there may be between Gates and Mick Fleetwood. But some hints can be gleaned from recent works by Gladwell in The New Yorker, and in his recent speeches, video of which can be found on the magazine's Web site, newyorker.com.
In May, Gladwell wrote that scientific discoveries are not necessarily the product of singular genius. He ticked off example after example of discoveries and ideas that occurred at the same time, independently.
"Newton and Leibniz both discovered calculus," he wrote. "Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace both discovered evolution."
In other words, great ideas are often, as the title of the article put it, "in the air," and true genius often lies with the people -- whether mathematicians or musicians -- who are able to snatch them down at the right time.