Talent is overrated argues Malcolm Gladwell in his new book Outliers: The Story of Success Heartbreakers release . Although I have yet to read the book I’m fascinated by the idea behind the 10,000 hours needed to master a skill. Gladwell argues that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice.
“In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice-skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals,” writes the neurologist Daniel Levitin, “this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or 20 hours a week, of practice over 10 years… No one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.”
The real path to great performance and therefore success is a matter of choice. Practice makes perfect indeed. Just make sure you practice on the things you’re passionate about.
Gladwell’s new book is generating a lot of buzz with countless interviews picking his brain:
- Slate Magazine 4 part discussion of Outliers
- Fortune Magazine Secrets of Success
- Gladwell’s Outliers website interview
- NY Mag Why we have little control over our success
For a real treat check out Fortune Magazine’s Why Talent is Overrated article from last month. It’s not about Malcolm Gladwell’s book but about the principle of deliberate practice. Uptown Girls movies District 9 psp The essence of deliberate practice is to stretch an individual beyond his or her current abilities. With examples of Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer, Chris Rock, Giants Quarterback Eli Manning to name a few you’ll find this a good read.