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Were you born to be a boss?

I wouldn’t bet my life savings on this, but it sure is interesting work that I read in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success.

Gladwell basically states that if you were born in the summer months (for instance) and then ended up as the youngest of your cohort, you’re intellectually and physically not as mature, so you aren’t likely to be chosen for leadership positions or debates.

This is the reason why a lot of major league hockey players are born in the earlier months of the year — they’re bigger, even if it’s only by half a year.

According to Time magazine, the best and worst months to be the boss are:

The top 5 CEO-producing months are: March (12.53%), April (10.67%), November (10.67%), January (10.13%), October (9.87%).

Note that it says “CEO”, and not necessarily self-employed, or a freelancer.

In addition:

…although 8.16% of U.S. births happen in June, only 6.13% of CEOs were born in that month, while a mere 5.87% of CEOs were born in July, despite 8.75% of the U.S. population being born that month. 

I also think that birth order in a family does matter to some extent — I’ve always wondered if being the youngest in a birth order made you more likely to take risks with your employment and to try things your older siblings wouldn’t.

It also depends on a whole bunch of other factors of course, but it is interesting nonetheless.

What do you think? Truth? Fiction? Bordering on the realm of Astrology?


  • Revanche

    Some people are adamant that birth order things apply but a whole lot of life will influence that. Almost nothing about being the youngest applies to me, for instance, not anymore. But I bet you if my sibling had played the older sibling role, that might not be the case.

    Also, in some cases, it has a lot to do with what physical attributes actually matter. Like size and strength matter in hockey, so bigger / older players should be advantaged. Etc. Sooooo about the same as astrology, where age and size don’t matter?

  • Ramona

    Hmm.. I was born in October, but I am not a boss right now, just a self-employed web designer. I do run our home based business, but apparently husband doesn’t care about me being the boss 😀

  • Taylor Lee @ Engineer Cents

    I’m the eldest of my siblings and it shows in my bossy level (actually, let’s call it my “natural delegating talents”). Though in school I was the youngest of my cohort since I started early. I think I’m inclined to be a good leader. I’m good at thinking about the big picture of business while also encouraging the growth of my colleagues. However, I think whether or not I do lead will pan out in my actions rather than birth order or whatever.

  • raluca

    I think statistics don’t lie in this case. I like gymnastics and you can see that the ones that have the most success are all born in “prime” gymnastics months (for example june), because that’s cutoff to make it to the worlds (3 months before). Also, how successful you are as a gymnast has a lot to do with the year you were born with regards to the olympics, which come every 4 years. If you peak in a non olympic year, you likely won’t be considered one of the “greats”, because you don’t have that medal, even if you dominated the worlds for 3 years going.
    So yeah, success, not as random as previously thought.

  • NZ Muse

    Assume this would be reversed for Southern Hemisphere seasons?

    (Have always thought it must be a bit odd to start a new academic year halfway through … here the start of the year is the start of the year for everything! Financial years excepted, I suppose…)

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