Malcolm Gladwell Says All Great Jobs Have These 3 Qualities


malcolm gladwell

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Malcolm Gladwell.

Only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, research shows, meaning only about one in eight workers is psychologically committed to their job and trying to make positive contributions.


That results in billions of dollars of lost productivity a year and a workforce that is largely unfulfilled.

In his best-selling book "Outliers," which investigates the psychology of success, Malcolm Gladwell makes a powerful point about what helps people commit to and enjoy their work.

Gladwell says energizing work is meaningful, which comes from having three distinct qualities:

  • Complexity
  • Autonomy
  • And a clear relationship between effort and reward

It follows that any worker doing rote tasks under the thumb of a controlling manager, where the effort of going above and beyond the base requirements goes unacknowledged, is likely to hate what they're doing and feel discouraged from dedicating themselves to the job.


On the other hand, doing intellectually stimulating and challenging work, being able to take ownership over the outcome, and having the ability to reap the rewards of success creates meaning, which translates into personal commitment.

And that may be why being an entrepreneur is one of the most satisfying jobs out there.