March 12, 2008

Deliberate Practice

I ran across this short review of the book This Is Your Brain on Music a few weeks ago and was reminded of it again today by Stephen Dubner’s post on deliberate practice.

In his review of Your Brain on Music, John Walkenbach says:

many people have found that you can become an expert in anything if you devote a minimum of 10,000 hours to it. Assuming a 40-hour week, you can become an expert at something in about five years. If you’re not working at it full time, figure three hours per day for ten years.

In the Freakonomics post, Dubner says:

excellence is accomplished mainly through the tenets of deliberate practice, which are roughly:
1. Focus on technique as opposed to outcome.
2. Set specific goals.
3. Get good, prompt feedback, and use it.

I don’t have much to add by way of tying all this together except for my fascination with the subject and with people who have devoted themselves to something so profoundly that they transform themselves.


  1. Deliberate Practice « The Errant Æsthete on March 13th, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    […] Moral of all this — get busy! [via link] […]

  2. Xigga on April 20th, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Those 3 steps do layout a good process to becoming great at something. It’s technically not “hard work”, you’re just trying something out and getting feedback from it, and repeating the cycle.

    What can slow you down is if you get too attached to the results you’re getting. If you keep failing and you keep you focus on it, it’s going to be hard to try a new idea with the right amount of effort. So don’t get down when you keep on failing 100’s of times in a row.