Engaging with the lessons from K. Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool in “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise” may inspire you to try new things. These authors assert that harnessing the passion to improve is the key thing that you need to do to get good at anything. Readers learn that excellence is not born; it is made. This book advocates for this philosophy to be taught at all levels of society: in schools, careers, the arts, and more. If you follow your motivations to improve as directed in this book, you can gain more skills and talents than you ever dreamed possible.
Ericsson is the psychological researcher who discovered these secrets. According to his research, everyone is born with the ability to develop almost any skills that society incorrectly thinks of as inborn gifts. You already know where your innate advantages lie, he and Pool explain, but knowing is not enough. You must practice. What they call “deliberate practice” is far beyond just repeating a lesson or activity over and over again. The book details how each goal that you set must challenge but not overwhelm you. The authors show you how to look at your discomfort from all angles to work out a new plan to get through it.
Ericsson and Pool identify a main ingredient in adapting your mind to a new skill: focus. Without focusing fully on the task at hand, your practice will be wasted. Instead, the authors explain that you need to take on all things with a strong sense of purpose. You must set many specific goals. According to the research presented, your brain and even your body can adapt in ways that you probably have not yet grasped. For instance, you cannot say that you are “bad at math” if you have never tried to learn it. Excitement for Ericsson’s discoveries spills over in the tone throughout this book.