Certain clusters of nerds on the internet can find it very frustrating when successful people say a lot of incorrect stuff (“Just focus on your passion and be yourself!”) about how they found success in their field.
To be clear, I am such a nerd.
Cedric Chin has researched and written extensively about the academic literature on skill acquisition and expertise—and has made these concepts extremely practical for knowledge workers looking to improve their career skills at his Commonplace blog.
Through Cedric’s writing, we can build a better mental model of how experts build their mental models. This will help us develop skills in areas of complexity and uncertainty like managing people, building a business, or growing an audience.
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Learn more from Cedric here:
Selected Articles & Series:
- The Tacit Knowledge Series
- The Chinese Businessman Paradox
- A Framework for Putting Mental Models to Practice
- [01:55] A disagreement on tacit knowledge vs deliberate practice—and establishing some definitions
- [14:00] Why “purposeful practice” is useful to almost everyone—and why “deliberate practice” has a much more narrow application
- [22:10] The necessary conditions for expertise—and why most of the skills that people want in their lives aren’t easy to research
- [25:50] “Tacit knowledge” is knowledge that can’t easily be put into words. Experts aren’t very good at explaining what they’re doing, but naturalistic decision-making researchers are able to extract what’s actually going on.
- [32:27] How athletes make quick decisions—with examples from judo, racquet sports, and Cristiano Ronaldo
- [40:48] Experts are able to prioritize the most important things in complex environments and are able to easily recognize different “prototypes”—plus a practical management example
- [49:51] How should someone create an environment that helps people learn and recognize prototypes?
- [56:25] Having an accurate model of the world doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be more successful
- [01:06:10] Sometimes having an inaccurate model of the world is beneficial and makes people more successful in marketing and in sport
- [01:19:50] How to develop the skill of trial and error
- [01:25:00] How to learn more from Cedric
Links and Resources Mentioned
- “The Making of an Expert” by K. Anders Ericcson
- “Deliberate Practice and Proposed Limits on the Effects of Practice on the Acquisition of Expert Performance: Why the Original Definition Matters and Recommendations for Future Research” by K. Anders Ericcson and Kyle W. Harwell
- “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise” by K. Anders Ericcson
- Manager Tools
- Todd Nief’s Show: Sarah Sentes (Manager Tools) on managing in industries that resist management
- Naturalistic decision-making
- “The Two Settings of Kind and Wicked Learning Environments” by Robin Hogarth and Tomás Lejarraga
- “Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized world” by David Epstein
- “Superior self-paced memorization of digits in spite of a normal digit span: The structure of a memorist’s skill.” by Yi Hu and K. Anders Ericcson
- The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance
- “The relationship between expertise and visual search strategy in a racquet sport” by Bruce Abernethy and David G. Russell
- “Conditions for Intuitive Expertise: A Failure to Disagree” by Gary Klein and Daniel Kahneman
- Recognition primed decision
- “Developing cognitive task analysis and the importance of socio-cognitive competence/insight for professional practice” by Julie Gore and Adrian P. Banks
- “Friendly casualty outcomes: choice of counter Improvised Explosive Device tactics matters on the asymmetric battlefield” by Larry D Baca and Michael D Proctor
- Cristiano Ronaldo scores in complete darkness
- Jimmy Pedro
- “Sources of Power” by Gary Klein
- “The Power of Intuition: How to Use Your Gut Feelings to Make Better Decisions at Work” by Gary Klein
- “A New Model of Scheduling in Manufacturing: Tasks, Roles, and Monitoring” by Sarah Jackson and John R. Wilson
- Explicit and tacit rationality
- Expected utility hypothesis
- Bayesian inference
- Lean startup
- “Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction” by Philip Tetlock
- “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It” by Chris Voss
- “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman
- “Psychobiology of Fatigue During Endurance Exercise” by Samuele Marcora
- Predictive coding
- “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport