So, how many lives did former Big Tobacco shill Malcolm Gladwell ruin with his bogus "10,000 hours" talking point?
The 10,000 hour rule—first proposed by a Swedish psychologist and later made famous in Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers—states that exceptional expertise requires at least 10,000 hours of practice. The best of the best (the Beatles, Bill Gates) all amassed more than 10,000 hours of practice before rising to the top, Gladwell argued. So greatness is within virtually any person's grasp, so long as they can put in the time to master their skill of choice.
A new meta-analysis, however, indicates that the 10,000 hour rule simply does not exist. As Brain's Idea reports, authors of the new study undertook the largest literature survey on this subject to date, compiling the results of 88 scientific articles representing data from some 11,000 research participants. Practice, they found, on average explains just 12 percent of skill mastery and subsequent success. "In other words the 10,000-Hour rule is nonsense," Brain's Idea writes. "Stop believing in it. Sure, practice is important. But other factors (age? intelligence? talent?) appear to play a bigger role."
While this is the largest study to date to arrive at this conclusion, it's not the first.
So who exactly did Gladwell hurt?
Nobody in today's Ivies, that's for sure. Those kids know it's connections that got them where they are, not hard work.
No, Gladwell's work was targeted, with laser beam precision, at those who (a) don't have connections, (b) do have the social capital to gain skills and wish to seek betterment through them, and (c) do have the personal drive and discipline to invest 10,000 hours in "the American Dream" -- except by "invest," I mean "waste," because that's what the debunking of Gladwell's 10,000 hours "story" tells us. No doubt, if things don't work out, the kids blame themselves. "I didn't work hard enough."
Gladwell's bullshit is like a sociological HAMP for bright working class kids. I hope he's ashamed [snort].