I adore you, Malcolm Gladwell. Your hair and your books. But here's the problem: you're also a liar.

One of the most memorable concepts in Outliers, your mesmerizing 2008 book about tiny factors that lead to high levels of success, is the notion of the 10,000-Hour Rule.

You might remember it states that one of the foremost keys to success in any field is practicing it for 10,000 hours. That is a lie. A personally-verifiable one. I started seriously practicing my dance moves in front of the mirror when Snap's 1990 electronic masterpiece Rhythm Is a Dancer first came out, and since then, have put in around 65,000 hours of living room rehearsal, with occasional forays into public wedding reception bustouts, but my actual rhythm has only marginally improved (this could also lead to another discussion about the meaning of Irony). I have incredible and insane moves; it's just the rhythm portion that is vexing.

So I call you out, Mr. Gladwell. All respect, but if you've invested as much time as I have into something you love and have little to show for it, then something is wrong with your 10K Rule. Time for you to invent a different rule before someone else's dreams are shattered.

P.S. You're the greatest. When is your next book coming out? I would like a complimentary advance copy, please (thus, why I tagged you). Merci!

The Skeptic. { joseph ivan long 2013.01.17 }

Rhythm of a Dancer
The Madman's Return

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