K. Anders Ericsson has spent much of his career studying what makes the world’s best musicians and athletes the best. It turns out the old adage is true: Practice — 10,000 hours of it, to be precise — really does make perfect.
Ericsson, the Conradi Eminent Scholar and Professor of Psychology at The Florida State University and an international expert on the topic of expertise, pioneered the idea that it is not innate talent that propels the greatest performers to the top of their field but practice — thousands of hours of a very focused and strategic kind that he calls “deliberate practice.”
His argument that almost anybody could be the next Yo-Yo Ma or David Beckham if they start training young and invest roughly 10,000 hours of deliberate practice over 10 years has brought Ericsson a lot of attention. “Freakonomics” authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner have written about him, and several recent best-selling books on the subject of expertise, such as Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers: The Story of Success,” also have featured his work.