Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What I've Been Reading - Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

I have been reading a really good book by Malcolm Gladwell entitled Outliers. This book can address so many different issues a person is facing: their spiritual lives, their work, their role as a parent. You could apply this stuff in so many different areas of your life. A fairly simple read, but chock full of wisdom -- here are some highlights:

Once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That's it. And what's more, the people at the very top don't work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.

It is those who are successful, in other words, who are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success. It’s the rich who get the biggest tax breaks. It’s the best students who get the best teaching and most attention. And it’s the biggest nine- and ten-year-olds who get the most coaching and practice. Success is the result of what sociologists like to call “accumulative advantage.

For almost a generation, psychologists around the world have been engaged in a spirited debate over a question that most of us would consider to have been settled years ago. The question is this: is there such a thing as innate talent? The obvious answer is yes. Not every hockey player born in January ends up playing at the professional level. Only some do – the innately talented ones. Achievement is talent plus preparation. The problem with this view is that the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger role preparation seems to play.

In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.

Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing that makes you good.

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