Sunday, January 10, 2010

Talent or 10,000 Hours of Practice?

According to Malcolm Gladwell's in his book Outliers, he identifies 10,000 hours as being the minimum requirement for becoming seriously good at whatever you do based on various research which has been done.

Gladwell highlights the need to put in the hours as a really important explanation of why some people become very successful.

Outliers is a fascinating and thought-provoking read. It's about unpicking the explanations behind people who have produced exceptional results. Note I didn't say that the people are exceptional. That's the point of the book. Too many times people who have done well are described as 'very smart' or 'very ambitious'. Gladwell's point is that there are lots of talented and/or smart and/or ambitious people who don't do exceptionally well.

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.

"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."

Have you put in your 10,000 hours?

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