News that Will Either Infuriate You, or Make You Feel Incredibly Smug

If you are spending 10,000 hours trying to make yourself an expert at something, you might be wasting your time:

Like many others who read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” when it came out five years ago, I was impressed by the 10,000-hour rule of expertise. I wrote a column (for a different publication) espousing the rule, which holds that to become a world-class competitor at anything from chess to tennis to baseball, all that’s required is 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.

David Epstein has convinced me I was wrong. His thoroughly researched new book, “The Sports Gene,” pretty much demolishes the 10,000-hour rule -- and much of “Outliers” along with it.

The practice-makes-perfect theory is certainly inspiring. In 2009, and after reading Gladwell’s book and some of the associated research, a 30-year-old man named Dan McLaughlin decided to quit his job as a photographer, determined to practice golf for 10,000 hours and turn pro -- even though his previous experience consisted of just two trips to a driving range as a child. He now practices six hours a day, and is scheduled to hit 10,000 hours in late 2016.

Epstein’s book suggests that McLaughlin better have a backup plan, because, while real elite athletes have put in plenty of practice time, their aptitude is enhanced by their genes.

Read on. More here. And sorry if I ruined your day.