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Post #1343 • May 6, 2009, 9:23 AM

David Brooks:

What Mozart had, we now believe, was the same thing Tiger Woods had the ability to focus for long periods of time and a father intent on improving his skills. Mozart played a lot of piano at a very young age, so he got his 10,000 hours of practice in early and then he built from there.

The latest research suggests a more prosaic, democratic, even puritanical view of the world. The key factor separating geniuses from the merely accomplished is not a divine spark. 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.

Works cited: The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle and Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. See also John Tierney's essay on Winnefred Gallagher's Rapt and some related work in neuroscience.



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