Science The "10,000 Hour Rule" Is Pop-Psychology Nonsense

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    The "10,000 Hour Rule" Is Pop-Psychology Nonsense

    There, I said it.

    Malcolm Gladwell is to Sociology what Betty Edwards is to Neuroscience.

    There are PLENTY of skills that don't take 10,000 hours to master. (I would be more than willing to believe that observational drawing and basic painting would fall into that category).

    Thoughts?

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    Both of those you mentioned take a LIFETIME to master, IE you're dead before you get there. If you have another mindset about that, look in to another profession.

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    Quote Originally Posted by timpaatkins View Post
    Both of those you mentioned take a LIFETIME to master, IE you're dead before you get there. If you have another mindset about that, look in to another profession.
    Van Gogh's career spanned the 10 years between when he starting practicing art in earnest around age 27 'til he offed himself with a badly placed revolver shot at the age of 37.

    Ten years ain't a lifetime!

    Though, I anticipate in advance that many would challenge Van Gogh's status as a "master!"

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    isn't it obvious? Humans aren't mass produced. Everybody is custom made. Some will master it in 1000 hrs some will never. Not everybody can do everything, no matter how much he works on it or how badly he wants it. We are too influenced by how we were raised and by the stuff we learned before we could read and write.

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    I always thought of that as just an expression, I dont think you can put a count down timer on this sorta thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Incinerated View Post
    I always thought of that as just an expression, I dont think you can put a count down timer on this sorta thing.
    Fair enough, but Gladwell has anointed this with the veneer of science. And, it keeps getting parroted like it has actual quantitative value. I call Bullshit on it!

    [I believe the study Gladwell was bastardizing, second hand, involved musicians. 'twould appear to be an "apples to oranges" thing from the get-go!]

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    I know, right. Ask any really good artist how he got to be so good and he'll reply, "Shoot, it's just talent. I don't even practice or nothing. Comes out my fingers like magic."

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    Quote Originally Posted by timpaatkins View Post
    Both of those you mentioned take a LIFETIME to master, IE you're dead before you get there. If you have another mindset about that, look in to another profession.
    Well, to a large extent, we really have to come to terms-- something Gladwell is notoriously slippery about doing.

    I would agree that there is a difference amongst "fundamental mastery of basic skills," being an "expert" in a given field, and being a "Great Master" of a discipline.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bfowler View Post
    I know, right. Ask any really good artist how he got to be so good and he'll reply, "Shoot, it's just talent. I don't even practice or nothing. Comes out my fingers like magic."
    Well, that's another school of thought. Kind of like having an IQ of 180 or being 6'4" tall-- just a "gift from God."

    What, then, of this 10,000 hour stuff?

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    You know reading the book, the 10,000 hour rule is only a small part of what he thinks it takes to be successful. Much of it is timing and emotional intelligence. He has many factors he sites for this, much of it ancedotal but interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    You know reading the book, the 10,000 hour rule is only a small part of what he thinks it takes to be successful. Much of it is timing and emotional intelligence. He has many factors he sites for this, much of it ancedotal but interesting.
    I would say ALL of Gladwell's "work" is anecdotal!

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    I'm sure there's a guy on deviantArt who's put in 9,999 hours into his Sonic/Naruto fanart... any minute now - POP! - he will be velazquez

    that's how it works, right?

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    its just an estimate ... give or take 5 hours.

    if youre serious about art, stop caring about it and just keep going (=improving).
    if you aint... yeah its 10000 hours... you finished this and can go to your "how many dishes does it take to become a millionaire" survey now.

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    Technically, in Van Gogh's case... Those 10 years were a lifetime since he died at the end of them...

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    Dudes selling a self help book, take it with a grain of salt...

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    Well you've slammed Gladwell, and you've slammed B Edwards
    but what have you done lately?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadlyFreeze View Post
    Dudes selling a self help book, take it with a grain of salt...
    Pretty much this. As with any self-help book, it matters from person to person on WHO exactly gets helped.

    As for the book itself, yanno. One would think that the 10k hours rule is more of a rule of thumb and not to be taken too seriously. To some who don't have the talent, it's all about hard work and nothing but, and the whole '10k hours' rather symbolizes that. But only idiots and those that are really desperate would take the meaning too far and and spin it into the next "The Secret".

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    Why do you think van Gogh could draw?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamber Parrk View Post
    There, I said it.

    Malcolm Gladwell is to Sociology what Betty Edwards is to Neuroscience.

    There are PLENTY of skills that don't take 10,000 hours to master. (I would be more than willing to believe that observational drawing and basic painting would fall into that category).

    Thoughts?
    If you're going to accuse someone of poor science, you really ought to post some contrary data, or at the very least particular instances of poor methodology.

    Further, what skills can you really master in less than ten thousand hours? There are plenty of things you can get as good at as you are ever going to have any need for in less than ten thousand hours (say, spreading butter), but that's not mastery. Reaching truly optimal butter spreading skills, reliably spreading butter perfectly evenly in the minimal amount of time, may well take ten thousand hours of practice.

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    I'd suggest you read the book instead of charging at windmills. The 10,000 hour-thing has a context.

    Along similar lines, I'd like to reccommend Richard Sennett's "The Craftsman".

    And maybe Eric Gill's "An Essay on Typography"

    ...and, more directly in response you the OP - much like the idea of muses, the left/right brain dichotomy, and formal composition, the concept of 10,000 hours has a lot to do with myth and metaphor. Like fairytales and religious texts, their worth don't always lie in the realm of the literal.

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    the point of the book was the ten thousand hour rule was a benchmark that was more accurate than IQ or Aptitude. He cited many examples of people who were supposedly very smart or very gifted but because of a lack of effort or a lack of emotional intelligence, they did not do as well as people who though seemingly mediocre, just knuckled down and worked hard to improve their craft. These average people actually did better over time, landed jobs in their chosen professions more, and stayed in them longer. Of course his control groups could be suspect as anything else when looking at slices of the population. I never took it as hard science but more of "hey this is interesting and seems to go against the idea of genius and talent."
    There was plenty of other things that affected success, timing, economies, access to information or tools. He even uses race and culture to show how success has a different level of importance between groups.

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    Well, atleast 10k h is a start.

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    hey it is possible to reach 10k hours within your life time. SQUEEZE MOAR HOURS IN YOUR SCHEDULE DAILY!! xD

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flashback View Post
    I love this.

    Addendum: One was so funny I added it to my still incomplete 'About' page. Sums up one of the sentences in it quite nicely.

    Last edited by ArtsySiridean; March 26th, 2011 at 11:53 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig D View Post
    Well you've slammed Gladwell, and you've slammed B Edwards
    but what have you done lately?
    Lately?

    I sculpted a raccoon head out of aluminum foil. That kinda came out OK. But, it's probably not going to evolve into something that makes me $250,000/yr like Gladwell makes writing for "The New Yorker."

    But, I did forget to slam Damien Hirst! Here we go: Malcolm Gladwell is the Damien Hirst of journalism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meloncov View Post
    If you're going to accuse someone of poor science, you really ought to post some contrary data, or at the very least particular instances of poor methodology.

    Further, what skills can you really master in less than ten thousand hours? There are plenty of things you can get as good at as you are ever going to have any need for in less than ten thousand hours (say, spreading butter), but that's not mastery. Reaching truly optimal butter spreading skills, reliably spreading butter perfectly evenly in the minimal amount of time, may well take ten thousand hours of practice.
    That's easy. Gladwell's not a scientist. He's a journalist, and he has no "methodology" other than overgeneralizing outside of his field of "expertise." Rather ironic! (The study he uses involves German music students who were determined (somehow) to have accrued 10,000 hours of practice by the age of 20 and were deemed (by whatever criteria) to be "experts" even though they would've still been in school, not out in the real world using their "expertise" to pay off their student loans.

    That's a pretty narrow focus. And from that, we get the fallacy that ANYONE can be an expert in ANYTHING by deliberately practicing for 10,000 hours.

    And, again, mastery and expertise would appear to be two different animals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    the point of the book was the ten thousand hour rule was a benchmark that was more accurate than IQ or Aptitude. He cited many examples of people who were supposedly very smart or very gifted but because of a lack of effort or a lack of emotional intelligence, they did not do as well as people who though seemingly mediocre, just knuckled down and worked hard to improve their craft. These average people actually did better over time, landed jobs in their chosen professions more, and stayed in them longer. Of course his control groups could be suspect as anything else when looking at slices of the population. I never took it as hard science but more of "hey this is interesting and seems to go against the idea of genius and talent."
    There was plenty of other things that affected success, timing, economies, access to information or tools. He even uses race and culture to show how success has a different level of importance between groups.
    Yes, this describes the appeal of Gladwell's truthy science-flavored feel-goodedness!

    But, I think you'd really piss off those German music students and the people deeming them "experts" if you called them just a hard working bunch of mediocrities!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameowns View Post
    hey it is possible to reach 10k hours within your life time. SQUEEZE MOAR HOURS IN YOUR SCHEDULE DAILY!! xD
    Welp, your average lifetime is approximately 666,000 hours long so it's (theoretically) possible to master something like 40 skills within your lifetime, assuming you eat really really fast.

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