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image of book cover for Peak.

Today, on impulse, I read Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. Actually, it was more of a pre-reading than a formal reading, but a reading none-the-less. Peak has approximately 111,000 words, it took me roughly 48 minutes to pre-read the book, and that amounts to roughly 2,300 words-per-minute. My commentary, originally posted in Jonathan Levi's SuperLearner Facebook Group, is below:

I had to look up who Johnny Hayes and Alfred Cortot was.

"Purposeful practice involves feedback" is an important tip... if one has nothing to compare one's progress to, it's easy to put the goal aside, or stop progress altogether and allow cognitive bias to come into play.

Eleanor Maguire, the neuroscientist at Univeristy College London did study that was published in 2011, but now newer studies are taking precedent. More being discovered about the brain and what is responsible for storing memories and about its plasticity in general.

Alexander Alekhine and Marc Lang sound amazing. I wonder how Joshua Waitzkin would stand up to them.... The SuperLearner MasterClass has a Bonus lecture titled "How To Memorize the Best Possible Response in Chess (Advanced)", and to confess, I have not completed that lecture yet. 🙁

"Planning" is something that I do with pre-reading, when I pre-read that is (I don't always do that). When I pre-read, I not only look for markers (and tags), but I also look for useful information related to the reasons I am reading the book. That helps me organize the information gained when actually reading the book for later use/productivity.

The words sautillé, jeté, collé, détaché, martelé, legato, and louré (which I had to look up all but sautillé) will definitely enhance the creation of some markers/tags....

Robyn Dawes research does not surprise me. Cognitive Behavior Therapy has become so popular for self-therapy that many online course providers provide courses about it.

László Polgár was another I had to look up. I like associating faces with names as much as possible.

Initial results of his testing notwithstanding, Benjamin Bloom's question in the 1980's is quite interesting: "What does one find in the childhood of people who become experts that explains why they, among all people, develop such extraordinary abilities?" I suppose it adds credence to the importance of mentors (one of the reasons I hang out here, because I find a lot of mentors here).

One day I will learn Go... I've wanted to learn it since watching Hunter x Hunter....

To keep this shorter than otherwise, I agree with the overall theme of purposeful practice. It seems to be working for me.

I think that challenging myself to write about what I read after I read it is a good way to help what I've read sink in even further. Glancing through a book at 2,300 wpm to get enough of a "jist" to write the above commentary is a significant improvement from where I was a few years ago.


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