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Publisher Description

From the world's reigning expert on expertise comes a powerful new approach to mastering almost any skill.

Have you ever wanted to learn a language or pick up an instrument, only to become too daunted by the task at hand? Expert performance guru Anders Ericsson has made a career of studying chess champions, violin virtuosos, star athletes, and memory mavens. Peak condenses three decades of original research to introduce an incredibly powerful approach to learning that is fundamentally different from the way people traditionally think about acquiring a skill.

Ericsson's findings have been lauded and debated but never properly explained. So the idea of expertise still intimidates us - we believe we need innate talent to excel or think excelling seems prohibitively difficult.

Peak belies both of these notions, proving that almost all of us have the seeds of excellence within us - it's just a question of nurturing them by reducing expertise to a discrete series of attainable practices. Peak offers invaluable, often counterintuitive advice on setting goals, getting feedback, identifying patterns, and motivating yourself. Whether you want to stand out at work or help your kid achieve academic goals, Ericsson's revolutionary methods will show you how to master nearly anything.

Sean Runnette
hr min
May 10
Audible Studios

Customer Reviews

glennrrr ,

Thought Provoking/Uneven

I've been listening to this book during my weekday commute. Its provided days of interesting ideas and facts. Also, I should say that the narrator was well chosen for the material as his even keeled oration keeps some of the material from being overly repetitive.

I've come away convinced that a focused, directed practice approach can do wonders for an otherwise normal human being to obtain expertise in many endeavors. Also, a bit regretful that my children are not out of the ages of maximum adaptiveness, and will not obtain perfect pitch, master chess or become professional tennis players. Oh, well.

So far so good. Less convincing are the authors crude attempts to diminish the role of one's genome in getting a leg up on many endeavors. Here for example are summaries of some of his arguments against native talent.

• A young man, on a bet, takes up high jumping and a few days later wins a small college high jumping competition. The author actually argues that since it is impossible to be good at high jumping without practice, the man must have secretly practiced, and this supposed secret practice proves that you can't be good at high jumping without extensive practice.

• Mozart wrote several pieces of music as a young child before he could have extensively practiced composition. The author argues that this must be impossible because it takes practice to compose music, so Mozart's father must have written the music himself. Therefore, this supposed cheating proves that you can't compose music without extensive practice.

A whole chapter of such circular reasoning and deriding a belief in a genetic basis for ability as magical thinking are a blemish on anotherwise interesting book.

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