" It looks like Gladwell's primary purpose for this book is to puncture the myth, once and for all, of the self-made man. Factors ranging back hundreds of years can have a bearing on how things work out for a person. We don't live in a bubble. My only complaint with the book is his understanding, or definition, of success. How do know, for example, that Bill Gates is actually a success? Because he made a lot of money? Because he had a huge impact in an important field? Or could it be because he's happy and feels as though he's done justice to himself and the world he lives in in a meaningful way regardless of how it might have turned out? We'll never know. Meanwhile I'll quote someone who once said that, "Fame is something other people give you; success is something you give yourself." I don't necessarily believe that Gladwell would disagree with this idea, but he doesn't feature it in his examples. Was Van Gogh, for example, a failure because he couldn't sell his paintings during his lifetime? The reasons for success are deep and varied -- our ideas about what success is should be as well. Perhaps Gladwell didn't think this aspect of the subject was within the purview or interests of his book. It would have been better, though, if he had. "
— Bradd, 1/19/2014