Outlies, Damned Outlies, and Statistics

Story Sent in by Randall:

Audrey's dating site profile was attractive to me, as it was well-written, intelligent-sounding, and used no Internet acronyms. Her replies to my messages were written equally well, and I asked her out to a Saturday lunch.

We met at a nice cafe, and I hoped that we could take a walk or find something else to do afterward. However, shortly after we sat down, things went downhill.  After some small talk, she asked me, "What did you think of Outliers?"

I asked, "Outliers? That a new show on the SciFi Channel?"

She said, "You're joking, right? Seriously, what did you think?"

I replied, "What's Outliers?"

She gave a rueful laugh and said, "It's Malcolm Gladwell's latest opus. It's been on the New York Times bestseller list for months. Don't tell me you haven't read it."

"I haven't read it."

"Okay," she said, then stood up and left.

My first thoughts were, I must have somehow shocked her, but I'm certain that she's just taking a walk around the block. No way she just up and left over this.

Oh, but she did. She did not return. I tried her phone and left a message, but she never contacted me again. I have no idea what she was on about, or why, if me reading that book was so important to her, she waited until we met in person to even mention it. It must be truly amazing to have that much of a strange impact on someone. As for me, I haven't yet read it, nor do I have plans to.


  1. I saw him on The Colbert Report when his book first came out, and he was such a creeper and a snot that it completely turned me off to reading his "opus." It sounded like a self-congratulatory fap-fest to people like him who are, like, too smart for everyone else.

  2. Given this ^ then, the post makes complete sense. I thought it was mostly Europeans who got off on being intellectual snobs.

  3. People who use the term opus to name a book are just douches.

  4. I had to look Outliers up, and it's a self-help type thing. I could almost understand dropping someone if they hadn't heard of Harry Potter or the Da Vinci Code, as that goes beyong being a nonreader and suggests being grossly culturally out of touch. But a self-help book? Really?

  5. If this happened to me I think I would probably be curious enough about the book to at least check it out of the library.

    By the way, instead of "used no Internet acronyms" you can just write UNIA....

  6. Sounds like OP dodged a pretentious bullet there.

  7. I'd be glad to date anyone who hadn't heard of the Da Vinci Code or Harry Potter as those things have nothing whatsoever to do with "being culturally out of touch". Have to side with the European snobs, I'm afraid.

  8. ^this. I'd actually prefer them.

  9. I know this is an old post but this post helped me answer a question on Jeopardy just last week.


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