Monday, November 23, 2009

Superfood for the brain

A wise man once said, "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go."* I think he's right. Good books are like superfood for the brain. I've got a fresh new library card and have been putting it to use.

Most recently I devoured Seth Godin's The Dip and Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. There were so many things that made me say, "No way!". Here are just a few:

From "Outliers":
  • The values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.
  • The closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play
  • The 10,000 hour rule: “In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice-skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or 20 hours a week, of practice over 10 years… 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.“ (Quoting neurologist Daniel Levitin)

From "The Dip":
  • In a competitive world, adversity is your ally. The harder it gets, the better chance you have of insulating yourself from the competition.
  • The next time you catch yourself being average when you feel like quitting, realize that you have only two good choices: Quit or be exceptional.
  • ... the real success goes to those who obsess. The focus that leads you through the Dip to the other side is rewarded by a marketplace in search of the best in the world. A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.
  • And this one, from a previous post: "Quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff. Have the guts to do one or the other."
An unexpected similarity and underlying theme in both books is that being good at something takes work. Lots of work. There is just no way around it. That said, I better do a little less blogging and a little more working...Eek! Off to add to my 10,000 hour work log and continued design obsession!

*Quote from Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

1 comment:

  1. I love Outliers (and all of Malcom Gladwell's stuff)! I'll definitely check out the Dip.