Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell challenges our concept of the born-genuis and the self-made man. He shows us that nobody rises to the top of their field unless they are helped along the way - by others, by timing, by opportunity, by cultural legacy, and by many, many hours of hard work.
In looking at the combination of factors that leads to success, he argues for creating those conditions for more people. No, we can't predict the timing of the next as-yet-unknown revolution. We cannot replicate the peculiar conditions which have led to past success.
We could, however, prepare more of our children to grasp hold of opportunities and succeed with improved educational methods, by extending the school year, by not relying so heavily on testing in the early grades, and by letting go of the notion that some people just aren't naturally good at math, reading, etc. Imagine less emphasis on self esteem and more on working hard and not giving up. Imagine that every child is capable; some just need more time to learn.