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Jeff Bezos and Gladwell’s Success Principles Essay

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Updated: Aug 15th, 2020


Malcolm Gladwell is a well-known writer and author of several outstanding books about success like the Outliers. He outlines several principles that govern the greatness and success of the world’s richest and successful people. For instance, Gladwell analyzes the life history of the most successful billionaires like Bill Gates from childhood to adulthood. This wide scope of research and analysis provides several similarities of the world’s most successful people in terms of growth and their prevailing conditions. Jeff Bezos is an American billionaire worth more than the US $ 40 billion having invested in technology businesses.

He is the founder and CEO of the Amazon.com, which started by bookselling and marketing, but later expanded to offer a wide variety of products. Under Bezos’ management, Amazon.com has managed to become one of the largest world wide web retailers. This paper will highlight the successful pathway of Jeff Bezos and outline how his success connects with the principles of success by Gladwell among others.


Jeff Bezos was born on January 12, 1964 in Mexico. Currently he is married to Mackenzie Bezos with four Children (Stone 38). As a business magnate and entrepreneur, Bezos highly invested in e-commerce. Furthermore, he founded Amazon.com and in 2013, he purchased The Washington Post newspaper. Currently, Bezos is ranked 15th among the world’s Forbes billionaires. Bezos father worked in the U.S Atomic Commission, but retired and started working on ranches, whereby Bezos spent his summer time helping him as a youth. During his childhood, Bezos portrayed a mechanical attitude and zeal, thus gaining experience in certain important roles in his father’s ranch.

All through Bezos life, computer programming and engineering dominated his routine activities. Moreover, Bezos became a student leader and a president of a chapter in the computer engineering school at the Princeton University while studying Physics (Stone 82). Immediately after his graduation from the Princeton University, Bezos worked with Internet-based companies and the banking sector.

In 1994, Bezos realized the growing need for Internet use and left his well-paying job to launch Amazon.com. Moreover, Bezos founded the Blue Origin, which is a space company. In addition, Bezos has received several awards in business, innovation, and management categories with an honorary degree from Harvard University.

Gladwells principles of success

The 10000 hours of practice

Gladwell argues that its takes 10000 hours by estimate to achieve field mastery. In addition, Gladwell studied and examined the lives of the most successful people to support this phenomenon. For instance, he focuses on Bill Gates’ life where he dropped out of school, which led to the magical invention of the Microsoft. Gladwell asserts that Bill Gates would sneak out of his parent’s house in order to access the University computers (Gladwell 54).

Furthermore, Bill Gates relied heavily on computer programming practice, which led to honing of his skills. Gladwell adds that Bill Gates became very addicted to computer programming during his school days. By estimate, Bill Gates spent 10000 hours in order to master computer programming process successfully and launch Microsoft.

According to Gladwell’s findings, practices lead to perfection and mystery of study fields. Moreover, natural talent is useless without practice. For instance, the Bettles played 1200 hours between 1962 and 1964, which perfected their skills in the nightclubs. Gladwell argues that the persistence and practice of playing the music made the Beetles competent and skilled, which thrilled their fans. Similarly, all through Bezos’ life, computer practice had been his routine activity. For example, he won an award during his university education in computer engineering. In addition, after graduation, Bezos worked with several companies in his field until 1994 when his skills were strong enough to launch his own company.

The most successful people fall in love with practice in their respective fields. For instance, an elite football player keeps all day playing and in the evening, s/he watches football films (Canfield and Switzer 56). In general, elites fall in love with their job, which perfects their skills for higher financial and personal developments. In addition, according Gladwell, the Berlin violin players who successfully perfected their skills had been training for 10000 hours (38). Talent has no direct connection with the perfection of skills. This assertion implies that success does not rely on talent, but practice (Rigney 112).

Gladwell posits, “It is not the brightest who succeed, nor is success simply the sum of decisions and efforts we make on our behalf” (267). This assertion implies that the more the practice, the higher the chances of success in any given field. For instance, according to Gladwell, findings on the violin players indicated that only those who attained an average of 10000 hours were highly skilled (39). Conclusively, practice leads to perfection of skills, which ultimately results in success (Gladwell 128). Clearly, Bezos specialized in computer programming and engineering all through his educational levels, which makes him an outstanding e-commerce investor.

The Mathew Effect

According to Rigney, the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. This concept is derived from the bible in Mathew 25: 29, which implies that those who have more will continue to gain more (84). For instance, Gladwell keenly examine Bill Gates’ life whereby his parents would fund his education and accommodate him in good technological schools where he could have access to computers, which were rare in 1968 (51).

Due to the favorable environment of Bill Gates’ access to a computer in the Seattle Private School, success was inevitable. Moreover, Bill Gates’ programming was favored by his high persistence in practice, thus attaining the 10000 hours in computer programming. Similarly, Bezos’ parents were in a position to take him to good schools with computer programming courses. All these factors resulted in Bezos’ success in technology and e-commerce investment businesses.

Advantageous era of Birth

By examining the life history of the world’s most successful people, Gladwell asserts that Bill Gates and others were born during the beginning of computer revolution. During this period, the microprocessor was emerging in the computer world.

According to Gladwell, these prominent people automatically knew that they were supposed to drive the new computerized economy (149). Nevertheless, these prominent people had to take a risk and have the passion to meeting their career demands. Moreover, the most successful people were born when only few kids were in school, which ensured that every child was closely monitored. Due to close supervision, children would grasp the class-work concepts perfectly, hence a better understanding.

Similarly, Bezos was born in the era of computer revolution generation, which boosted his career aspiration goals. Moreover, the ease of computer access was increasing, thus making it favorable for study. Most importantly, the increase in the need for the Internet favored Bezos’ career. Due to the prevailing advantageous conditions, Bezos was in a position to start Amazon.com. Furthermore, his innovations are all computer-related, which resonate with his background. It is a “good idea to be ambitious, to have goals to want to be good at what you do, but it is a terrible mistake to let drive and ambition get in the way of treating people with kindness and decency” (Canfield and Switzer 175).

This assertion is a clear indication that success requires goals and ambitions without looking at the benefits first, but the accomplishment of the tasks ahead. Bezos focuses on achieving his space dreams, which makes him a billionaire.


The principles of success provide basic rules and guidelines to success. For instance, according to Gladwell, talent without practice cannot bear fruits. Moreover, family background, birth time, advantageous era, and meaningful work exposure are success determinants. All these aspects are discussed in the Mathew effect, advantageous birth era, 10000 hours of practice, threshold effects, and many more as highlighted by Gladwell in his masterpiece book.

However, some principles are controversial and they are yet to be discussed by psychologists. Gladwell recommends that governments should focus on creating equal opportunities and conditions for all citizens in a bid to balance the distribution of wealth. People succeed differently in disparate fields through experience, practice, a strong background, and innovation. Gladwell relies heavily on the 10000 hours, advantageous birth era, and a healthy background to account for the success of the prominent people.

However, the fact that someone’s parents are rich r successful does not mean that s/he will be successful. Success is a journey that captures everything that Gladwell examines. Efforts, practice, experience, and exposure to meaningful work stands out as Gladwell’s best argument on success. The 10000 hours remains controversial to many psychologists and economists. Ultimately, success starts with a personal desire, and practice perfects it.

Works Cited

Canfield, Jack, and Janet Switzer. The Success Principles (TM). How to Get from Where You Are to where you want, New York: William Morrow, 2006. Print.

Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers: The Story of Success, New York: Back Bay Books, 2011. Print.

Rigney, Daniel. The Mathew Effect: How Advantage Begets Further Advantage, New York: Colombia University Press, 2010. Print.

Stone, Brad. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, London: Little Brown, 2013. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Jeff Bezos and Gladwell’s Success Principles'. 15 August.

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