The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle

Rating: 7/10

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High-Level Thoughts

This one is a good reminder of the principles in Peak and Talent Code. It’s quick, should only take you an hour, and has some useful tips on improving your skills. If think that if you read this without either of those books complementing it, you’d miss out on a lot though.

Summary Notes

Stare at who you want to become. Create a “windshield” of images and videos that symbolize where you want to be in life, and remind yourself of it daily. Put it right in front of you where you’ll constantly be reminded of it. This is common in the talent hotbeds.

Spend 15 minutes a day “engraving” the skill on your brain by perfectly copying the work of an expert, whether that’s replaying a famous chess game or re-writing a famous book.

Steal concrete facts about how experts perform, watch them closely and see what you can make your own.

Simple, humble spaces help you focus. Too much luxury might make you think you already succeeded.

Skills are broken into hard and soft. Soft is things like storytelling, hard is things like grammar. If something can have a coach, then it’s likely a hard skill.

To build soft skills, always find new ways to challenge your abilities and push yourself. Keep experimenting.

Don’t neglect the foundational hard skills, they provide the base that you build everything else on.

The key to deep practice is to constantly reach just a little bit beyond your abilities. Keep struggling right at the edge.

Break up big things you want to learn into chunks to make them more approachable.

Practice on the days you eat.

Explain skills with images, not facts. It’s much easier to understand and implement a visual idea.

Practice in a smaller space to get in more reps and increase your focus. Write very short things to mix it up.

Super slow practice lets us put a magnifying glass on our errors and correct them. When you go faster, you might gloss over them.

Use the “3×10” technique. Practice it 3 times with 10 minute breaks between each practice.

End practice on a positive note, with a small sweet reward.

Create a scorecard, some way to measure the skill you want to develop and make sure you’re staying on track.

Inspiration is for ammateurs.

Teach the skill to learn it best.

Give it 8 weeks to start to feel like you’re making real progress on it.

When you hit a plateau in the skill, mix up something in how you’re practicing it in order to force yourself to improve.

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