Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chapter 2, The 10,000 Hour Rule

  Gladwell hits Chapter 2 off with the story of a guy you've never heard of, Bill Joy. Now Bill attended the U of Michigan in '71, fell in love with the newly added Computer Center, switched schools to Berkely and ended up being the guy who wrote the code for Java. Yeah, the Java we use for all our videos, Mr. Underappreciated Joy was the humble soul who kindly coded our software. But why does this mean anything to us at all? Because just like the hockey players hailing from Canada, born in the right month and all, there is also something very unique about Bill. He was born in 1954, and similarily with the rest of his fellow coders at Berkely--not to mention Bill Gates and Stephen Jobs around the same years too. Why is this important? Because all these brilliant brains came about when this technology was coming about for them to manipulate. Bill Gates, who Gladwell also describes greatly, was born into a wealthy family, went to one of the few colleges that offered coding programs, and better yet was able to code for free. Gladwell gives more examples, but you get it--these guys came about at sheer luck of birthdates.
  The Beatles, on the other hand, also had a fair amount of luck play into their success. These guys had the blessing to be discovered by Bruno, a Hamburg native who needed some entertainment besides girls for his strip clubs, offered to let the Beatles play there. They accepted, and played nonstop around the clock, creating more music to fill their nightly playlists, and practicing before a sleazy crowd. Why this is so relevant? Well, the Beatles quickly accumulated many hours under their belt to give them at least some credibility. They were heard, got paid enough to start touring, and people began to love their music. Why were they good? Because they had practice.  About 10,000 hours worth.
  Similarily, Bill Gates and Joy also labored at coding for years, and Gladwell will tell you that the average of all these brilliant minds' practice times sums up to 10,000. Don't believe me? Mozart is another example. Gladwell says that all of Mozart's peers begins practicing their instruments at the same rate when they are younger, say 6 or 7. But as they grew older, their skills set them apart. Not because any one child was more skilled than the other naturally, just that their practice time would be much more than the other. Practicing for many years over time breeds superior talents in any field. This, no one can doubt.


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