"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Book Review


I don't think I've ever done a book review in the history of this blog. Strange, because I read a whole lot of books! Maybe I'll have to throw a review on here once in a while.


I finished this book last week and the information just keeps popping up in my brain. It's one of those that changes the way you think about the world. It will stick with you for a while. The title is Outliers, the Story of Success, written by Malcolm Gladwell. It's non-fiction, and a fairly quick read. I highly recommend it.

The author was curious about the extremely successful and standout individuals of the world. The world's greatest musicians, Mozart, the beetles, computer geniuses like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, The world's most wealthy lawyers, the world's best athletes, The healthiest people on the earth, The statistical outliers that climbed to the top of their profession/field defying all odds. What do they all have in common? Are they just lucky? Is it simply a gift to excel, or pure hard work that sent these individuals soaring to the top?

I enjoyed the organization of the nearly-unbelievable facts in this book. There are lots of charts and statistics that make it easy to follow the logic and reasoning. It comes together nicely at the end and gives you an overview of the common factors that allowed these individuals to rise to the top. And those factors will completely surprise you.

It's not written from a religious perspective, but I could easily add my own religious views to the data presented. God puts us where we are supposed to be, when we are supposed to live, and gives us the opportunities, intelligence, and talents we need to complete our missions on this earth. What we choose to do with these opportunities is entirely up to us!

My favorite chapter is the 10,000 hour rule. It claims that the "magic" number of hours spent in any given field to acquire true expertise and mastery is 10,000. This is true of every field, including child prodigies. A quote from the book:

"The emerging picture from studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert --in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again. Of course, this doesn't address why some people get more out of their practice sessions than others do. But 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."

How cool is that? It totally blows my mind. If I added up all the time I've spent drawing, painting, and making art, teaching art, I'm pretty sure I've far surpassed that number. But what about as an adult working artist? Not even close. 10,ooo is a whole lot of hours. At least I have a mark now, right? What about you? Is there anything you've spent 10,000 hours doing? Such an interesting topic.

2 comments:

Anna said...

I've read "The Tipping Point" and "Blink." Malcolm Gladwell produces very unique books. You've piqued my interest, now I'll have to read "Outliers."

10,000 hours, huh? I'm nowhere near that in any endeavor. Sigh.

I also recommend "Freakonomics" (by Leavitt and Dubner). It is an economist's perspective on interwoven and unlikely social correlations.

wienerhoneymooners said...

This sounds good...

On another note, if you have a spare moment when convenient, I need your help on how to set up links on the right hand side of my blog to my own blog items, like crafts, cubscouts etc.. Like you have. I looked up every gadget and am stumped......my e-mail is: oloughlin.ka@gmail.com, Thanks a TON if you can even give me 1 iota of insight..Thanks again Brittany!