Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

 

As Joe Fox, the Tom Hanks character in “You’ve Got Mail,” says about “The Godfather”:

“The Godfather” is the I Ching. “The Godfather” is the sum of all wisdom. “The Godfather” is the answer to any question.

That is how we feel about Peak. Okay, maybe not quite, but close. Peak was written to serve as the distillation of what Anders Ericsson, the world’s leading expert on deliberate practice, learned about that topic over his decades of research in the field. As such, it is your best introduction to what is the most effective technique known for improving skills in any area. And this website was designed to serve as an extension and continuation of the lessons in Peak. If you haven’t read this book yet, you should.

As of February 2018, Peak is available in the following languages:

  • English (U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand)
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Dutch
  • Swedish
  • Russian
  • Romanian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Hungarian
  • Chinese (simplified characters)

 

There are contracts to publish Peak in the following languages, but these editions have not yet appeared:

  • French
  • Ukrainian
  • Turkish
  • Estonian
  • Lithuanian
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Chinese (complex characters)
  • Thai

 

To buy a copy of Peak, available in hardcover, paperback, Audible, and Kindle editions, follow this link.

 

 

 

The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance

 

For anyone who wants to delve into the details of the science behind deliberate practice and expert performers, this is the best single source. Edited by the co-author of Peak, Anders Ericsson, this volume has 42 chapters written by researchers, with each chapter devoted to a particular aspect of this broad field. The topics range from the scientific methods psychologists use to study experts to studies of expert performers in such fields as medicine, software design, writing, sports, ballet, and mathematics.

Although the book was published more than a decade ago, its insights are just as true as they were when this book was published. But for those who want a more-up-to-date accounting of the research in the field, a new, revised edition is scheduled for release on May 1, 2018.

You can order the book by following this link or can pre-order the revised edition by following this link.

 

 

 

Talent is Overrated

 

Before Peak was published, Geoff Colvin’s book was the best available book on deliberate practice. He covers some of the same territory that Peak does, but it’s a good read and well worth your time.

You can order the book by following this link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outliers: The Story of Success

 

Malcolm Gladwell is an outstanding writer with an amazing feel for the turns of phrase that will stick in people’s minds. “Tipping point” has become such a common phrase that few people even remember that it was Gladwell’s book of that name that introduced the phrase and the concept it describes. And before there was Peak there was “the 10,000-hour rule,” offered in Gladwell’s book Outliers.

That “rule” was ostensibly based on the work of Anders Ericsson, but as he and I discussed in Peak, the rule got a lot of things wrong, including the idea that there is some magic number of hours that is necessary for mastery in a field. Still, Gladwell did get one crucial thing right — that it takes an incredible amount of work to become one of the best in a field and that it is practice, not some innate talent, that sets apart the best from everyone else. And popularizing that insight was an exceptionally important contribution.

The book is a great read, and as long you ignore the labored attempt to make 10,000 hours into some sort of special figure, it does a nice job of showing how it is practice and not innate talent that propels people to the top.

You can order the book by following this link.