Tag Archives: Outliers

Making Winners

The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate “apparently ordinary” people to unusual effort.  The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people. – K. Patricia Cross

One of the things Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers confirmed to me is the make-or-break power a teacher wields over his/her students.  It is awesome, if not frightening to think, how teachers’ selections can determine who gets more attention (and hence more chances of improving or honing his talent/skills) or who gets virtually ignored.

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10,000 Hours = “Genius”

This is like an echo of what Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book, Outliers.  As I pointed out in an earlier post, Gladwell gave, as examples, Bill Gates, Bill Joy and the Beatles and how they put in 10,000 hours to succeed in what they do.

To quote part of this article by David Brooks in The NY Times:

It’s not I.Q., a generally bad predictor of success, even in realms like chess. Instead, it’s deliberate practice. Top performers spend more hours (many more hours) rigorously practicing their craft.

He also cites two books which I hope to read in the future: Daniel Coyle’s “The Talent Code” and Geoff Colvin’s “Talent Is Overrated”.  I read a review of the latter book in one issue of Fortune magazine last year.  Colvin wrote that what makes Tiger Woods a huge success is not innate talent but deliberate practice (and, according to Brooks,  a father intent on improving his skills).  He reportedly would put a golf ball in a sandtrap and practice from that spot for hours.

Brooks conclude this short article with this …

Public discussion is smitten by genetics and what we’re “hard-wired” to do. And it’s true that genes place a leash on our capacities. But the brain is also phenomenally plastic. We construct ourselves through behavior. As Coyle observes, it’s not who you are, it’s what you do.

So the first order of the day is to muster enough discipline to start the first hour towards building up to 10,000 hours.