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Secrets from the new science of expertise

Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool

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Peak Summary

Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock the book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. In 1762, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began a tour around Europe. His first stop was a palace in Bavaria. As a seven-year-old kid, his feet were far from reaching the floor, and his hands were barely able to reach the piano keys. Nevertheless, he fully convinced the audience of his ability through his performance. The Bavarian aristocrats were thoroughly amazed by his virtuosity. But this is not the whole story of his talent. Little Mozart was able to identify the sound of any musical instrument and tell whether it was the A-sharp above middle C, or the E-flat below middle C. It’s like seeing a car rushing past and being able to accurately tell whether it’s going 58.2 or 61 miles per hour. This kind of ability even overshadowed adult musicians in Mozart’s time. Now, people call it “absolute pitch.” It is exceptionally rare. Many great composers and virtuoso like Brahms and Stravinsky didn’t even have it. On average, only one in every 10,000 people have this gift. This seems to be a perfect example that proves only a few lucky people have innate talents, while ordinary people can only admire them. At least, this was widely believed for 200 years after Mozart’s case. However, over the past few decades, people have developed a new understanding of absolute pitch. Researchers noticed that there is an important fact that has long been ignored by the theory of innate talent. That is, Wolfgang Mozart’s father, Leopold Mozart, was also a musician. Since he never reached the degree of success he wanted, he devoted himself to the training of his children. When Mozart was four years old, his father was and teaching him full time all kinds of musical instruments such as violin and harpsichord. So, is it possible that Mozart’s absolute pitch resulted from acquired training, or in other words, deliberate practice? This theory isn’t baseless. In recent years, this assumption has already been proven by neuroscientific studies. In other words, talent is a product of training. Furthermore, this method of training can be traced, which is exactly what the book Peak wants to tell us. This book was co-authored by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. Ericsson is a professor of psychology at Florida State University and a Conradi Eminent Scholar. His research focuses on expert performance in areas such as sports, music, chess, medicine, and the military, as well as the effect that “deliberate practice” has on them. Robert Pool is a writer of science, technology, and medicine. He has worked as an editor and writer at two science publications, including Nature and Science, and taught science writing at Johns Hopkins University. Next, we will outline this book in three parts. Let’s find out how we can upgrade ourselves from a novice to a master through deliberate practice: Part One: How does practice create talent? Part Two: What is deliberate practice? Part Three: How to conduct deliberate practice

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