Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool

  • “Steve was constantly challenged but not too much…the boundary of what he could and could not do.”

  • “The key to improved mental performance of almost any sort is the development of mental structures that make it possible to avoid limitations of short term memory and deal effectively with large amounts of information at once.”

Characteristics of Purposeful Practice

  • Focused attention with feedback.

  • “Without feedback, you cannot figure out what you need to improve on or how close you are to achieving your goals.”

  • “If you never push yourself beyond your comfort zone, you never will improve.”

  • “Meaningful positive feedback is one of the crucial factors in maintaining motivation.”

Deliberate Practice

  • “Deliberate practice is purposeful practice that knows where it’s going and how to get there.”

  • “Trying hard isn’t enough.  Pushing yourself to your limits isn’t enough.  There are other equally important aspects to practice and training that are often overlooked…one is deliberate practice.”

  • “When teaching a skill, break the lesson into a series of steps that the student can master one at a time, building from one to the next to reach the ultimate objective.

  • Redesigning teaching methods using deliberate practice could dramatically increase how quickly and how well students learn

  • Developing a skill through deliberate practice can increase the motivation for further improvement because of the positive feedback one gets from possessing that skill. 

  • A world in which deliberate practice is a normal part of life would be one in which people had more volition and satisfaction.

Improvement Mindsets involve rejecting 3 prevailing myths:

  1. Belief that one’s abilities are limited by one’s genetically prescribed characteristics.

  2. If you do something for long enough, you’re bound to get better at it.

  3. If you try hard enough you’ll get better.