Help me find this book
March 21, 2011 10:37 AM   Subscribe

Bookfilter: I recently read about a book, here on metafilter, that was about learning potential. I did not favorite the post, and now I am trying to remember the title of the book:

I remember the premise of the book basically stated that when learning a new skill, people plateau when the get to a comfortable skill level. They no longer apply themselves by challenging the skill anymore. So your skill level stalls and you never really get better. This book was about how to get over this plateau. Ring any bells?
posted by ShootTheMoon to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: That concept was in the NYTimes article about/by Joshua Foer the guy who went to a memory competition as a reporter, then spent the next year training for it, and was able to then enter the competition that next year as a serious contender. He talks about that plateau and there are some book references in that article.
posted by CathyG at 12:33 PM on March 21, 2011

Response by poster: thanks, that was it
posted by ShootTheMoon at 1:22 PM on March 21, 2011

The book Mastery and an esquire article did a great job of showing that in the process of learning a new skill you plateau, have a sharp rise in improvement and then actually get worse before you start to plateau again. Unless you are a hacker and just futz along or a dabbler and you do something else instead of working on the harder process of mastery.
posted by mearls at 7:14 PM on March 21, 2011

So you've already got your answer - but if you're interested in more reading along those lines, I recommend Josh Waitzkin's The Art of Learning. "Searching for Bobby Fischer" was based on his early years as a chess champion. The book talks about his chess career and his subsequent mastery of Tai Chi. He has some interesting things to say about working up to and through the highest levels of skill. (To my surprise, though, according to Google Books, the word "plateau" doesn't appear in the book.)
posted by kristi at 8:44 AM on March 22, 2011

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