The Truth about Learning

"It's not what we don't know that gives us trouble; it's what we know that just ain't so." -- Will Rogers

Recent discoveries show that Will Roger's famous dictum applies to the proces of learning -- much of what we think we know about how to learn and build skills is wrong. The good news is -- if you know the truth about learning -- you can learn faster, achieve higher and have more fun doing it...

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Would you like to know more about the Prodigy Method; the science behind it and how it translates into practical principles you can use in your own learning and development?  Here are a few articles from SJM+A to get you started.

How Much Better is Your Driving? - A brief introduction to the insights and ideas behind the Prodigy Method

Learn Faster, Achieve Higher, and Have More Fun Doing It.- An overview of the science that the Prodigy Method is built on and the practical learning principles that turn the science into actionable advice.

Should We Train Leaders This Way?  Rethinking Conventional Wisdom - Heresy or genius?  You decide.

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Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

Geoff Colvin translates the technical and academic work of Ericsson and others into an enjoyable read.   He focuses more on the 10,000 hours required to be world-class than the fact that the techniques accelerate learning at any level, so don't be put off if you don't aspire to be Jack Welch or Michael Jordon. 

The Making of an Expert

Harvard Business Review, July 2007 by K. Anders Ericsson, Michael J. Prietula, and Edward T. Cokely

An introduction to the work of K. Anders Ericsson and his colleagues.  This article lays out the basics of the new science of expertise and gives examples of how deliberate practice can be applied to leadership. 

Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better

Doug Lemov and his colleagues discovered the power of deliberate practice when they were sharing innovative techniques for classroom management with K-12 teachers.  Practice Perfect is the best source that I have found for practical suggesions on using deliberate practice in any context. 

Personal Best 

The New Yorker, Oct 3, 2011 by Atul Gawande

Atul Gawande is a surgeon who had the courage to defy norms and bring a coach into the operating room.  He knows that no matter how well trained people are, few can sustain their best performance on their own.

The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.

Daniel Coyle does a delightful job of sharing the brain science behind world-class performance.  While you may not need to know exactly what is going in your brain to use the Prodigy Method, I find that it helps to understand why things need to be done in a certain way.

The Experience Trap

Harvard Business Review, Feb 2008 by K. Sengupta, T.K. Abdel-Hamid, & L.N. Van Wassenhove

When you read this article in the context of the rest of what we know about learning, you will see the dangers of believing that experience will always make you better

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Carol Dweck shows us that whether you believe that your abilities are fixed and relatively immutable, or that they are open to nearly limitless improvement, you are right.  I have found that one of the most rewarding aspects of sharing the Prodigy Method is that it changes people's opinions of their own capacity for growth and achievement.  Dweck lays out the mechanisms and helps you to see how you can change your own mindset. 

The Grandmaster Experiment

Psychology Today, July 2005 by Carlin Flora

How one man's crazy notion of what it takes to be a genius turned out to be true. This is the story of Lazlo Polgar and his three daughters who stunned the world of chess.