Month: September 2013

Malcolm Gladwell’s Weak Defense of the “10,000 Hour Rule”

The “10,000 hour rule” – the idea that 10,000 hours of practice is the amount needed to excel in an activity, as described in Malcolm Gladwell’s 2008 book Outliers – has been getting more attention than usual recently. The attention is partly because of the release of Gladwell’s new book, David and Goliath, but it’s also because of the discussion of the rule in another new book –  The Sports Gene, by former Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein. In his investigation of what leads to outstanding athletic performance, Epstein points out some contradictions to Gladwell’s rule – for example, that athletes at the same level of competition can have very different amounts of practice time or playing experience, and that success in sports isn’t determined only by how much an athlete practices.

A few weeks ago, in this article in the New Yorker, Gladwell responded to Epstein and to other critics of the “10,000 hour rule”.  Since I’ve written a blog post about Gladwell’s misinterpretations of the research cited in Outliers in support of the rule, I was very interested in what Gladwell had to say. But it seems that the article is full of  (more…)

A Journey Through The Peer Review Process

A few months ago I wrote this post about the problem of hidden bias in the peer review process at academic journals. Anyone who read that post, or who wants to know more about the process of getting academic researched published in journals, should check out this very informative and enlightening post by political scientist Nate Jensen. It took nearly five years, and rejections by four journals, for his award-winning paper to get accepted for publication.

Among my own colleagues, the longest time it took anyone to get an article published (at least that I’m aware of) was four years – and that was from submission to acceptance at one journal. Success in academic work requires a lot of qualities, but clearly patience and persistence are among the most important.

(Thanks to The Monkey Cage blog, where I found the post that led me to Nate’s story.)

Why (Most) Business Books Suck

Whenever I go to a bookstore, I always take a look at the section with business books, and inevitably I walk away feeling discouraged or mad. I couldn’t really put my finger on why, until I read this article by political scientist Andrew Gelman and this response by his blogging colleague Henry Farrell. Gelman and Farrell have identified some of the things that really annoy me about popular-press business books, and I’m going to (more…)

A Note from Your Host: On blogging

Announcement of an excellent new blog from David Yamada, over at Minding the Workplace. Bravo, David!

Minding the Workplace

Hello dear readers, just a quick note sharing some thoughts and news of a new personal blog that I started:

Learning from the testimony of others

My last post, Why targets of workplace bullying need our help: A rallying cry from the heart, reprinted a comment left by a reader, recounting her attempts to recover from a horrific, sustained campaign of bullying and mobbing. Her eloquent words inspired a lot of thoughtful comments, and I’d invite you to read them.

This exchange reinforced for me the value of social networking and this particular form of online communication as a way of sharing experiences and ideas. I know that it was especially validating for others who have experienced this form of abuse.

A new personal blog: Musings of a Gen Joneser

For some time I’ve wanted to write more about “my” generation, that group born roughly between 1954 and 1965 and dubbed by…

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Sick Days “Abuse”: More Nonsense from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Generally I try not to write about any “news” coming out of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, because their anti-union and anti-public service bias is so obvious. I did break down a few weeks ago and write about their latest attempt to push public/private sector pay “equity” legislation. And while I really don’t want to dignify their Labour Day claims of rampant abuse of sick days in the public sector, the methodology behind their claims is so flawed that it has to be commented on. There also needs to be some response to (more…)