Blink and You Might Miss the Tipping Point

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When I learned that Malcom Gladwell was speaking at QuickBooks Connect this year, I was very excited. Next I started talking to people about it, and I was surprised to find out how many people that I talked to, had no idea who he was? Blink? The Tipping Point? These are both very well known books that he wrote. Apparently a fair number of people blinked, and missed the tipping point!

Here are the books Malcom Gladwell has written:

  • Outliers
  • David and Goliath
  • Blink
  • The Tipping Point
  • What the Dog Saw

You can search both Barnes and Noble, and Amazon, and you’ll find his books.

I’ve personally read Blink, and found it fascinating. It’s about the amount of time we spend, making decisions. Gladwell describes studies that were done, that seem to abundantly confirm that, in general, our decision making process, is much more accurate with limited information, as opposed to gathering lots of research. In short, the message is “trust your instincts,” but the catch, is that you have to learn to recognize them, and then you have to learn to rely on them. Much easier said than done, and like anything else, it takes a lot of practice.

How about 10,000 hours of practice?

Many of us in business have heard about the 10,000 hour rule – that you have to practice for 10,000 hours, in order to become truly great at something. Malcom Gladwell is the guy who is credited with having made this theory popular, but it wasn’t his theory.

In his book, Outliers, Malcolm gladwell cites research done by two gentlemen, Anders Ericsson And Robert Pool. They did a study on a bunch of violin students in a music school in Berlin, that showed, that on average the most accomplished of these students had put in about 10,000 hours of practice by the time they were 20. Gladwell’s book, by the account of Ericsson, and Pool, over simplifies, and over generalizes their research. This may be true, but the bigger picture message, is that it takes a TON of practice, dedication, and commitment, to be truly remarkable at your craft. Some people will need to put in much more, and others much less, to be remarkable in their craft. You can learn more in this article: Malcolm Gladwell got us wrong: Our research was key to the 10,000-hour rule, but here’s what got oversimplified.

The real research seems to have shown that the reason it took 10,000 hours to become an expert violinist, is not based on the fact that it takes 10,000 hours. It is based on the fact that, this is what all of the top violinists are putting in. It’s about what your competition is doing, and how many hours they’re putting in. In short, the more time you put in, the better you’ll get, and if you want to be the best in your field, then you have to put in more time than most in your field do. That could be 30,000 hours by the age of 30.

The point is, that the original researchers were probably splitting hairs on this. If you read Malcom Gladwell’s books, you will find that he puts some very compelling information in front of you for your consideration. If you take it, and learn from it, you can only improve. No matter what field you’re in, if you put in 10,000 hours, you’re bound to be well on your way to being remarkable in that field.

Malcom Gladwell has also given several TED Talks. Give a listen, and you’ll get an idea of what you can expect at QuickBooks Connect this coming October 24-26. Then while you’re there, you can come and hear me speak as well!

I think you’ll find him to be a captivating speaker, and I have no doubt you will get a great deal out of his books. I’m really looking forward to hearing Malcom Gladwell speak, and I hope to see you there.


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