catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Silliest Freakonomics column ever

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Sorry, but I’m just not buying this:

… the trait we commonly call talent is highly overrated. Or, put another way, expert performers — whether in memory or surgery, ballet or computer programming — are nearly always made, not born. And yes, practice does make perfect. These may be the sort of clichés that parents are fond of whispering to their children. But these particular clichés just happen to be true …

“I think the most general claim here,” Ericsson says of his work, “is that a lot of people believe there are some inherent limits they were born with. But there is surprisingly little hard evidence that anyone could attain any kind of exceptional performance without spending a lot of time perfecting it.” This is not to say that all people have equal potential. Michael Jordan, even if he hadn’t spent countless hours in the gym, would still have been a better basketball player than most of us. But without those hours in the gym, he would never have become the player he was.

The shorter Freakonomics (or at least one interepretation of it – the other one is the more banal point that ‘practice makes perfect’ which one doesn’t really need to write a whole column about – take your pick):

Practice makes perfect, therefore anyone can be Michael Jordan/Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart/Art Tatum given sufficient hard work.

Pull the other one, guys.

Update: On a totally unrelated point, check out this recording of Art Tatum playing piano.


Written by Admin

May 9, 2006 at 6:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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