This is a very good book and looks at the story of successful people from a different angle. It fits perfectly with the Chinese saying, 天时地利人和. One message I take away from listening to the book is that intelligence and hard work are a necessary condition to be successful. Without the right environment and support, one is almost hopeless to reach the pinnacle.

In one chapter, Malcolm explains that the Chinese language helps to memorize more numbers because each number takes one quarter of a second to say in Chinese while take one third to say in English. That gives an advantage to Chinese speakers for learning math. Also, he claims that China never developed the same feudal system as the one in Europe because Chinese grew rice. I don’t think that’s right because the Chinese civilization started along the Yellow River and rice was grown south of the Yangtze River. It’s just too simplistic.