1 min read

Malcolm Gladwell and 10,000 Hours

 While it's bad reporting to discuss a book based on the reviews, arguably if you were going to do it to any author, it'd be Malcolm Gladwell. Why? He has an uncanny knack for pithy catchphrases that jump out of the pages. In The Tipping Point you have the titular term (where things must change), along with Mavens (those people you go to for advice), Connectors (they know everyone) and Salesmen (can get people to do anything). Blink also had that titular term (thinking without thinking) and thin-slicing (successfully prioritising using the little information we have). And so it seems with Outliers.

Judging from this Time magazine interview, Gladwell's latest cocktail-party offering is the concept of “10 000 hours” work to become an expert (or, as the interviewer helpfully breaks down, 10 years at 20 hours a week). Obviously it helps if you can get it in early, like Bill Gates (got most of his hours done at high school), or many athletes. From a more general view, it's a nice reminder that mastery really does take effort. (Though some of his other stories look less inspiring: the chain effect of being a hockey player born at the start or end of a hockey season is a bit disturbing).