The psychologist Anders Ericsson developed, and Malcolm Gladwell monetized popularized, in “Outliers,” the idea that expertise is all about practice: You, too, can become Bill Gates (at least the talent part) or Tiger Woods if you spend 10,000 hours writing code or hitting a golf ball.
As Charles Q. Choi notes, at Scientific American, some people are placing awfully large bets on the proposition that the theory is correct:
One commercial photographer has quit his job to spend 10,000 hours on the golf course, on the assumption that this will give him the abilities of a pro.
But there are lots of people who have played sports, or an instrument—music is another field in which the 10,000-hour rule supposedly applies—who stubbornly think that there is something ineffable that has to accompany the hard work: call it aptitude, talent, a “gift.”
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