Outliers: The Story of Success Selected for Trent Reads 2010


Students, Faculty, Staff and Alumni Vote for Malcolm Gladwell’s Acclaimed Novel to be Read by all New Trent Students in Fall 2010

March 11, 2010, Peterborough

After an open call for nominations, public defence of four short-listed books and a week-long on-line voting period, current Trent students, faculty, staff and alumni have selected Malcolm Gladwell’s acclaimed novel, Outliers: The Story of Success, to be read by all new Trent students as part of Trent Reads 2010. 

“I am very pleased with the involvement of the Trent community in Trent Reads,” said Jocelyn Aubrey, associate dean of undergraduate studies and chair of the Trent Reads committee.  “I know that our new students will find Outliers to be a very interesting read and many will recognize aspects of their own lives reflected in the commentary. I look forward to many conversations with students, faculty and staff about Gladwell’s assertions regarding the factors that contribute to individual success.”

To help members of the Trent community choose their favourite book, the Trent Reads website featured videos from each book’s nominators and links to reviews. A Battle of the Books was also held at Trent on February 25 during which audience members listened to the four student champions defend their choice for the book new students will read and talk about in September 2010. 

Outliers is just the book to bring the University community together. Joel Baetz, nominator of Outliers, describes this book as being “accessible to all reading levels, surprisingly compassionate, and ... relevant for a number of Trent’s departments. I can imagine seminars on the validity of his conclusions and his rhetorical devices.”

Student champion, Ned Gallagher, defended Outliers at the Battle of the Books.  “The most important thing about this book is it makes you think. It makes you want to discuss. It makes you want to think about success and makes you want to think about the world you live in...’”. Ned asks,” Are we slaves to our ethno and cultural history?  Does our past define who we are today?”

Outliers: The Story of Success is Trent Reads first non-fiction book. This book is about success and how certain attributes make an individual more successful than others. The real-life examples Gladwell provides to support his theories of success will appeal to a diversified audience.

Malcolm Gladwell, a Canadian now living in New York, has written a number of bestsellers including: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference (2000), and Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005). His most recent book, What the Dog Saw, was released in October 2009.

Trent Reads, a new initiative launched in 2008, is designed to bring the Trent community together by creating a common ground for discussion. It also aims to give new students an academic experience that they can all be a part of before they actually begin classes. Joseph Boyden’s award-winning novel Three Day Road was chosen for the inaugural Trent Reads in 2008, followed by Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes in 2009.

All new students registered at Trent for the 2010/11 academic year will read Outliers prior to arriving in September. During Introductory Seminar Week (ISW) in Peterborough, seminars consisting of small groups of 20 or fewer students, and led by Trent faculty in a variety of departments and programs, will provide a forum for new students to discuss the book. In Oshawa, discussion seminars will take place during the first few weeks of the fall term.

Other short-listed books nominated by members of the Trent Community and chosen by the selection committee for their engaging and substantive content were: Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan by Jamie Zeppa, Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott and Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner.

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For more information about Trent Reads and to view video clips from book nominators and student champions, visit the Trent Reads website. or contact:

Jocelyn Aubrey, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Chair of the Trent Reads committee, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6080