As the times accelerate and we face ever more kaleidoscopic careers, a crucial meta-skill is the ability to learn new skills extremely rapidly, extremely well. That practice has no better exemplar and proponent than Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid-Fat Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman. Not surprisingly, he has made himself adept at compelling presentations, this one prepared especially for the Long Now audience.
A self-described human guinea pig, Tim Ferriss has parlayed his self-experimentation into a pair of blockbuster self-help books. His first, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, shares the secrets to his success in outsourcing most of the work for his online nutritional-supplements company, BrainQuicken. The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman, chronicles his efforts to maximize his physical potential. Ferriss holds the world record for executing the most tango spins in a minute, a feat he performed on the TV show Live with Regis and Kelly. He is a guest lecturer at Princeton University and a faculty member at Singularity University.
Bestselling author Tim Ferriss scoffs at Malcolm Gladwell's theory that most people can master a skill in 10,000 hours, quipping, "For most people, they do things the wrong way." However, argues Ferriss, given enough practice, most people have the capacity to excel at a variety of skills.
I couldn't disagree with Andrew more, but i think our disagreement stems more from the Pinker/Gladwell argument where i take the position that "talent" is a myth propagated by our tendency to hero worship, and has no real effect on our development. either way if we were to be honest, there needs to be a basic standardized development to provide all members of our society a Base level of development. Ferriss isn't trying to speak to that.
Ferriss provides us a method for personal development. that's hugely different than educational development which must be done on mass. The way I understand DEconstruction, an important element is to take into consideration the subject. Customizing the rest of the project to that individual subject's properties.
The method is absolutely brilliant if the subject "wants" to develop in that area but you cannot compare that to educational systems.
by the way, Thank you Mr. Ferriss for the excellent lecture.
All of us have a unique developmental history, which leads to different long-range strengths and abilities - at least to some degree. Where we learn to do something that requires our particular developmental history, we may find ourselves saying "What I do best I do better than anyone", and maybe accurately so. Those areas are what we call 'talent'.
But schooling works by standardizing (and reducing, actually) people's development, and ensuring that no-one develops a substantially unique mind with unusual ability. Our development instead becomes about scoring points on tests, in the name of "acceleration", and which can likewise suppress a deeper level of development that would otherwise have occurred behind the scenes.
You can't accelerate development without making developmental compromises. You can only streamline it to a more narrow developmental objective. And we do this more than ever, with schooling, and the result is a strange lack of "distinct" talent in our world.
This is what happens when you let other people define (and control) what your development should be.