Secrets from the New Science of Expertise
What makes an expert? To Anders Ericsson—the world’s foremost authority on expertise—it’s less about in-born ability than about deliberate, purposeful practice. Over decades of original research, Ericsson has transformed our approach to what achievement means—and can show you how to master anything, in any field, starting today.
The world’s reigning expert on peak performance, Anders Ericsson is Conradi Eminent Scholar and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University. His most recent book is Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise (co-authored with Robert Pool)—a counterintuitive guide to mastery and excellence at work, school, and beyond that condenses three decades of original research into a powerful approach to learning new skills. His research was instrumental to the “10,000 hours of effort” rule of mastery—a measurement made famous, if oversimplified, by Malcolm Gladwell.
“The science of excellence can be divided into two eras: before Ericsson and after Ericsson. His groundbreaking work, captured in this brilliantly useful book, provides us with a blueprint for achieving the most important and life-changing work possible: to become a little bit better each day.”— Dan Coyle, author of The Talent Code
Ericsson studies the measurement of expert performance in domains such as music, chess, nursing, law enforcement, and sports, and how expert performers attain their superior performance by acquiring complex cognitive mechanisms and physiological adaptations through extended deliberate practice. He has also edited several books on expertise, such as the influential Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance consisted of over 40 chapters and 900 pages, and the recent Development of Professional Expertise. His research has been featured in cover stories in Scientific American, Time, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. He has been invited to give keynote presentations at conferences of surgeons, musicians, teachers, clinical psychologists, athletes, and coaches as well as professional sports organizations, such as Philadelphia Eagles, San Antonio Spurs, and Manchester City.
“I can’t think of a better book for a popular audience written on any topic in psychology.”— Daniel Willigham, author of Why Don’t Students Like School
After his Ph.D. in Sweden, Ericsson collaborated with the Nobel Prize winner in Economics Herbert A. Simon on verbal reports of thinking, leading to their classic book Protocol Analysis: Verbal Reports as Data. Ericsson has published articles in prestigious journals, such as Science, Academic Medicine, Psychological Review, Psychological Bulletin, Academic Emergency Medicine, Current Biology, and Trends of Cognitive Science. He is a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences.
The new science of expertise shows that individuals with superior performance were also once beginners themselves, with only modest abilities. This includes prodigies—exemplars of sport, music, chess, literature, mathematics, and beyond. According to Anders Ericsson’s years of research, these individuals improved over time with purposeful and deliberate practice—and this kind of practice can change virtually any aspect of performance.
In this keynote, psychologist Anders Ericsson leads audiences through a tour of peak performance, explaining how his original insights can be applied by anyone looking to improve performance in the arts, sciences, and other professions. He also describes why people reach plateaus in their performance, and how these pauses can be overcome with the appropriate practice.
It’s often assumed that individuals with superior performance rely primarily on intuition, attained through extended time in any given profession. New research shows that once most people attain an acceptable level of ability, their performance becomes effortless at the same level. In other words, it plateaus. In contrast, expert performers—the very best among us in all fields—follow a different path, where, with the help of teachers, they continuously identify aspects of their performance that can be improved with known and repeatable training techniques. In this presentation, Anders Ericsson will describe how these methods have improved performance in many domains of expertise, art, science, and other professional fields.