Notes, thoughts about Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

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Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson

A brief summary of notes I jotted down and compiled on the quick for future reminders:

Really appreciative once again how in one book, one can learn an author’s findings (what and how they want to share it) from a lifetime (in this case) of their work.

Advocates “deliberate practice” – the gold standard to exploit the gift of adaptability (mind/body). Alternatives for “deliberate” include effective and purposeful. These all are a challenge to the usual approach of naive repetition (10,000 hours Gladwell lifted argument overly simplistic) / homeostasis or being comfortable (must push out of comfort zone to improve/grow), good enough, steady-state.

Encompassing deliberate practice is the importance of mental representation — synonyms & strats: mental maps/mapping; mental models; mental shortcuts; heuristic(s); chunking; patterns; tying to action not just thought (ultimately skills > knowledge); internalize to build mental xxxxx

Building blocks incl.: remove distractions; limit practice to 1-hour for 100% focus and take breaks/rest; sleep well; exercise; good time mgmt/planning; find teachers/mentors/experts/peers – copy them, foster challenging environ., get feedback, deliberate practice/repetition, fail, try again; kaizen

Beware self-fulfilling prophecy of praise to those with apparent innate talent who then get lion’s share of attention vs. damage done to those w/o initial apparent talent who then don’t get necessary attention to dev.

P.255 seems to hint at multi-disciplinary models (see last bullet below)

My thoughts:

  • overall an enjoyable book, missing from my notes above are the interesting stories accompanying/supporting the main points (enjoyed Paganini anecdote);
  • repetition in the book felt redundant on one hand but reinforced concepts on the other;
  • was wondering if Ichiro would make an appearance (a big proponent of self, mental “image training”) — he did not;
  • compelling and important building blocks to follow and remind oneself of;
  • it’s a much better time to be learning today than in the past, e.g. learning Japanese┬átoday vs. even 10-15 yrs ago amazing at variety and quality of materials available — rote learning and donkey labor vs. hack techs to expedite and make interesting the former;
  • thought-provoking when paired with ideas of Charlie Munger, Hagstrom and latticework, the liberal arts, Santa Fe Institute, Danaher DBS, etc.

Finally, having read a couple of books about Hemingway and A Moveable Feast this year (Goodreads is helpful for tracking), a further reminder of just how much “it” takes to reach peak performance — for those of you who have read about Hem’s background, you’ll make the connections.