Malcolm Gladwell’s widely read book Outliers is, you could argue, a study of the number 10,000. That’s the amount of practice, in hours, necessary to become world-class at just about anything, he argues. Gladwell details how the “10,000 hour rule” helps to explain the rise of experts from Bill Gates to the Beatles. Exceptional talent equals an exceptional quantity of practice—10,000 hours to be exact. But of course what you do in practice matters as much as, if not more than, how much you practice. “A kid who practices hours of sloppy pick-up basketball every day is going to develop less than a kid who practices really well for two hours a day with good instruction and feedback,” Michael Goldstein, one of the best teacher ...

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