I’m adding Peak to my list of books that are wonderful because they’ve challenged my view of who I am, how my mind works, and who we are collectively–books that make me think long after I’ve finished reading them.
The list so far:
- The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker, which taught me how much of what I am was determined at conception.
- The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt, which taught me about the role of my brain as a storyteller.
- The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley. Unlike the other books on this list, Optimist has clear political leanings, and those leanings are not consistent with my own. Still, the book has a fascinating premise and examples that challenged and influenced my thinking.
- And now Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. This book makes a powerful case that the role of talent and IQ is nearly irrelevant compared to the role of deliberate practice. He defines the conditions under which practice makes an impact and when it merely maintains our current skill levels.
A picture emerges. Much of who we are and what we think is handed to us, not chosen by us. Without focused, deliberate effort, we don’t control who we are, we merely tell the story of the personality generated at conception. It’s so important to critically examine our own assumptions and biases.
What books have changed your worldview?