Seth Godin

We’ve confirmed that vocational skills can be taught (you’re not born knowing engineering or copywriting or even graphic design, therefore they must be something we can teach), while we let ourselves off the hook when it comes to decision making, eager participation, dancing with fear, speaking with authority, working in teams, seeing the truth, speaking the truth, inspiring others, doing more than we’re asked, caring … [ Read more ]

Nick Carr

There has been much discussion about the effects of rampant automation on the economy and on the labor market in particular. There has been much less attention paid to its effects on human talent and motivation. But what decades of human-factors research tell us is that when computers and other machines take challenging tasks away from us, we turn into observers rather than actors. Distanced … [ Read more ]

Dick Martin

When I was doing the hiring for AT&T’s PR department, I came to the conclusion that professional writing skills were a leading indicator of basic intelligence.

Stanley Bing

If there is one skill that makes you non-fungible in a business environment, it’s being able to write. There are literally thousands of people who can manipulate numbers, but in any organization there are literally three or four people who can actually write, who can convey complicated ideas.

Frank Herbert

Any one response to the universe, however powerful, becomes inappropriate with time and change. Those who become utterly dependent on one means of mastery will find themselves unable to cope with the future.

Steven Levitt, Stephen Dubner

Deliberate practice has three key components: setting specific goals; obtaining immediate feedback; and concentrating as much on technique as on outcome.

David Starr Jordan

Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it.

Thomas J. DeLong

The only way to do the right thing well is to do it poorly first.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.

Michael J. Mauboussin

If you want to become world-class as a violinist or a chess player, areas where little luck is involved, you need roughly 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. What’s crucial is that your results, as you improve, will be a reliable indicator of your skill. as a result, feedback in these domains can be clear and unequivocal. If you compete in a field where luck plays … [ Read more ]

Michael J. Mauboussin, David K. Hurst

Michael J. Mauboussin offers this rough-and-ready test for discerning the difference between skill and luck in any given event: Ask yourself if you can lose on purpose. If you can, skill is involved; if you can’t, it’s pure luck. For a more mathematical assessment, figure out the correlation between a supposed cause and its effect. If the correlation is high, the cause is likely related … [ Read more ]

Rory Vaden

The most important skill for the next generation of knowledge worker is not learning what to do but rather determining what not to do, and instead focusing on key objectives. It’s only as we embrace the incredible volume of noise in our work and our lives that we can silence it—or at least reduce it to a dull roar. Ignore the noise. Conquer the critical. … [ Read more ]

Bruce Pandolfini

When I do talk with students, my goal is to help them develop what I consider to be two of the most important forms of intelligence: the ability to read other people, and the ability to understand oneself. Those are the two kinds of intelligence that you need to succeed at chess — and in life.

Roderick Gilkey and Clint Kilts

For executives trying to make sense of a rapidly changing business environment, superiority in pattern recognition is perhaps the greatest competitive advantage that can be developed.

Paul Graham

Once someone is good at something, they tend to spend all their time doing that. This kind of focus is very valuable, actually. Much of the skill of experts is the ability to ignore false trails. But focus has drawbacks: you don’t learn from other fields, and when a new approach arrives, you may be the last to notice.

T.S. Eliot

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.

Steve Hardy

Nothing substitutes depth of analysis and there’s proven value in the methodical and incremental process of specialization – it’s what education, career paths, scientific research, and technological innovation are built on – but generalism is the hidden talent, the missing link. With so much complex information, that is fragmented in so many ways and developing faster and faster, it is increasingly important to have generalists … [ Read more ]

Larry Bird, former NBA Player, Coach

A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop (those talents) into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish goals.