Through numerous examples, this book showcases the importance of a person's circumstances in influencing success in their endeavours.

People who we consider to be geniuses, pioneers of their fields and gifted are not only so because of their genetics (although that is a vital contributing factor). Their success can be attributed to a complex combination of their conditioning, childhood and historical timing - factors that are largely out of an individual's control.

The book places hard work in centre stage and questions the existence of the concept of "innate talent". It claims that hard work is a common trait among all these success stories - where the people in question each put in over 10,000 hours honing their craft before they were able to become leaders of their field.

However, the book also approaches the point of how several circumstances put a certain section of the populace in a situation where they automatically put in more hours of effort compared to their colleagues - which eventually results in a tangible difference in measurable skill.