Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ingredients of Outliers / John Shufeldt

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Non-Fiction/Self-Help

Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: YES  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


John Shufeldt describes himself as “a serial student,” and given his multiple advanced degrees (he’s a medical doctor, an attorney, and also has an MBA), that might be an understatement. He’s founded several businesses, serves on the board of Drake University, and is an adjunct professor at Arizona State University. He’s also a licensed pilot. (Some might just call him an outlier.)

For more, visit Shufeldt’s website.


“Ingredients of Outliers is a compilation of thoughts, tips and techniques that will guide you toward finding the ingredients in the ‘secret sauce’ that makes an individual go from average to extraordinary and will inspire you to step outside your comfort zone to join the ranks of the outliers .”


I’m going to start with a quote from near the end of the book:

I know—you already knew all this. What you may have once forgotten is now back in the front of your brain. “This is not rocket science’” you muttered once or twice. You’re right, it isn’t. Everyone knows every concept in this book.

That quote seems to be an argument against reading the book. After all, you already know all of what it has to say, right? Well, not really, at least not if you’re like me. The second sentence of that quote is the key. It often takes multiple times being exposed to something before it sinks in. Often having the same concept explained a different way will do the trick. Which is a nice segue into explaining the structure of this book.

Each chapter starts with a quote that pertains to the subject of that section. (It seems reasonable to say that those being quoted are outliers.) The author then discusses that particular “ingredient,” with examples from both his own life and other outliers (if you don’t think the author is one, read his bio). He then caps it off with several additional quotes. If my theory is correct, that having something explained differently helps internalize a concept, this structure should do the trick.

My favorites were the author’s own stories. Directly from the source is what seems to work best for me. It was an inspirational read. Now it’s time to see how well I can put some of this into practice.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant proofing issues. However, the Kindle edition has two different formatting issues.

The first is at the start of each chapter. In the print edition the first letter of the first line in each chapter is a dropcap (gigantic compared to the other letters, taking up 2 lines). I’m guessing the file for the print edition was run through some automated software and inadequate quality control was done. The result was the first letter is displayed on one line and the remainder of the word on the next line in the Kindle edition. (Using Amazon’s look inside function on the Kindle edition this is easy to see with a capital ‘S’ on one line and an ‘o’ on the next line, to spell the word “so.”)

There is also a problem in the Kindle edition with words randomly being squished together with no space. Examples of this can be seen in the Amazon sample near the first of Chapter one where one paragraph has several issues with this including the phrase “sayingIwasthetallestmidget.Anyway,” which has several missing spaces. That example (and the paragraph it is in) makes this problem look worse than it is. While an occasional irritant, I didn’t decrease the review rating due to this. If this will be an issue for you, but you’re otherwise interested in the book, the above examples should help you determine whether the formatting problems have been fixed prior to purchasing.

Rating: **** Four stars

1 comment:

Vicki said...

Interesting book and interesting author. Food for thought.

Another excellent review, BigAl.