A quote about practice for math students

... There have been many studies of elite performers -- concert violinists, chess grand masters, professional ice-skaters, mathematicians, and so forth -- and the biggest difference researchers find between them and lesser performers is the amount of deliberate practice they've accumulated. Indeed, the most important talent may be the talent for practice itself. K. Anders Ericsson, a cognitive psychologist and an expert on performance, notes that the most important role that innate factors play may be in a person's willingness to engage in sustained training. He has found, for example, that top performers dislike practicing just as much as others do. (That's why, for example, athletes and musicians usually quit practicing when they retire.) But, more than others, they have the will to keep at it anyway.

(From "The Learning Curve" by Atul Gawande, an article on the training of surgeons appearing on pages 52-61 of The New Yorker, January 28, 2002.) The article is also included in Complications, A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science, an interesting collection of Gawande's essays.)

Maintained by greenfie@math.rutgers.edu and last modified 9/3/2006.