i-can™ Book of the Month: Peak

We’re a bit late this month, but never fear!  Your i-can™ Book of the Month for November is here! So without further ado…

The Book
Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool’s Peak: Secrets from the new Science of Expertise

What it’s about
511.  The largest number of digits of pi memorized as of 1973.
10,000.  The largest number of digits of pi memorized a mere 5 years later.

Humans are constantly pushing the bounds of what is possible in fields ranging from sports to physics. Research is leading to new understandings of the relationship between practice, ability, and expert performance.  In Peak Ericsson presents the concept of deliberate practice and shows how this type of practice leads to expert performance in fields from laparoscopic surgery to blindfold chess to violin.

i-can™ Take-a-way

  1. If you want to be good at something, you have to engage in deliberate practice.  There are no shortcuts, and deliberate practice requires acute mental and (depending on the field) physical energy.
  2. “Natural talent” may give you a leg up to a certain extent, but it cannot replace practice.
  3. Belief matters. Expert performance requires the motivation to put in thousands of hours of difficult practice.  In order to consistently put in the effort, expert performers must believe their efforts will produce results. The people you surround yourself with can help.

Dive in if…

you are interested in the environment and process that leads to expert performance.  Whether you are interested in vastly improving a particular skill yourself or are looking to support someone else, this books gives you a solid framework to reference while developing a training plan.


you’re curious about the interplay between effort and ability.  The book is full of examples exploring this relationship.

Long story short, there may still be hope for you to develop that perfect pitch you’ve always wanted IF you’re willing to put in the right kind of practice!

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