Senior Rhetoric - The Magic Number

545 words, 3 pages

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For years, people have been wondering what the ‘magic number’ is (if there is one) to become a master at a certain skill, and it wasn’t until the last few years someone actually came up with that number. 10,000 hours of practice seems to the perfect number to become a master at a certain skill, or is it? Malcolm Gladwell seems to think that number is true, but others like David Epstein disagree with that theory.

According to Business Insider, in order to become a master at something, one must practice for 10,000 hours. “An extraordinarily consistent answer in an incredible number of fields… you need to have practiced, to have apprenticed, for 10,000 hours before you get good.” (Gladwell) Gladwell states that professionals like the Beetles or Bill Gates have reached mastery because they had training in their field of at least 10,000 hours. Gladwell also claims, “People aren’t born geniuses, they get there through effort.” Basically, everyone even if they aren’t born with genetic advantages, can be a master in which ever field of profession they prefer as long as they practice/train for 10,000 hours.

On the other hand, David Epstein thinks the opposite way. In his book The Sports Gene, he explains his version of the 10,000 hour rule. “I think you could probably master something in anywhere from 7,000 to 40,000 hours.” (23) Seven to forty thousand hours of practice is a huge margin to become a master in something. Epstein surprisingly has a different opinion towards genetics at birth also. He tells a story how Thomas defeated Rybakov in the 2007 Osaka, Japan World Championships. (Track and Field) “Rybakov called Thomas’s feat amazing, and noted that he himself had been practicing for an outdoor track-and-field world title for eighteen years and had yet to win one, compared with Thomas’s eight months.” (32) The reason Thomas was spectacular at track and field even though he had little practice was because he was born with genetics which made him a beast at the hi View More »

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