Damn! Eags (Timothy Egan) holds Malcolm Gladwell's theory of excellence (10,000 hours) up against the presumptive Dumbo presidential candidate (Der Blödmann) and finds the idiot vastly unprepared. This blogger is chagrined to admit that he has only posted 4,901 entries to this blog and at an hour per entry that is 5,100 entries short of the 10K-mark for excellence. O well, nevermind. If this is a (fair & balanced) consideration of competence, so be it.
[x NY Fishwrap]
The One-Minute Life
By Eags (Timothy Egan)
Tag Cloud of the following piece of writing
I’m sure a sizable number of people cheered the finding that 60 seconds of strenuous exercise may be just as beneficial as a sweaty 45 minutes. Who needs to run through the woods, cycle across the city or pound the hamster wheel at the gym when you can get the same results in less time than it takes to microwave a burrito?
The exercise expediency enthusiasts may be the same people who like Soylent, the meal replacement beverage for those who think eating actual food is a time-wasting nuisance. A substitute for sleep cannot be far behind.
Count me among the skeptics of shortcutting life’s essentials. We’ve shamed lunch to a sad, solo fuel-slop at the desk. Religion is an app. The One Minute Manager (1982) book (a very slim volume) is a business bible to millions.
And now we have a presidential candidate who boasts of his own brilliance on three hours of sleep a night and no political experience. That may be why Donald Trump sounds like Drunk Uncle, the “Saturday Night Live” character, when his audio is slowed down by 50 percent — or even when played in real time.
The ascendancy of Trump is part of a great debate on the best route to achievement, pitting talented know-nothings against less-flashy long-sloggers. Malcolm Gladwell refined much of this conversation with his book Outliers (2008), popularizing the idea that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice are needed before you can become really good at some things. Achievement “is talent plus preparation,” Gladwell wrote.
By example, Gladwell cited Mozart, who started violin lessons at the age of 4; Bill Gates, who obsessed over primitive computer programing long before his voice dropped an octave; and the Beatles, who banged out nightly eight-hour shows in dingy Hamburg clubs in the time before “Love Me Do” climbed the charts.
“In cognitively demanding fields, there are no naturals,” Gladwell wrote after critics took issue with his premise. “Nobody walks into an operating room, straight out of a surgical rotation, and does world-class surgery.”
Yet here is Trump, good at reality television and developing buildings, and now cocksure he can walk into the Situation Room and run the free world. The question is whether politics, like chess, is something in which there are no instant masters. Trump is a failure in many areas, from running a casino and a fake university to peddling his own line of steaks. He did destroy the experienced politicians in the Republican primary field, though none of them, I would argue, were very good at what they did. Hillary Clinton, at least, has put in the 10,000 hours. Gladwell’s rule will get a good test in the fall.
For those who have not yet figured out that even Minute Rice takes five times as long, Trump will be alluring. He’s the political equivalent of the dietary supplement that was removed from shelves last year after the authorities found that it contained an ingredient used in laxatives and associated with health risks — sold by a company called (what else) the One Minute Miracle. With Trump, a few pills of anger bromide will be enough to Make America Great Again.
Beyond politics, it’s in food culture where you see some of the most disconcerting trends in the age of the Instant Me. Soylent, mentioned earlier, has a niche following among millennials who can’t be bothered to eat. The company also promotes the product — now in both powder and liquid form! — with a picnic showing happy 20-somethings imbibing their bottles of yucky goo on the grass, all smiles in the sunshine. Is there a worse picnic in the world?
When Josh Helton, a young writer who lives outside Nashville, tried to live for 30 days on nothing but Soylent — “an attempt to become the most productive person on the planet” — it produced an obvious epiphany. He was disgusted with the taste and what it did to his, um, flatulence, but impressed by how efficient he became. At month’s end, after ending his trial with a huge breakfast at Waffle House, Helton said, “This experiment has revealed a great truth about food — it creates a beautiful slowdown to life.”
So it goes with exercise. Or mastering a guitar. And while it’s good that time-stressed Americans can get some health benefit from a sprint at the margins of a day, they lose out on the more time-consuming experience, and end up filling what could be a needed hiatus from stress with additional have-to-dos.
Let’s cheer the Take Back Your Lunch movement, make it mandatory among the Soylent-sippers in the Silicon Valley. And let’s apply the title of the mountaineer Ed Viesturs’s book to this presidential campaign. He is the first American to climb the world’s 14 highest peaks without the use of supplemental oxygen. The mountains humbled him, and sometimes he turned back, or held off. His book is called No Shortcuts to the Top (2006). Ω
[Timothy Egan writes "Outposts," a column at the NY Fishwrap online. Egan — winner of both a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 as a member of a team of reporters who wrote the series "How Race Is Lived in America" and a National Book Award (The Worst Hard Time in 2006) — graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by Whitman College in 2000 for his environmental writings. Egan's most recent book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009).]
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