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Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise
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Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  11,257 ratings  ·  1,068 reviews
"This book is a breakthrough, a lyrical, powerful, science-based narrative that actually shows us how to get better (much better) at the things we care about."--Seth Godin, author of Linchpin

"Anyone who wants to get better at anything should read [ Peak ]. Rest assured that the book is not mere theory. Ericsson's research focuses on the real world, and he explains in
ebook, 336 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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 ·  11,257 ratings  ·  1,068 reviews

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Phil Sykora
May 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you want to get better at anything, this book is your starting point.

As a sophomore in high school, I remember asking my favorite English teacher if he would sign off on my application to an advanced writing class. The look on his face was shock: mouth open, eyebrows raised. I felt stupid for even asking.

Needless to say, I took a general English class my junior year.

But I decided I didn't want the other kids to get ahead of me academically. I didn't have that elusive, all-important trait that
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
K. Anders Ericsson writes a good book with lots of practical applications that falls victim to the classic type 2 statistical error (false negative). Let's start with the good stuff. Ericsson tells a lot of cool anecdotes about the utility of deliberate practice. He never really defines deliberate practice. But basically it means getting a coach and performing focused exercises to get better while analyzing results. Easy enough. There is also some cool material about improving mental ...more
Always Pouting
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think this had to be a whole book but that said I do think the idea behind the book is a meaningful one. I know I personally spend a lot of time practicing things without getting better because I don't actively engage in what I'm doing and try to improve on whatever part of the skill I struggle with most. I also thought the writing was really good and appreciate that it was based on so much research evidence. Definitely was something new that I hadn't really thought of before.

Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book about the method of deliberate practice. While Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: The Story of Success popularized the concept that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in any field, this book shows that 10,000 hours of repetition does not make one an expert. Gladwell gave as an example The Beatles, but he was wrong. While in Hamburg, they played about 1,100 hours, not 10,000. And they did get useful feedback but it wasn't deliberate practice. What made them ...more
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Anders Ericsson reasons that expertise is best developed by deliberate practice and the existence of innate talent is an unconfirmed hypothesis.
Deliberate practice means doing - knowledge by itself is not indicative of expertise.

This is a positive book as its message is that the power to become great in any area is in everyone's hands.

Here are the insights.

Gaining expertise is largely a matter of improving ones mental processes.

If you never push yourself beyond your comfort zone, you will

Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-improvement
If youve read Malcom Gladwells book Outliers you would know that much of the research in that book comes from the authors of this book. Since the publication of Gladwells book, Ericsson and Pool have conducted extra research on persistent practice and in this book show off their excellent new research. In the research they spotlight they show that persistent training is the best way to master a skill no matter how difficult it is. The first chapter and last chapter are especially spectacular. ...more
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Talent is made, not born. Specifically, according to Ericsson & Pool, it's made through years and years of deliberate practice: the process of learning to recognize and emulate existing models of elite performance, through active trial-and-error, regular expert feedback, and self-motivated resilience. Deliberate practice is necessarily painful, but rewarding for those who keep at it.

Key implications: There's no "genius" gene, and in any case it doesn't take genius to become an expert or
Michael Payne
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Everest! There is no vantage point higher on the subject of expert performance than Anders Ericssons lifetime achievement in sharing this book. Through years of deliberate practice in observing what truly sets apart the best from the rest, Ericsson has guided many to new heights of accomplishment through his insights that sparked a paradigm shift of our understanding of experts. The ideas shared in these pages will no doubt help propel countless others for decades to come as they make even ...more
Kieran Seán Fitzpatrick
Great book.

Note to self. Create mental model to remember to figure out how to create mental models.
Zac Scy
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Before I say anything else, this is the single most rewarding book I've read this year. I recommend anyone and everyone to read it. It's one of those books that busts the myths that have been floating around about "natural talent" being something that only a select few possess.

Back in 2008 Malcolm Gladwell introduced K. Anders Ericssons research on expertise to the masses. Those who read up on the research understood that there was more to it than the version presented in Gladwell's book.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The research behind Tiger mom and outliers and all of those other pop theories on excellence. It's a very liberating and democratic thesis--you are not genetically restrained from being a master of anything. You just need to do deliberate practice.
Seth Braun
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The book answer the question: How do we develop expertise?

The premise is: We develop excellence through deliberate practice.

Context: This is Anders Ericsson and Robert Pools' mainstream distillation of The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance, which was made famous through Gladwell's reference of the "10,000 Hour Rule" in Outliers.

I am sold on the idea of deliberate practice and did not need to be convinced, however there is plenty here to persuade the reader to adopt the
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book relates the research that Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers was based on and referenced inaccurately. Ericsson is a passionate advocate of deliberate practice, which is NOT the ten thousand hours that Gladwell popularized, but rather a lot -- a lot more than you think -- of practice, but practice focused on specific goals, measurements, and development of mental schemas that help you become a more expert chess player, or high jumper, or physicist. Ericsson's great insight is that there ...more
lily ☁️
DNF at 40%.

Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise had good intentions, but ultimately lost me by frequently being too long-winded and digressive. Furthermore, as I was listening to the audiobook, I felt like I was hearing reiteration after reiteration of the same ascertainment. Such a pity, as I expected a lot from this book.
Lance Willett
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
My full review:

Thesis: there is no such thing as natural ability anyone can become an expert by putting in the time (10K hour rule). Traits favorable to a task help at the beginning, but don't make a difference at high levels it all comes down to effort.

Mastery is possible through deliberate practice, focused training with an expert who can push you to a higher understanding of the craft. A key ingredient is using mental representations, these help you
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Important Book

I try to keep a running list of "important" books that I want my kids to read when they're older. I'm adding Peak and its story of deliberate practice to the list. The book makes the point that there is no such thing as innate talent (or if there is, it only helps one at the very beginning of learning a new skill). Deliberate practice and building mental models (referred to as mental representations) are the keys. This book reinforced to me that having my kids take music lessons is
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book challenges Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000-Hour Rule - that you need to have practised and to have apprenticed for 10,000 hours before you get good. Anders Ericsson argued that while practice is important, it's not the whole story. Besides the quantity of hours spent practising, there's also the quality of that practice, which allows us to learn more efficiently. The trick is what he coins as "Deliberate Practice":

1. Create a feedback loop - surround yourself with experts and get their
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone looking to improve on something in their lives. Really interesting information about human potential! Definitely a book I could see myself returning back to when I'm working on something! Well written and easy to follow even with the science-y stuff.
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
The work of Dr Anders Ericsson inspired many authors of whom we got plenty of great books and theories, most prominently the "10,000 Hour Rule" that was first brought to the public attention by author Malcolm Gladwell in his book 'Outliers' which Dr Ericsson in this book explains that It's not really the case and that Gladwell used it intentionally for marketing purposes, and explains in good detail his research that Gladwell based his theory upon!

Another author that was inspired by the work of
Dr. Tobias Christian Fischer
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Never think again that you cannot do something because the talent for it "was not born to you". The myth of the naturally talented genius is simply outdated. With targeted practice and conscious learning, you can bring all skills to world-class level from languages to musical instruments to chess or math (Blinkist, 2020).
Boni Aditya
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I should have read this book a decade ago! I curse myself for giving up on reading, non-curriculum books. That would be the gravest mistake of my life.

This book is impressive, extremely useful to understand how to develop skills and not merely knowledge. The author shatters the pipe dreams of born a genius kind of myths, he also dispels the deep rooted belief that all it takes is 10,000 hours. The author differentiated between purposeful practice and deliberate practice as a means to explain
Probably my favorite book on this subject. Ericsson was the researcher that Gladwell referenced in his book "Outliers" with his famous 10,000 hour rule (the number of hours to become great at something). This book gives more detailed information and better explains his theory and research. The ideas and premise of this book kept popping up in discussions with my family, and especially children, and I was grateful for the hope and motivation it provides. Basically, besides body type and size, ...more
Jurgen Appelo
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: learning
Delightful book. Super-inspiring.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: waiting
This is basically "deliberate practice" book.
Bijay Gurung
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
The people at the peak? They are not there due to their "talent". They are there because they have put in hours and hours of purposeful practice into what they do, harnessing the adaptability of the human mind and body.

Among a myriad useful, insightful things-- the importance of mental representations in expert performance, naive vs purposeful vs deliberate practice, why skills trump knowledge--the core message of the book is an inspirational one: apart from a few areas (say swimming) you are
Patrik Hallberg
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a great book, sometimes you stumble across a masterpiece like Mindset by Carol Dweck and this one is right up there. It explains the science behind how everybody can become better at almost anything. I have been discussing this topic for a long time with my children and focusing on growth mindset and grit. This book brings a new concept called deliberate practice and proves that "practice makes perfect" should be perfect practice makes perfect. In this book by the Swede Anders Ericsson he ...more
Apr 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
'Peak' by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool is focused around the concept of 'deliberate practice'. The authors use many examples to show that it is practice and not 'innate talent' that creates experts in a particular field. They also dispel the myth of the 'ten thousand hour rule' as popularized by Malcolm Gladwell.

Many wide ranging stories hold Peak together and it is easy to relate to a few of the case studies. But I was left feeling dissatisfied. The stories felt a little laboured, the case
Mario Tomic
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Extremely valuable and packed with insights on reaching a high level of expertise and performance. The book will provide you with a mental model for success and what it really takes to be the best at something. Highly recommended!
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this read completely fascinating. I am interested in the study of expertise and how people become the best (or really, really good) at something. Not because I want to be the best, but because as a teacher, I want to understand how best to encourage students to become their best possible selves.

A few great takeaways from this book:

1. If you are unsure if this book is for you, read the introduction. I found it spellbinding (it deals with the idea of "perfect pitch" and questions whether
CP (Wayne)
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
If I had to summarize this book in one sentence: A heavy read built around the ideas of deliberate practice and how anyone has the potential to obtain any skill they desire.

This book was well researched and used a lot of case studies to demonstrate its ideas. In my opinion, this book may get mixed reviews depending on the type of reader you are;

For those who are trying to find straightforward practical advice to help you obtain a skill. You might find this book a bit frustrating as you have to
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K. Anders Ericsson (born 1947) is a Swedish psychologist and Conradi Eminent Scholar and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University who is internationally recognized as a researcher in the psychological nature of expertise and human performance.

Currently, Ericsson studies expert performance in domains such as medicine, music, chess, and sports, focusing exclusively on extended deliberate

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“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
47 likes · 15 comments
“The reason that most people don’t possess these extraordinary physical capabilities isn’t because they don’t have the capacity for them, but rather because they’re satisfied to live in the comfortable rut of homeostasis and never do the work that is required to get out of it. They live in the world of “good enough.” The same thing is true for all the mental activities we engage in,” 18 likes
“So here we have purposeful practice in a nutshell: Get outside your comfort zone but do it in a focused way, with clear goals, a plan for reaching those goals, and a way to monitor your progress. Oh, and figure out a way to maintain your motivation.” 13 likes
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