Friday, December 4, 2009

10,000 Hours - Really?

I came across an interesting book that I want to read today. It's called Outliers, and the author is Malcolm Gladwell. Here is the Wikipedia link to the book description. Although it seems that the reviews haven't been too kind, calling it simplistic, it did spend time on the New York Times Bestsellers list early this year.

The main theme of
examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success and that some people, what he calls "outliers", are fundamentally different and unique which are factors in their fame, fortune, and capability. One of the things that I heard about this book and what makes it interesting to me is what Gladwell calls the "10,000 Hour" rule. He posits that it takes 10,000 of practice to become a master of a subject. This applies to sports, music, art, and even jobs.

I'm not sure I buy that 10,000 is a hard and fast rule, but it got me thinking. That number is five years at a normal 40 hour a week job. In vocational jobs such as plumbing, five years is probably a pretty good estimate of going from an apprentice, through journeyman, and finally achieving master status. So I'm a little dismayed - I started my interests in glass late. I've probably only have two or three thousand hours over the past seven-plus years. I got a long way to go to reach that mythical 10,000 hours!

My question is - is this realistic to become really good at something, especially in the arts? What do you think?

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