Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Peak: Secrets from the science of expertise - book overview

This is a layperson's book on deliberate practice. The book - Peak: Secrets from the new science of expertise is by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool, published in 2017.

The more scholarly book - development of professional expertise - see summary on this blog here, makes for more thorough discussion and information.

However, for people wanting a quick overview of deliberate practice, and its application to daily life, the book Peak provides good introduction and overview. The book has 10 chapters, each building on the other.

The book begins with 3 chapters to introduce the concepts of deliberate practice. Then, follow two chapters on application (deliberate practice on the job and in everyday life). There is then a chapter on 'the road to extraordinary', summarising much of the work on understanding expertise and arguing that it is deliberate practice which is the key to expert performance. The next chapter then discusses the conundrum of 'natural talent', what is its role in feeding into expertise. The last chapter looks into 'where do we go from here', providing for suggestions for further research into the development of expertise. 

There are 30 pages of notes for those who are keen to follow up more on the topic.

A related article - how to make your kid good at everything - provides more overview of the book's contents. The summation in the article is 'it is not how much practice, but how you do it' which is the important message from the book.

As always, one concept, can only go so far to explain the complexities of human learning. Critique of the concept of deliberate practice was summarised on this blog a few years ago.

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