English 12 Honors: Outliers Weekend Activity I — Question #2

Respond to one of the three discussion questions from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success in the Leave a Comment Section to the left of the question. Your response must be well written, well edited, and demonstrate critical reading of the text, including some textual support (page number or quote) to receive full credit. Your response should be a short paragraph, and you need to include your full name. Worth 20 points. Due by noon on Saturday, August 2.

You will then respond briefly to one of your classmates’ posts by noon of Sunday, August 3. This is a brief response. Worth 10 points.

Discussion Question #2 (Chapter 2):

Consider the following: “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” Explain how this philosophy was at work for either Bill Joy, The Beatles, or Bill Gates. Then, give one example from your own life or experience.


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About James E. Lang

I'm a high school journalism and English teacher at Floyd Central High School in Southern Indiana. My interests include reading, writing, literacy, politics, the media, issues of faith, and IU basketball...basically, I'll blog about anything and everything. I'm an independent thinker. I respect all viewpoints and opinions and value reasonable discourse and learning about others. I have been a proud public school educator all of my life. The purpose of my blog is to support scholastic journalism, promote literacy and civic engagement, and explore the social, political, and policy issues impacting education.

56 responses to “English 12 Honors: Outliers Weekend Activity I — Question #2”

  1. Macy Plaiss says :

    Macy: The Beatles got invited to play at a club in Hamburg, Germany in 1960. Between 1960 and 1962, they went to Hamburg five times and during each trip played roughly 100 nights of five hours or more. By the time of their big break in 1964, they had preformed around twelve hundred times. The man who had invited them to Hamburg stated, “They were no good onstage when they went there and they were very good when they came back” (Gladwell, pg 50). Practice makes someone good; without practice no improvements would be made and the person would remain an amateur. Without their extreme amount of practice, The Beatles may have never became good at preforming and probably would not be the band we all know today.
    I have experienced this amount of practice from my Tae-Kwon-Do training. Since I was seven years old, I have trained in the Dojo four days a week, three hours each practice. After ten years, I have totaled roughly 6,240 hours of practice to become good at what I love.

    • Danielle Cato says :

      I really liked the way you linked your personal experience to the philosophy of “practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good”. Soon you will be at mastery level also.

    • Tyler McGeorge says :

      This illustrated the course of their success very well, nice work stating that they were not too great at first but when they returned they were at the top! It really shows that “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”.

    • Olivia Hudson says :

      Olivia Hudson: I agree with Macy’s statement. The reason why the Beatles became successful was their extreme numbers of hours the Beatles spent practicing to enhance their talent. The Beatles were not the best before they had spent multiple long hours a night playing, they became much better after they had totaled hundreds of hours playing. Everyone knows the saying “practice makes perfect”, which is very true. To be the best at something a person must practice because no one is born to simply be the best, they must perfect their talent through practice.

    • Rachel Villar says :

      I agree with Macy one hundred percent. Lots of practice can make perfect!

  2. Sydney Sears says :

    The philosophy “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good,” worked for Bill Joy because he was not just born an expert on computers and programming. Joy had some opportunities that lead him to be interested in computers, but that did not mean he was automatically a genius on them. He put in at least 10,000 hours worth of practicing with computers to train himself to be an expert. Joy said, “How much time did I spend there? Oh, a phenomenal amount of time. It was open twenty-four hours. I would stay there all night, and just walk home in the morning. In an average week in those year, I was spending more time in the Computer Center than on my classes.” Practice is what made Bill Joy good.

    Sydney Sears

    • Sydney Sears says :

      I have been dancing since I was four and I know I would not have improved if I had not practiced. Especially after joining a competitive team rather than recreational, I noticed how much more we improved and that was all based on the amount of time that we had practiced.

      • Mary Hayes says :

        I agree with Sydney entirely. I was a full blown competitive dancer for 13 years. I was at the dance studio for 4 hours a day 5 days a week as an eight year old. I put my entire self into dance at the age of 5 and practiced for so long. I was a national overall winner at the age of 6 and kept receiving national rankings every year until I “retired” from competing to teach dance in 2013. With out all of those hours, and essentially my entire childhood, I would not have received those awards nor been the person I am today.

    • Emily Exline says :

      I agree. People are not born with the knowledge of computers, without the countless hours Joy spent in the labs programming, he would not have the success he had and continues to have.

    • Maria Wimsatt says :

      I agree with Sydney’s statement. Bill Joy had to work for the talent that he had, he wasn’t just born with it. He had to spend so many hours in the lab perfecting his knowledge of computers before he could become successful.

  3. Tyler McGeorge says :

    Gladwell uses the Beatles to demonstrate the power of practice. They had it rough playing eight hours a day seven nights a week, in Hamburg. It was this unique opportunity that really got them started. Playing so long, almost non stop, prepared them for the future when they would do other difficult gigs. This continuous practice brings us to the ten-thousand hour rule. The Beatles were not “good” right off the bat, it was this immense amount of practice and dedication that developed their career. Luck was also tied into their success; but they did put in the effort necessary. I have played soccer almost my whole life and I do see the importance of practice. Starting at such a young age didn’t allow for to much natural talent in the sport, so it was really a matter of who continued to play. Time progresses and as it does our talent along with it. My friends and I have moved up in the ranks of soccer now playing for an academy club team, in which only the dedicated players make it into. Practice defines our ability to succeed.

    • Alexis Applegate says :

      I totally agree with this view on the philosophy of “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” The Beatles did have a special opportunity that helped them jumpstart their career. Though they were given this opportunity they still put in the dedication and time that was needed for them to succeed.

    • Hasaan ladha says :

      I also have played soccer for nearly my entire life and see the importance of practice however I disagree with your opinion on talent. My personal belief is that there was a fairly large group of young soccer players that showed promise when playing recreational soccer and it was from this grip of players the the competitive pools drew from. Whether or not these players were born near the cut-off date is a mystery to me but judging by the information given in Gladwell’s “Outliers” I believe that they most likely were.

    • John Strobel says :

      I agree with Tyler and Malcolm Gladwell about the 10,000 hour rule. It makes sense that a person with 10,000 hours can become a master at something. Bill Gates and Bill Joy had 10,000 hours of practice but The Beatles had 10,000 hours of performing which made them widely famous and for many more generations to come.

  4. TJ Flick says :

    The philosophy of “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” worked for Bill Gates. This worked for Bill Gates because he started very young computer programming, and by the time he could go into the field of computer programming he had mastered the system since he had put in the time o practice to make him good. One example of this philosophy in my life is when I shoot archery because to become good you have to practice, and it would be impossible to shoot good if you thought you did not practice. T.J Flick

    • Noble Guyon says :

      We also must recognize the fact that in the field of computer programming the opportunity that Gate’s was given was extremely unusual. The practice was a huge part of gate’s success along with his age but one of the most important aspects in not his practice but rather the series of opportunities presented to him throughout the course of his teenage years and during college. If not for the opportunities given to him, Bill gates may have not had the chance to achieve the 10,000 hours.
      – Noble Guyon

  5. Taylor Tuxworth says :

    The Beatles, Bill Gates, and Bill Joy earned great opportunities to improve on things they were passionate about. The Beatles played in Hamburg which allowed them to get a lot of practice under their belt. Hamburg was so special because “it was the sheer amount of time the band was forced to play” page 49. The Beatles had a lot of practice time with their lucky opportunity to play in Hamburg. John Lennon says they got better and more confidence. We couldn’t help with all the experience playing all night long.” I am a cheerleader and all cheerleaders know of the gym Cheer Athletics. All “All Stars” teams can qualify for a competition called Worlds. Many of the Cheer Athletics teams are World Champions because of the many hours of practice they put in a week to perfect their routine.

    • kileyatchley says :

      I am also a cheerleader and agree with Taylor when she says that the cheerleaders of Cheer Athletics are so good and win worlds because they practice all the time. Like the beetles the cheerleaders of Cheer Athletics go to many competitions where their confidence grows. When I read Taylors response all I could think about was the saying “practice makes perfect.”

    • Ashley Bentley says :

      I like how you related the quote to a personal experience. By putting forth the effort in cheer you were able to make your routine perfect. You did exactly what the quote said.

  6. Morgan Schultz says :

    Morgan Schultz
    Bill Joy was given an extraordinary opportunity at University of Michigan to use a time share system instead of a punch card system (pg.46). He could spend hours at a time working with the time share system which could run multiple programs at a one time, rather than working with a system which could only run one program at a time. This allowed him to achieve much more time increasing his skill set rather than continually fixing errors on the punch card system. “Bill Joy was brilliant. He wanted to learn. That was a big part of it. But before he could become an expert, someone had to give him the opportunity.” He was given even more opportunity by a glitch in the time share system where instead of being limited to an hour on the computer he could spend as much time as he wanted just by typing t=k. He would stay up till two or three in the morning on the computers, learning about programming. Bill Joy became the best and is considered “The Edison of the internet” He wrote some of the software used to access the internet today. Without that where would we be? All because of a college and a glitch, he was given the opportunity to pursue programming, find his passion, and spend as long as he wanted to perfecting the skill. In my life, practice in the musical arts with piano, has made me better as the years go on. The hours I have practiced have really made the difference and I can tell when I don’t practice as much, my skill doesn’t increase and in fact, sometimes regresses.

  7. Emily Exline says :

    Emily Exline
    In the case of the Beatles, they came to the United States already as a band. But they still were not very good. The Beatles were invited to play in Hamburg, Germany at strip clubs. They spent countless hours there playing and gaining experience and confidence. The gig did not play well and the audience was not the best, but they gained many hours of playing time which made them better. In an interview, John Lennon supports this by saying, “We got better and got more confidence. We couldn’t help it with all the experience playing all night long,” (page 49). They were not good before all of those nights, but with all the practice, about 10,000 hours, they became masters of their field. I play the saxophone, and when I started, I was not very good. But I got help and practiced, and now I am better. I did not practice because I was good, but because I wanted to get better, and I continue practicing to get better and better.

    • Amber King says :

      I agree with you. The Beatles are a good example of practicing before you become good. I really like your quote that you used. It explains really well that you need to practice before becoming great.

      Amber King

    • Carson Jenkins (Period 3) says :

      I agree with you. I have also learned that you do not need to be a natural to master a skill set and that hard work pays off in the long run.

  8. Rachel Villar says :

    The Beatles never could have gotten where they are now without practice. They became good artists with some practice, but they strived to become even better by putting in even more hours than the general band. Malcolm talks about how most studies say there isn’t a thing called a “prodigy”, but there are folks of whom have made it big by the thousands of hours they put into their careers. I personally put in at least four hours every weekday, and 5 hours on weekend days just doodling. Most of my doodles weren’t that great at first, but with all the time I’ve put in since third grade my doodles have achieved awards and recognition all over the state of Indiana. I am not going to stop there! I plan to keep finding new mediums, and keep enhancing my world as I see it. Rachel V. p-3

  9. Allison McKay says :

    Allison McKay
    Bill Gates had a huge advantage placed in front of him. He was welcomed into the computer world when he was in the eighth grade. He had the next four years of his life to decide if this path was what he truly wanted during high school. He would sneak out of his house between three and six in the morning to program. He was hooked and received a job working with the software to automate company payrolls. So not only was he practicing computer software in his free time, but also as a job. He spent every minute he could practicing with computers. In the span of seven months “Gates and his cohorts ran up 1,575 hours of computer time on the ISI mainframe, which averages out to eight hours a day, seven days a week.” (pg.52) By the time Gates got with Allen to set up Microsoft, he was well over the 10,000 hour mark. In my experience I had a hard time staying in step with the other people in marching band my freshmen year. To practice I had an older member march next to me and call out left, right, and direction changes. To have more practice I would walk in step with people in the hall during the school hours. I wanted people to be able to depend on me and wanted to enjoy every part of marching band.

    • Olivia Bays says :

      This is a good connection to your life. It is hard to compare yourself to someone as rich and successful as Bill Gates, but his story is actually quite relatable. He was not born with superhuman qualities that predisposed him to such outrageous success; he had opportunities, motivation, and passion. Practice and hard work put him where he is today. Any one of us could be just like him.

    • Karyn Bierman says :

      I agree with the idea that it was not only the opportunity that led him to success but also the seizing of the opportunity he was given. The quote you used illustrates well all the hard work he put in to be successful. Also, good connection to your life.
      Katyn Bierman Period 1

  10. Grant Anderson says :

    Grant Anderson
    The philosophy that practice makes you good applies to The Beatles due to the fact that they had a lot of practice and got very good. Gladwell explains that in order to become an expert in something a person needs 10000 hours of practice (Gladwell, 42). The Beatles achieved their 10000 hours of practice because of their performances in Hamburg, Germany. The Beatles did not start out playing great music but through practice they became experts.
    I am an athlete and I didn’t start out very good but by practicing many years and by putting in countless hours I have become a good athlete.

    • Brandon Kern says :

      I agree with your comment. I wrote about The Beatles in my comment as well. I have found the same result as you in regards to sports. I thought that you summed up the 10,000 hours rule, this was a very good comment.

  11. Amber King says :

    Bill Joy is a perfect example of the quote “practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” Bill Joy was not always a good computer programmer. He became a good programmer because he practiced. He started out by asking a lot of questions and wanting to learn. He liked to learn. Joy became a great computer programmer because he practiced at the University of Michigan. He would stay up all night at the Computer Center because it was open twenty-four hours (Chapter 2). Bill Joy practiced a lot. That is how he became a great computer programmer. He did not start out great. He practiced until he became great.

    I can relate to Bill Joy and the quote. When I started playing in band in the sixth grade I was not a great musician. I had to practice. I still to this day practice. I practice to become a better musician. I joined marching band to become a better musician. That is another way I can relate to Bill Joy. We both took up the opportunities we had in front of us and used them to practice. He used the Computer Center and I joined marching band. The opportunities we took helped us better ourselves. They gave us more chances to practice. He had to practice before he became a great computer programmer and I had to practice before I became a good musician.

    Amber King

  12. Danielle Cato says :

    Danielle Cato
    Period 1
    For the Beatles, practice was everything. Their opportunity to perform in Hamburg, Germany seven nights a week, for eight hours, allowed them to achieve their 10,000 hours of practice. It is said that to achieve the level of mastery, 10,000 hours are required (p. 40). When they were just starting out, the Beatles weren’t very good. The more practice they got in at the club in Hamburg helped make them the legends they are today.

    My sister started dancing. She had no experience with dancing whatsoever. All of the practice and hard work she has put into being a dancer has made her better and better. She continues to get hours of practice in whenever she can. I don’t think she will hit 10,000 hours anytime soon, but when she does I know she will continue on past 10,000.

  13. Sylvia Donovan says :

    Sylvia Donovan: This philosophy was at work for The Beatles becasue they had lots of practice in Hamburg.”We had to play for eight hours, so we really had to find a new way of playing”(49). This was before they became really good. So all that practice, over 10,000 hours, made them good or better than they initally were. Bill Joy was not born an expert computer programmer “He had never done anything with computers in highschool”(45). When he attended the University of Michigan they had time-sharing computers and Bill Joy spent tons of time on them. “How much time did I spend there? Oh, a phenomenal amount of time. It was open twenty four hours. I would stay there all night and just walk home in the morning”(45). Bill Joy also spent more than 10,000 hours practicing which made him good. He didn’t start practicing once he was good he didn’t even work with computers in highschool but all his practice in college made him great. Bill Gates was given the oppurtunity to start practicing at a very young age. “Bill Gates got to do real-time programming as an eigth grader in 1968″(51). This oppurtunity was essential to his practice time to make him as good as he became. As a seventh or eigth graders Bill Gates was not an amazing programmer but given the practice time needed and starting at such a young age set him off to be amazing at it. When I was little I couldn’t swim. I took swim lessons and practiced with my parents untill I could swim by myself. I didn’t start practicing because I was a good swimmer I starting practicing to become a good swimmer.

  14. Noble Guyon says :

    When looking at the examples of Bill Gates, Bill joy, and The Beatles we must take an important point into consideration: all of these people were already exceptionally talented in his or her field. What they lacked was experience. When all of these people were presented the opportunity to work towards the 10,000 hour- rule, they seized it. Whether it be Hamburg for the Beatles, Bill Gates sneaking into the University of Washington to use their computer terminal in the middle of the night or Bill Joy happening to attend a school with a time sharing computer system. The thousands of hours of practice these men had accumulated over their years of practice had prepared them to be extraordinarily successful when these men were again presented incredible opportunities to succeed. Gladwell sums up his point well on page 55, “But what truly distinguishes their histories is not their extraordinary talent but their extraordinary opportunities.” These men recognized that practice is what makes you great at something. They were presented the opportunities to achieve greatness, but more importantly they recognized and seized them.

    I’ve been practicing photography for around 4 years now. I don’t recall exactly what drew me into it. Perhaps it is because both my father and grandfather were exceptionally good photographers. I’ve been presented opportunities to practice and refine my skills in photography that most people dabbling in the field could only dream of. I recognize this everyday, every time I take a picture. Most people aren’t presented with the equipment that I have access to or the resource of someone like my father to help improve my skills. Practicing this skill has made me better, creating image after image. I’m building that fabled “10,000 hours”,but instead of the 10,000 hour-rule I prefer to go with another one “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

    -Noble Guyon

  15. Brandon Kern says :

    Brandon Kern – In outliers we read about several people and groups that use this idea of 10,000 of practice. This is the number of hours that it takes to master a skill. For The Beatles this was pretty easy. They went to Hamburg and played at a strip club. They went to Hamburg five times. “All told, they played for 270 nights in just over a year in and a half.” (page 50). This is how The Beatles obtained their 10,000 hours of practice. On page 50, gladwell says ” They (The Beatles) were no good onstage when they went there and they were very good when they came back.” Having more practice than most other bands is what lead The Beatles to be one of the best bands in the world. In my own experiences I can see that the closer one gets to the 10,000 hours of practice, they better they become. When I played basketball as a freshman in High School I could see that the kids who put in the most time were the starters. The more I would practice the better I would get, but I was no where near 10,000 hours of practice.

    • Kolby Vaughn says :

      This is a good connection to your life. The Beatles became so good because they had to be, it would be nearly impossible to play that much and not be good. They had to learn new music to impress and perform for the large crowds in the club. You should have continued practicing basketball, once you hit your 10,000 hours you would have been better than Kobe or Jordan.

  16. Meg Taylor says :

    The Beatles are a staple in music history. However, like most bands, they had humble beginnings. In “The Outliers,” Gladwell describes them as “a struggling high school band” (48). It was the philosophy that “practice makes you good” that the Beatles became so successful. They landed a gig where they were playing music for eight hours a day, seven days a week. It was this type of grueling practice that in turn led to the success of The Beatles. For me as an athlete, I know that the only way to get better is to practice. I have to practice to reach my goals and that practice is what will make me good at the sport in the long run.
    Meg Taylor

    • Taylor Tuxworth says :

      I also commented about The Beatles. The quote “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” makes me think of how much the Beatles enjoyed performing and it wasn’t a chore to them. I think, that is also what makes them successful; they enjoyed performing.

      Taylor Tuxworth

    • Madison Hayes says :

      This applies to the quote, “Practice isn’t the thing that you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” The Beatles could have easily given up when they noticed the people didn’t like their music and didn’t enjoy it the way they did. Instead of giving up, they had to practice to get better as the quote states. Their hard work and dedication made them a hit and they are known and remembered around the world. I think the lesson we can take away from this as teenagers is that even if our goals for the future seem unrealistic, never give up and keep trying as the Beatles did.

      Madison Hayes

  17. Stefan Linden says :

    The philosophy about practice being what makes you good at something rather than something you do once you are good applied heavily in the life of Bill Gates. When Gates reached high school, technology had been advancing rapidly to the point of where computers and programming were rather new. During this time few people had the chance to use a computer for an extended period of time. Gates had little to no knowledge of programming considering it was new to society at the time and so there was no possible way to just practice because he was good at it, he practiced in order to learn and become better at it. He spent much time practicing and in “one seven-month period in 1971, Gates and his cohorts ran up to 1,575 hours of computer time”. This shows that in order to become good at something, practice is needed, otherwise practicing would be just a chore. An example of practicing in my life is with chess. After school I practice chess in a club (yes, it’s nerdy) for a few hours three times a week in order to become better at it. I didn’t start off very good at all, but after more and more time spent on playing and learning, I gradually increased in skill. When the chess club last attended a competition I was playing the role of first board on my team.
    -Stefan Linden

  18. Carson Jenkins (Period 3) says :

    The philosophy, “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good” was at work for The Beatles. Gladwell notes, “… researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number of true expertise: ten thousand hours.” (Gladwell, 40) This explains the tremendous success of the Beatles. In 1960 they were invited to play in a Hamburg strip club for eight hours a night. The Beatles continued to play this gig because they received a lot of alcohol and a lot of sex. By 1962 they had performed live an estimated twelve hundred times. By this time they had practiced well over ten thousand hours and would soon become the greatest rock band in the world. In my own experience I have learned that being a good hitter in baseball is solely because of the work that one puts in during their free time. As I grow older I become more aware of the fact that success is earned and without practice it is nearly impossible to become successful in life.

  19. Alexis Applegate says :

    All my life I have heard the saying “practice makes perfect”, and I think that is the mind set that Bill Gates had when he put his whole life into programming. Bill Gates did not start off being a genius at programming; he gave up other things in his life like his social life to be able to program all the time. “It was my obsession, ” Gates says of his early high school years. “I skipped athletics. I went up there at night; we were programming on weekends.” Bill took every opportunity that was offered to him to be able to program and become amazing at it. He surpassed almost all other teenagers in the world with the amount of experience he had. My joy in life is not programming like Bill Gate,s but it is the sport of tennis. I have played since I was six years old, and I can’t tell you the number of hours I have put in at the courts. I tell myself that the only way that I am going to improve is by putting in the hours and dedication. I’m not as dedicated as Bill Gates was when it came to programming. I don’t think I could be able to skip sleeping at night!

    Alexis Applegate

  20. Jesse Moberly says :

    “Practice isn’t the thing once you’re good, it’s what the thing you do to make you good.” This quote speaks the truth. Malcolm gave several examples to strengthen this point. The Beatles probably weren’t the best when they first started. They went to Hamburg and they practiced for hours. The practice is what made them better. An example from my life is my jiu jitsu training when I first started I wasn’t good, but three years later I have improved exponentially.
    Jesse Moberly

  21. Madison Hayes says :

    Madison Hayes
    The introduction to the book ‘Outliers’, by Malcolm Gladwell, tells a story in that occurred in a town called Roseto. The people in this town called Roseto, Pennsylvania, originally came from Italy in the 19th century. The residents in this town make an effort to live a version of their Italian homeland. From the start these residents were outliers. The definition of outlier is “something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body.” They were classified differently because of their health. Heart attacks were an epidemic and the local doctor, many men were dying younger and younger. With that being said, the local physician Wolf decided to investigate. Further into this investigation he noticed all the residents in Roseto were healthy, barely exercised, no suicide, crime, etc. The overarching idea of this is that the residents were healthy because of the life’s they live. They were happy and respectful. The Rosetans visited one another, when they passed by people on the streets they took time from their day to stop and chat, and ate meals together. They saw how many generations were all living together and how much respect they all showed each other.
    Malcom says in Chapter 2, “the 10,000 hour rule is a definite key in success.” Malcom believes it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a task. The book looks at how success was achieved for some of the richest people in history. Bill Gates, The Beatles, and Bill Gates were all on this list. Bill Gates was a college drop out to practice more on his future Microsoft program. Thousands of hours of practice was done by Bill Gates and his partner. On page 65, Gladwell even says that by his late teens Gates had “way past ten thousand hours.” They had programing practice as well. Bill went as far as sneaking out at night to go practice on computer. The Beatles were not a major hit from the start. Before their success came hours of practice. When the group first started they were underpaid and the audience did not like their music. They use this as motivate to become better and started to practice all the time. After this, the audience loved them and demanded more. By 1964, they played over 1,200 concerts. Bill Joy got 10,000 hours at a time-share terminal at the University of Michigan. He acquired skills and knowledge not many people knew. He then went on to create BSD Unix , the vi editor, the c shell, and co-founded Sun Microsystems. Bill Gates and Bill Joy both sparked a love and passion for computers at a very young age. All of the success from these three talented people can be related to the quote, “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” They got their success by sacrifice their time to practice before they got their fame and fortune.

  22. Natalie Allen says :

    It is evident that the Beatles are one of the most famous and successful rock bands of all time. They spent hours upon hours mastering their voices and instruments. As we all know from the book, they had begun their journey as musical masterminds years prior to reaching America. John Lennon and Paul McCartney had first started in 1957, which was seven years before they reached America. In 1960, they were invited to play in Hamburg, Germany, where one night they played for a total of eight hours straight. Soon after that, they started to play every day of the week, sometimes until two in the morning. After multiple and extensively long gigs in Hamburg, they were estimated to have performed twelve hundred times. Now, I realize that many of us remember these facts from the book, but I am simply pointing them out again to help support my point. The Beatles would have never been as successful as they were if it were not for these immensely long hours they spent with their instruments. As far as I am concerned, some of these hours may not have been as joyful and glamorous as some of us may think. They were probably exhausted and worn down from the constant work, but that never stopped them. They knew what obstacles and hard work had to be overcome to achieve excellence. I believe that the quote from the book, “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good” almost defines the Beatles. Their long hours of practice is what made them good, it is what made them successful and still remembered today and many years to come. I cannot honestly say that I have spent thousands of hours on something and achieved excellence with what ever that is, but I know that someday I will. I love to write and that is what I am going to try to pursue a career in. I know that I am a good writer, but I am most certainly not the best, and I know without a doubt that I can get a lot better, but it is evident that it will take time to achieve excellence in that field, and I am looking forward to the long hours to come in order to accomplish my goal.
    -Natalie Allen

    • James E. Lang says :

      Writing is an excellent example of a skill that can improve using the the 10,000 hour rule, Natalie. Good connection to your own life. Lang

    • Sydney Sears says :

      The Beatles most likely would not have received their legendary title if it wasn’t for their long, grueling hours of endless practice. That discipline led them to their fame that so many people recognize today. I can relate to you with practicing writing. Through taking journalism classes here and practicing my writing skills I have seen them improve immensely from where I first started and I’m sure you have seen your skills improve also.

    • Hannah Barba says :

      I agree with Natalie. I love writing as well and I feel that if you don’t put time and energy into getting better then you wont ever see improvement. -Hannah Barba

  23. Ashley Bentley says :

    Ashley Bentley
    In Bill Joy’s case he had a lot if opportunities for practice by going to a school like Michigan University. The book says he was able to practice on a time sharing system instead of with punch cards and he could program all he wanted because there was a bug in Michigan’s system. He said, “At Michigan, I was probably programming eight or ten hours a day”. Because of this he was able to put in so many hours of practice that got him ready for the opportunity to rewrite UNIX. I’ve seen this applied to my own life in regards to playing piano, drums, and even when I learned to ride my bike or know multiplication. There are a lot of things that all of us do that require practice.

    • Allison McKay says :

      Allison McKay
      I liked the example used of Bill Joy finding the bug in the system and being able to “steal” all the free time he wanted for the programing system. The quote “At Michigan, I was probably programming eight or ten hours a day” shows that Bill Joy was devoted and passionate about programming. This truly was a major opportunity, and by taking advantage of it, he reached the 10,000 hour mark earlier in his life. However, I feel like there needs to be more examples about how Joy spent his time and some of the things he gave up, like sleep, to show how much programming was his life.

      • Shelby Northern says :

        I agree with Allison, you need the exhales to show what he gave up. Maybe he didn’t have a life and didn’t really have anything else he could do so he just sat there and programmed. Maybe it didn’t start out as his passion from the start but once he started to do it more and more that he started to like it and it became ingrained in him to want to program that his new founded passion was driving him.

  24. Karyn Bierman says :

    Malcolm Gladwell uses numerous examples to support his philosophies in this book. The philosophy, “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good,” is supported by the life stories of Bill Joy, The Beatles, and Bill Gates. All of which would have been considered moderately average people, but because of extraordinary opportunities they were able to become extremely successful. In The Beatles’ case this opportunity came to them in Hamburg, Germany in 1960 in a club where they played long hours with no breaks. They did not start out with the talent that is now know all over the world. They practiced to get their talent. The quote that comes to mind when I think of talent in hard work is, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” but the Beatles worked hard to improve their passion and it eventually became their talent. When John Lennon was asked about their time in Hamburg he replied, “We got better and got more confidence. We couldn’t help it with all the experience playing all night long,”(Gladwell, 49) without the opportunity to practice for hours and hours, day in and day out The Beatles story of success instead might be just a story they tell their kids about a band they used to be in.
    Before I could walk my dad would sit me on the back of a horse and walk me around. Since then I can’t even begin to count all the hours I’ve spent riding horses. I am not sure if I have reached the 10,000 hours of practice it is said to take to be successful or I I have already surpassed it. I am, however, happy to clock in as many more hours as I can.
    Katyn Bierman Period 1

  25. Shelby Northern says :

    Shelby Northern: If The Beatles hadn’t of gotten the chance to go to Hamburg when they play that great and didn’t have to play night after for long hours, they wouldn’t of gotten the practice time they needed to become successful. Without this chance I doubt that today we would know who they were. Sure they practices once they were good and they were famous, but did they put in the long grueling hours they had to to become famous? It’s the same thing as trying to pick up a book look at the front cover and then flip it over and say I’ve read the book, you didn’t put in the time or patience to read the book. The Beatles out in a lot of time and patience into their work, so did Bill Joy, and Bill Gates. How many people in the world practice five or more days to become better at their passion, their sport, their art, their instrument? I can’t say that I have really practiced at something to get good at it or even practiced after learning a skill, I’ve played sports but haven’t been very good so I lost that spark, that drive that pushes you to be the best of the best, to say yea I did that and I dare anyone to beat me.

    • Shelby Northern says :

      “It seems that it takes the brain longer to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery” (Gladwell, 40). So that means there has to be a number of hours that once you reach it your brain will assimilate all that you know. Gladwell said ten-thousand hours and it seems to hold true because all three people/groups reached that magic number.

  26. John Strobel says :

    The statement that Malcolm Gladwell makes in the book is very true. Bill Gates was fortunate enough to be able to program for computers since he was in the seventh grade. He was able to become good at his craft from the very beginning and he passed the 10,000 hour mark easily. Bill Joy was given the opportunity during college and programmed as much as he could. He would fall asleep then wake up and program some more. Finally The Beatles not only practiced for a long time but they performed for a long time. When they were famous, they weren’t scared of performing in front of crowds because they had done it for eight hours straight in Hamburg. This reminds me of what my coaches in my sports tell me about. They always say practice makes perfect but after a while, they sound like a broken record. Malcolm Gladwell puts it in a different perspective and says that statistically you need to spend about 10,000 hours on a subject in order to be good.

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