To become a chess grandmaster also seems to take about ten years. (Only the legendary Bobby Fisher got to that elite level in less than that amount of time: it took him nine years.) And what's ten years? Well, it's roughly how long it takes to put in ten thousand hours of hard practice. Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.
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I always resist seeing my own personal motivation in my work, but I guess it must be there on some level. And I do feel very much that my life follows the kinds of things I talk about in my books. I've always thought of myself as an insanely lucky person, so perhaps the success of my first two books led me to want to examine this phenomenon on some unconscious level.
There is this tremendous body of knowledge in the world of academia where extraordinary numbers of incredibly thoughtful people have taken the time to examine on a really profound level the way we live our lives and who we are and where we've been. That brilliant learning sometimes gets trapped in academia and never sees the light of day.
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Superstar lawyers and math whizzes and software entrepreneurs appear at first blush to lie outside ordinary experience. But they don't. They are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Their success is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky - but all critical to making them who they are. The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all.
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Living a long life, the conventional wisdom at the time said, depended to a great extent on who we were-that is, our genes. It depended on the decisions we made-on what we chose to eat, and how much we chose to exercise, and how effectively we were treated by the medical system. No one was used to thinking about health in terms of community.
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People are in one of two states in a relationship," Gottman went on. "The first is what I call positive sentiment override, where positive emotion overrides irritability. It's like a buffer. Their spouse will do something bad, and they'll say, 'Oh, he's just in a crummy mood.' Or they can be in negative sentiment override, so that even a relatively neutral thing that a partner says gets perceived as negative.
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If we think about emotion this way - as outside-in, not inside out - it is possible to understand how some people can have an enormous amount of influence over others. Some of us, after all, are very good at expressiing emotions and feelings, which means that we are far more emotionally contagious than the rest of us.
The conventional wisdom is often wrong. Crime didn't keep soaring in the 1990s, money alone doesn't win elections, and - surprise - drinking eight glasses of water a day has never actually been shown to do a thing for your health. Conventional wisdom is often shoddily formed and devilishly difficult to see through, but it can be done.
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When I see someone who reads something of mine and draws something out of it that's very different from my perspective, I think that's actually cool. Sometimes it's worrisome when you feel they badly misinterpret it, but it just says that they're thinking, and they're bringing their own interpretation to bear on it. That's part of the wonderful thing about putting words into the world, and if I was worried about that, I couldn't be a writer.
Jenny Simpson loses her shoe in the women's fifteen hundred, with a lap and a half to go, destroying her chances to repeat as world champion, and she gives the most gracious interview afterward about how she's had a wonderful career already. Great for Jenny Simpson. Bad for the sport! We need drama!
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The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot. It makes a difference where and when we grew up.
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The Tipping Point is the biography of an idea, and the idea is very simple. It is that the best way to understand the emergence of fashion trends, the ebb and flow of crime waves, or, for that matter, the transformation of unknown books into bestsellers, or the rise of teenage smoking, or the phenomena of word of mouth, or any number of the other mysterious changes that mark everyday life is to think of them as epidemics. Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.
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The mistake we make in thinking of character as something unified and all-encompassing is very similar to a kind of blind spot in the way we process information. Psychologists call this tendency the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE), which is a fancy way of saying that when it comes to interpreting other people's behavior, human beings invariably make the mistake of overestimating the importance of fundamental character traits and underestimating the importance of situation and context.
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People are in one of two states in a relationship, ' Gottman went on. 'The first is what I call positive sentiment override, where positive emotion overrides irritability. It's like a buffer. Their spouse will do something bad, and they'll say, 'Oh, he's just in a crummy mood.' Or they can be in negative sentiment override, so that even a relatively neutral thing that a partner says gets perceived as negative.
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Cultural legacies are powerful forces. They have deep roots and long lives. They persist, generation after generation, virtually intact, even as the economic and social and demographic conditions that spawned them have vanished, and they play such a role in directing attitudes and behavior that we cannot make sense of our world without them.
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Basketball is an intricate, high-speed game filled with split-second, spontaneous decisions. But that spontaneity is possible only when everyone first engages in hours of highly repetitive and structured practice-perfecting their shooting, dribbling, and passing and running plays over and over again-and agrees to play a carefully defined role on the court... spontaneity isn't random.
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legitimacy is based on three things. First of all, the people who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice-that if they speak up, they will be heard. Second, the law has to be predictable. There has to be a reasonable expectation that the rules tomorrow are going to be roughly the same as the rules today. And third, the authority has to be fair. It can't treat one group differently from another.
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Do we as a society need people who have emerged from some kind of trauma. And the answer is that we plainly do. There are times and places however when all of us depend on people who have been hardened by their experiences... [Dr. Freireich] understood from his own childhood experiences that it is possible to emerge from even the darkest hell healed and restored.
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