Practice Might Make You A Better Chess Player But It Won't Make You Valedictorian

July 16, 2014 12:15 PM

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“Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good.” It’s a lovely idea, popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his 2008 book, Outliers. As you might remember, Gladwell’s “magic number of greatness” was 10,000 hours of intense practice -- or approximately 10 years -- to become an elite performer. But as attractive as the 10,000-hour rule might be, it’s likely a myth.

Deliberate practice explained 26 percent of the variance in performance for games, 21 percent for music, 18 percent for sports, 4 percent for education and less than 1 percent for professions.

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