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.

Listen Here

Learn more from Cedric here:

Selected Articles & Series:

Show Notes:

  • [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