Here is a collection of the 200+ best Malcolm Gladwell quotes to inspire and motivate you.

Let’s dive right in.

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Attitude

Here are some quotes about attitude from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“Cultural legacies are powerful forces. They have deep roots and long lives. They persist, generation after generation, virtually intact, even as the economic and social and demographic conditions that spawned them have vanished, and they play such a role in directing attitudes and behavior that we cannot make sense of our world without them.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“We sometimes think of being good at mathematics as an innate ability. You either have “it” or you don’t. But to Schoenfeld, it’s not so much ability as attitude. You master mathematics if you are willing to try.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“A study at the University of Utah found that if you ask someone why he is friendly with someone else, he’ll say it is because he and his friend share similar attitudes. But if you actually quiz the two of them on their attitudes, you’ll find out that what they actually share is similar activities. We’re friends with the people we do things with, as much as we are with the people we resemble. We don’t seek out friends, in other words. We associate with the people who occupy the same small, physical spaces that we do.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“The difference isn’t resources, it’s attitude.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Children

Here are some quotes about children from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“My earliest memories of my father are of seeing him work at his desk and realizing that he was happy. I did not know it then, but that was one of the most precious gifts a father can give his child.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“What do we tell our children? Haste makes waste. Look before you leap. Stop and think. Don’t judge a book by its cover. We believe that we are always better off gathering as much information as possible and spending as much time as possible in deliberation.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“What does it say about a society that it devotes more care and patience to the selection of those who handle its money than of those who handle its children?” – Malcolm Gladwell

“The poorer children were, to her mind, often better behaved, less whiny, more creative in making use of their own time, and have a well-developed sense of independence.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“The conventional explanation for Jewish success, of course, is that Jews come from a literate, intellectual culture. They are famously “the people of the book.” There is surely something to that. But it wasn’t just the children of rabbis who went to law school. It was the children of garment workers. And their critical advantage in climbing the professional ladder wasn’t the intellectual rigor you get from studying the Talmud. It was the practical intelligence and savvy you get from watching your father sell aprons on Hester Street.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“What a gifted child is, in many ways, is a gifted learner. And what a gifted adult is, is a gifted doer. And those are quite separate domains of achievement.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“My father read Charles Dickens to us as children, and at the end of virtually every novel he would choke up and start to cry – and my father NEVER cried. It always made me love him all the more.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Hard Work

Here are some quotes about hard work from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot. It makes a difference where and when we grew up.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“…If you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“What is learned out of hard work and trial is inevitably more powerful than what is learned easily.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“I think that persistence and stubbornness and hard work are probably, at the end of the day, more important than the willingness to take a risk.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Inspirational Quotes

Here are some quotes of inspiration from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“We sometimes think of being good at mathematics as an innate ability. You either have “it” or you don’t. But to Schoenfeld, it’s not so much ability as attitude. You master mathematics if you are willing to try.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“The trick to finding ideas is to convince yourself that everyone and everything has a story.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Leadership

Here are some quotes about leadership from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“The Band-Aid solution is actually the best kind of solution because it involves solving a problem with the minimum amount of effort and time and cost.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“The key to good decision making is not knowledge… It’s whether our work fulfills us.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Motivational Quotes

Here are some motivating quotes from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“Those three things – autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward – are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“We sometimes think of being good at mathematics as an innate ability. You either have “it” or you don’t. But to Schoenfeld, it’s not so much ability as attitude. You master mathematics if you are willing to try.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Decision Making

Here are some quotes about decisions from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“Understanding the true nature of instinctive decision making requires us to be forgiving of those people trapped in circumstances where good judgment is imperiled.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Our unconscious is really good at quick decision-making – it often delivers a better answer than more deliberate and exhaustive ways of thinking.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Challenges

Here are some quotes about challenges from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“Activism that challenges the status quo, that attacks deeply rooted problems, is not for the faint of heart.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“David Epstein, the author of the best book on athletics in recent memory – “The Sports Gene” – wrote to me to say that he thinks I’m being overly generous. He points out that, for years, there used to be an “all-star challenge” on television, in which the best professional athletes from a variety of sports competed in a kind of makeshift decathlon.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“I write my books to challenge my own feelings and theories. Perhaps most surprising was what I learned about rice farming. It was really interesting to think of how different Asian and Western cultures are as a result of the kinds of agricultural practices that our ancestors used for thousands of years. The life of a Chinese peasant in the Middle Ages was so dramatically different from the life of a European peasant – night and day different.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“My point is that the great challenge of an artist is to balance those two things: to be strong enough to have your own personal vision that you will put on the page or the canvas or the screen, no matter what people say, but it requires a radical sensitivity. You have to be completely open to what the world is telling you, to what your audience tells you. And balancing those two things is nearly impossible.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“A radical and transformative thought goes nowhere without the willingness to challenge convention.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Innovators have to be open. They have to be able to imagine things that others cannot and be willing to challenge their own preconceptions. They also need to be conscientious. An innovator who has brilliant ideas but lacks the discipline and persistence to carry them out is merely a dreamer … But crucially, innovators need to be disagreeable … They are people willing to take social risks-to do things that others might disapprove of.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“I would say first of all, anyone who wants to challenge the status quo always gets that response. Ninety percent of the time, that’s just bull. That’s just the way in which people choose to prop up their own privilege or their own particular position. So mostly I shrug it off.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Achievement

Here are some quotes about achievement from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“Achievement is talent plus preparation. The problem with this view is that the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“What a gifted child is, in many ways, is a gifted learner. And what a gifted adult is, is a gifted doer. And those are quite separate domains of achievement.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“When the students were asked to identify their race on a pretest questionnaire, that simple act was sufficient to prime them with all the negative stereotypes associated with African Americans and academic achievement. If a white student from a prestigious private high school gets a higher SAT score than a black student from an inner-city school, is it because she’s truly a better student, or is it because to be white and to attend a prestigious high school is to be constantly primed with the idea of ‘smart’?” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Success

Here are some powerful quotes about success from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“We have, as human beings, a storytelling problem. We’re a bit too quick to come up with explanations for things we don’t really have an explanation for.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it. And what’s more, the people at the very top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Insight is not a lightbulb that goes off inside our heads. It is a flickering candle that can easily be snuffed out.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“I want to convince you that these kinds of personal explanations of success don’t work. People don’t rise from nothing….It is only by asking where they are from that we can unravel the logic behind who succeeds and who doesn’t.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“The lesson here is very simple. But it is striking how often it is overlooked. We are so caught in the myths of the best and the brightest and the self-made that we think outliers spring naturally from the earth. We look at the young Bill Gates and marvel that our world allowed that thirteen-year-old to become a fabulously successful entrepreneur. But that’s the wrong lesson. Our world only allowed one thirteen-year-old unlimited access to a time sharing terminal in 1968. If a million teenagers had been given the same opportunity, how many more Microsofts would we have today?” – Malcolm Gladwell

“No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Those three things – autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward – are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“….. it would be interesting to find out what goes on in that moment when someone looks at you and draws all sorts of conclusions.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“In the act of tearing something apart, you lose its meaning.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Values

Here are some quotes about values from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“It’s not about how smart you are. It’s about your values.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“If you are going to do something truly innovative, you have to be someone who does not value social approval. You can’t need social approval to go forward. Otherwise, how would you ever do the thing that you are doing?” – Malcolm Gladwell

“The values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Winning

Here are some quotes about winning from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“The conventional wisdom is often wrong. Crime didn’t keep soaring in the 1990s, money alone doesn’t win elections, and – surprise – drinking eight glasses of water a day has never actually been shown to do a thing for your health. Conventional wisdom is often shoddily formed and devilishly difficult to see through, but it can be done.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“In a country that never wins anything: in Canada, if one of our athletes so much as makes the final in a World Championship, we declare a national holiday.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Do I think that American democracy ends if Trump is president? No! I think, there are plenty of checks and balances in place. I think he would do some damage to the country but we would recover. The office of the presidency and American democratic institutions are a lot stronger than one person. So if he wins, our job is just to keep the office strong, right? And hope he’ll be replaced by something better!” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Writing

Here are some quotes about writing from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“We prematurely write off people as failures. We are too much in awe of those who succeed and far too dismissive of those who fail.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“I don’t go to an office, so I write at home. I like to write in the morning, if possible; that’s when my mind is freshest. I might write for a couple of hours, and then I head out to have lunch and read the paper. Then I write for a little bit longer if I can, then probably go to the library or make some phone calls. Every day is a little bit different. I’m not highly routinized, so I spend a lot of time wandering around New York City with my laptop in my bag, wondering where I’m going to end up next. It’s a fairly idyllic life for someone who likes writing.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“As a writer, I know that – you write a first draft and then put it in a drawer. The longer I can put it in a drawer, the better off I am. So I structure my writing so that things can sit.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“We cling to the idea that success is a simple function of individual merit and that the world in which we all grow up and the rules we choose to write as a society don’t matter at all.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Nothing frustrates me more than someone who reads something of mine or anyone else’s and says, angrily, ‘I don’t buy it.’ Why are they angry? Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head—even if in the end you conclude that someone else’s head is not a place you’d really like to be.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“When writing, you can’t break physical rules. You can’t have people come back from the dead. That’s cheating. I am a kind of narrative fundamentalist in many ways.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“So long as the stereotype is used as a way of understanding how to fix the problem as opposed to demonizing a people or writing them off, then I think it’s OK.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“When people reflexively write checks to institutions that have billions of dollars in the bank, they are essentially committing a moral crime. Your money could do good in this world and you’re choosing instead to waste it. People have to do a better job of that. You’ve got to find places where your money’s going to do some good and direct your dollars towards that institution.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“I write my books to challenge my own feelings and theories. Perhaps most surprising was what I learned about rice farming. It was really interesting to think of how different Asian and Western cultures are as a result of the kinds of agricultural practices that our ancestors used for thousands of years. The life of a Chinese peasant in the Middle Ages was so dramatically different from the life of a European peasant – night and day different.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“My writing model is my mother, who is a writer as well. She always valued clarity and simplicity above all else. If someone doesn’t understand what you’re writing, then everything else you do is superfluous. Irrelevant. If any thoughtful, curious reader finds what I do impenetrable, I’ve failed.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“My highest compliment is when someone comes up to me to say, “My 14-year-old daughter, or my 12-year-old son read your book and loved it.” I cannot conceive of a greater compliment than that – to write something that as an adult I find satisfying, but also that manages to reach a curious 13- or 14-year-old.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Clear writing is universal. People talk about writing down to an audience or writing up to an audience; I think that’s nonsense. If you write in a way that is clear, transparent, and elegant, it will reach everyone.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Values

Here are some quotes about values from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“It’s not about how smart you are. It’s about your values.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“If you are going to do something truly innovative, you have to be someone who does not value social approval. You can’t need social approval to go forward. Otherwise, how would you ever do the thing that you are doing?” – Malcolm Gladwell

“The values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Vision

Here are some quotes about visions from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“Visionaries are limited by their visions.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“My point is that the great challenge of an artist is to balance those two things: to be strong enough to have your own personal vision that you will put on the page or the canvas or the screen, no matter what people say, but it requires a radical sensitivity. You have to be completely open to what the world is telling you, to what your audience tells you. And balancing those two things is nearly impossible.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Extreme visual clarity, tunnel vision, diminished sound, and the sense that time is slowing down. this is how the human body reacts to extreme stress.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Failing

Here are some quotes about failure from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“The fact of being an underdog changes people in ways that we often fail to appreciate. It opens doors and creates opportunities and enlightens and permits things that might otherwise have seemed unthinkable.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Do you see the consequences of the way we have chosen to think about success? Because we so profoundly personalize success, we miss opportunities to lift others onto the top rung…We are too much in awe of those who succeed and far too dismissive of those who fail. And most of all, we become much too passive. We overlook just how large a role we all play—and by “we” I mean society—in determining who makes it and who doesn’t.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Nothing frustrates me more than someone who reads something of mine or anyone else’s and says, angrily, ‘I don’t buy it.’ Why are they angry? Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head—even if in the end you conclude that someone else’s head is not a place you’d really like to be.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“We prematurely write off people as failures. We are too much in awe of those who succeed and far too dismissive of those who fail.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Giving Up

Here are some quotes about surrender from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“Does that mean we should give up? Probably. But there are two issues worth considering. The first is – is it really true that drugs destroy the integrity of the game?” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Take a random group of 8-year-old American and Japanese kids, give them all a really, really hard math problem, and start a stopwatch. The American kids will give up after 30, 40 seconds. If you let the test run for 15 minutes, the Japanese kids will not have given up. You have to take it away.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Technology

Here are some quotes about technology from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“[Norden] said, with the Mark 15 Norden bombsight, he could drop a bomb into a pickle barrel at 20,000 feet.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“The issue isn’t the accuracy of the bombs you have, it’s how you use the bombs you have – and more importantly, whether you ought to use bombs at all.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Math

Here are some quotes about mathematics from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“Superstar lawyers and math whizzes and software entrepreneurs appear at first blush to lie outside ordinary experience. But they don’t. They are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Their success is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky – but all critical to making them who they are. The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“If your parents are billionaires, that might actually be an obstacle to your own happiness and self-development. If you go to Oxford or Harvard, that might actually thwart your desire to graduate with a science or math degree.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Take a random group of 8-year-old American and Japanese kids, give them all a really, really hard math problem, and start a stopwatch. The American kids will give up after 30, 40 seconds. If you let the test run for 15 minutes, the Japanese kids will not have given up. You have to take it away.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Quotes About Legacy

Here are some quotes about legacy from Canadian journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

“Cultural legacies are powerful forces. They have deep roots and long lives. They persist, generation after generation, virtually intact, even as the economic and social and demographic conditions that spawned them have vanished, and they play such a role in directing attitudes and behavior that we cannot make sense of our world without them.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot. It makes a difference where and when we grew up.” – Malcolm Gladwell

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