Notes from 'PEAK: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise'

The core elements of deliberate practice include focus, feedback and fix, stepping out of the comfort zone, extensive training, and mentorship.


Anders Ericsson became famous for his work on what he called “deliberate practice”, a set of recipes that could help someone gain expertise in an area. In this readable and well-researched book, he expands upon this concept and brings several time-tested and scientifically reviewed ideas to bear on the search for perfection in our lives.


The core elements of deliberate practice include focus, feedback and fix, stepping out of the comfort zone, extensive training, and mentorship.

Here is a summary of some key points from the book:

  • Anyone can improve through focus and effective practice. If you are not improving, that’s because you are not practicing in the correct way.

  • 3F rules: Focus. Feedback. Fix it: i.e. You need to identify what’s the exact nature of the skill you want to learn, who’s mastering that, and what practice made it happen. Then break down that skill into small pieces, and design the ways suitable for your situation to enhance that. While continuing training, you need to monitor your performance(or have an experienced teacher do that for you), get feedback about your weakness, and then revise training to specifically address them.

  • Building mental representations are all about observing experts’ performance, spotting the difference between yours and theirs, and finding ways to minimize that difference. That’s not about what you know, but about how you are trying to do and modifying things.

  • At the beginning, IQ and talents can get you start quickly. However, in the long run, it’s the ones who practice more who prevails, not the ones who had some advantage in intelligence or some other talents.

  • In order to develop skill, you need to put in many hours of practice, typically hundreds or thousands of hours of practice over the course of many years. There are no shortcuts.

  • To be effective, the practice needs to be “deliberate”, which means working with a skilled coach, focusing on the development of fundamental skills in the early stages of learning, giving full attention and concentration during the practice, continually stretching beyond comfort zones (which means the practice isn’t fun, so a key challenge is maintaining motivation), setting short-term goals, evolving the practice based on monitoring of performance, and continually refining mental models to make them more sophisticated and extensive.


After reading this book, I have a new understanding of the “10,000 hour rule” and the idea of “natural talent”, I understand that an efficient way of practicing can greatly reduce the training time in certain areas, and all geniuses have also put in a lot of practices. I also realized that people’s skills deteriorate as they get older because they have reduced or stopped practicing.

I will keep learning as a lifelong learner and keep practicing deliberately to make life full of possibilities😁.