Author Topic: Malcom Gladwell vs. Tim Ferriss  (Read 2989 times)

Krum312

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Malcom Gladwell vs. Tim Ferriss
« on: May 19, 2017, 11:53:00 PM »
These guys both suggest seeing things differently and going against conventional wisdom.

They can both be great story tellers and back up their theories with real life examples, facts, and scientific research.

Gladwell's book, Outliers highlights the 10,000 hour rule of mastering a trade or skill. Bill Gates was able to plenty of extra practice because he had access to an advanced University computer int he middle of the night when he was a teenager. The Beatles had plenty of extra practice when they were asked to play 8 hour sets in Hamburg, Germany.

Ferriss' 4 Hour Chef gives plenty of examples of people who have mastered a skill in 6 weeks or 6 months. Bill Gates and the Beatles may be better than 99.9% of the people in their field. The examples from Tim may be better than 95-99% of the people in their field. The first 100 pages of the 4 Hour Chef are about learning and mastering a skill in the shortest amount of time.

Have you or anyone you know put in so much extra practice time in their field that they have become an innovative expert?

Have you or anyone you know learned to master a certain set of skills in a short amount of time?


Feivel2000

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Re: Malcom Gladwell vs. Tim Ferriss
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2017, 02:48:25 PM »
These guys both suggest seeing things differently and going against conventional wisdom.

They can both be great story tellers and back up their theories with real life examples, facts, and scientific research.

Gladwell's book, Outliers highlights the 10,000 hour rule of mastering a trade or skill. Bill Gates was able to plenty of extra practice because he had access to an advanced University computer int he middle of the night when he was a teenager. The Beatles had plenty of extra practice when they were asked to play 8 hour sets in Hamburg, Germany.

Ferriss' 4 Hour Chef gives plenty of examples of people who have mastered a skill in 6 weeks or 6 months. Bill Gates and the Beatles may be better than 99.9% of the people in their field. The examples from Tim may be better than 95-99% of the people in their field. The first 100 pages of the 4 Hour Chef are about learning and mastering a skill in the shortest amount of time.

Have you or anyone you know put in so much extra practice time in their field that they have become an innovative expert?

Have you or anyone you know learned to master a certain set of skills in a short amount of time?
Well, it is the Law of diminishing returns. You can get very good at things if you invest six weeks of intensive learning while concentrating on the things that bring the highest return of investment.

But will you master the task? No.

It's perfect vs good enough. You can learn to code an iPhone game in less than 6 weeks, but you won't be able to code the redundant control system for a nuclear power plant (and probably won't be able to understand the underlying theories to make such programs in six weeks either).

So: they are both right?


I teached myself to play the ukulele. After some weeks of slow progress I tossed away the book and concentrated on the four accords I needed to play Somewhere over the rainbow. It was enough to impress my wife (song from the wedding), but can I really play the ukulele? Probably not...
« Last Edit: May 20, 2017, 02:52:18 PM by Feivel2000 »

mozar

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Re: Malcom Gladwell vs. Tim Ferriss
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2017, 07:48:11 PM »
I'm actually thinking of getting the ukulele just to learn over the rainbow.  Like everything in life, the truth is probably more nuanced than what a couple of pop non fiction authors can portray.

 I think a combination of inborn talent, luck (socioecomic etc), motivation, and practice is key. For example both my parents are musicians. I decided recently to learn the piano as an adult and I've never played before. I've been zooming through the books and in a few months already have some mastery.

I'm motivated because I'm an adult ( my mother doesn't have to nag me), and I finally have the resources  (financial and emotional ) to try it. I doubt I would be able to learn so fast if I didn't have "talent" but that talent could just be that I heard my parents playing growing up so I have a good base knowledge to start with.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2017, 07:53:37 PM by mozar »

startingsmall

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Re: Malcom Gladwell vs. Tim Ferriss
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2017, 08:29:26 PM »
I haven't read the whole article, only the abstract posted here: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797614535810

Nevertheless, this graphic represents the percent of performance variation influenced by individual practice:


FIREby35

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Re: Malcom Gladwell vs. Tim Ferriss
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2017, 09:54:14 PM »
Another good take on this issue is Angela Duckworth's "Grit." Check it out.

sultee

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Re: Malcom Gladwell vs. Tim Ferriss
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2017, 02:01:29 PM »
These guys both suggest seeing things differently and going against conventional wisdom.

They can both be great story tellers and back up their theories with real life examples, facts, and scientific research.

Gladwell's book, Outliers highlights the 10,000 hour rule of mastering a trade or skill. Bill Gates was able to plenty of extra practice because he had access to an advanced University computer int he middle of the night when he was a teenager. The Beatles had plenty of extra practice when they were asked to play 8 hour sets in Hamburg, Germany.

Ferriss' 4 Hour Chef gives plenty of examples of people who have mastered a skill in 6 weeks or 6 months. Bill Gates and the Beatles may be better than 99.9% of the people in their field. The examples from Tim may be better than 95-99% of the people in their field. The first 100 pages of the 4 Hour Chef are about learning and mastering a skill in the shortest amount of time.

Have you or anyone you know put in so much extra practice time in their field that they have become an innovative expert?

Have you or anyone you know learned to master a certain set of skills in a short amount of time?

I think it's important to remember that these aren't two different fields of thought. Tim Ferriss's theory isn't going to turn you into Bill Gates, but it is going to help you become proficient at a task you were previously incompetent at performing. The 10,000 hour guideline is very valid, but remember those are people like Bill Gates enormous "Outliers", not just someone who is improving their ability within certain fields.

You can likely use Tim's method to become better at anything you're looking to improve, but that isn't going to make you a titan within your field.

Gondolin

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Re: Malcom Gladwell vs. Tim Ferriss
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2017, 09:30:29 AM »
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The 10,000 hour guideline is very valid

Can you cite a source for this claim beyond a self-reference to "Outliers"?

What Gladwell and Ferriss really share in common is that they're good writers who know that most readers won't question the validity of their claims if those claims are presented as being 'scientific' and well-researched - regardless of if any research was actually performed.

Neither man is any kind of scientist - social or otherwise - and neither has done much in the way of substantive research to back up their claims. Ferris has done none as far as I know. Gladwell is essentially a tomb robber of old sociology papers - which is an especially poor position right now since both the sociology and behavioral psych. fields are undergoing a crisis of validity right now (huge publish bias, tons of data that can't be replicated, many cornerstone studies being found statistically invalid, etc.).

The prevailing business model seems to be:
1. Come up with a vaguely, generally true sounding hypothesis ("practice makes you better at stuff"). Then dress it up with some hard numbers that make it sound like a rock solid scientific law.
2. Cherry pick a few anecdotal examples that support your hypothesis.
3. Claim that your examples constitute a universal truth of human behavior or development. Don't provide data. Keep things pithy.
4. Publish and profit.

Yet, somehow, both these 'theories' have managed to persist in the public consciousness. Maybe when we humans learn to use more than 10% of our brains we'll be able to move on from self-appointed armchair sociologists. 


Krum312

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Re: Malcom Gladwell vs. Tim Ferriss
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2017, 10:35:32 AM »
Gladwell most likely cited K. Anders Ericsson. Google says Ericsson's research has been cited over 7000 times.

Tim and Max understand that great marketing involves great story telling. MMM has such a large following partly because of his great writing, not his scientific research.

I believe that Tim's assertion is that with the right tools and techniques anyone can get really proficient without investing too much time. Can anyone become proficient in Mustachian badassity in 6 weeks to 6 months?

Cialdini's Influence and Kahnman's Thinking, Fast and Slow provide much more research with citations.

I have been looking into Duckworth's Grit. She had great things to say on the Freakonomics podcast.

Good work with the Ukulele!!
I've learned a few guitar chords, but I haven't focused on one particular song to learn.

Gondolin

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Re: Malcom Gladwell vs. Tim Ferriss
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2017, 11:19:58 AM »
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Gladwell most likely cited K. Anders Ericsson. Google says Ericsson's research has been cited over 7000 times.

Gladwell did explicitly 'cite' one of Ericsson's cases in 'Outliers'. But...here is the link to the interview where Ericsson says that Gladwell is wrong and is misrepresenting his work: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/malcolm-gladwell-got-it-wrong-deliberate-practice-not-10000-hours-key-to-achievement-psychologist-says

Also, the number of citations is currently meaningless with soc/pysch...with so many effects proving non-replicatible, what is foundational today may turn to dross tomorrow.

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Tim and Max understand that great marketing involves great story telling.

Absolutely. I'm just warning against taking their general theories as a good basis for changing your actual behavior.

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Kahnman's Thinking, Fast and Slow provide much more research with citations.

+1 Stick to economists Nobel Prize winners right now. (Thanks T. Honda)

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Nicely done.
Thanks :P



« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 09:26:34 AM by Gondolin »

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Malcom Gladwell vs. Tim Ferriss
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2017, 09:03:46 AM »
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Kahnman's Thinking, Fast and Slow provide much more research with citations.

+1 Stick to economists right now.


Psst. Daniel Kahnman is a psychologist.

Gondolin

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Re: Malcom Gladwell vs. Tim Ferriss
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2017, 09:24:50 AM »
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Psst. Daniel Kahnman is a psychologist.

Oooops. I was fooled by his Nobel in Economic Sciences. Yes, he's a psychologist.

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Malcom Gladwell vs. Tim Ferriss
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2017, 09:28:20 AM »
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Psst. Daniel Kahnman is a psychologist.

Oooops. I was fooled by his Nobel in Economic Sciences. Yes, he's a psychologist.

Those "behavioral economists" are a sneaky bunch.

BigHaus89

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Re: Malcom Gladwell vs. Tim Ferriss
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2017, 12:05:24 PM »
Freakonomics podcast has two great episodes about this. One is "How to Become Great at Just about Anything" where they talk about the research that went into the "10,000 hour" rule and "The Men who started a Thinking Revolution" about Daniel Kahnman and Amos Tversky.

Also, someone mentioned Duckworth's "Grit" book and she appears in many episodes of Freakonomics. I highly recommend all of them.