Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool

Review published on September 12, 2017.

I truly believed, at first glance, that this was a book about Mervyn Peake, the author, but I was wrong. The actual complete title is Peak: How All of Us Can Achieve Extraordinary Things, written by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. This book was first published in America back in 2016, and then subsequent versions have been for sale elsewhere. I have read most of it, some I simply skipped, or skimmed, but ultimately, it is one very dull book in the ‘Self Help’ genre. I have previously gone through a few of these books over the years, and I have to say, if people are so dense as to need these books, then heaven help us.

The basic premise is that anyone can conquer and excel at anything they put their mind to, if they practice enough. A superb deduction if ever there was one. Professor Anders Ericsson is apparently the world’s reigning expert on expertise. According to the flyleaf, he advocates at least 10,000 hours practice to become competent at anything.

From my own personal experience, I have found a lot of American folk tend to analyse the analysis to the ‘Nth’ degree, so as to pass judgement to their own satisfaction. One only has to listen to celebrity actors pontificating about their roles, and how deeply they do their research, etc etc… to better understand their national requirement, is to be led by these so-called experts, simply in order to ‘find themselves’.

A particular chapter entitled ‘The Anti-Prodigies’, has as it’s opening sentence “I could keep going with more analyses of prodigies and savants, but it would just be more of the same”. That is about where I began to switch off. It is simply obvious to a blind man that practice, in whatever field is chosen, leads down the perceived path to success, for the lucky. I do not need a book to tell me that. Maybe some do, but from my awareness of the human race, this is an unneeded complication that you would be better off without.

Reg Seward 1/1

Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
Vintage 9780099598473 pbk Apr 2017

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