David Shenk: “Our abilities are not set in genetic stone.”

BBC: David Shenk: “Is there a genius in all of us?”:

It would be folly to suggest that anyone can literally do or become anything. But the new science tells us that it’s equally foolish to think that mediocrity is built into most of us, or that any of us can know our true limits before we’ve applied enormous resources and invested vast amounts of time.

Our abilities are not set in genetic stone. They are soft and sculptable, far into adulthood. With humility, with hope, and with extraordinary determination, greatness is something to which any kid – of any age – can aspire.

On finding the time to learn

Zen and the Art of Programming: Antonio Cangiano, Software Engineer & Technical Evangelist at IBM: “The Pursuit of Excellence in Programming”

Related:

rc3.org: “Becoming a better programmer takes exercise”

Derek Silves: “After 15 years of practice…”

Peter Norvig: “Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years”

In order to help people you need to not look down on them

Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

It’s an old proverb. One worth repeating.

40 year old ongoing study into preschool still providing insight

American RadioWorks: Emily Hanford: Early Lessons: “doing well in school, and in life, is about more than a test score.”:

“Now you’re getting into something really deep,” says economist James Heckman. “How is it that motivation is affected? What causes motivation?”

Heckman is a Nobel laureate who teaches at the University of Chicago. Preschool was not among his interests until he came across the Perry Study several years ago. What caught his attention is the apparent paradox at its core: The people who went to preschool were not “smarter” than their peers, but they did better.

The assumption at the heart of a lot of economic theory is that measured intelligence is the key to everything. But with the Perry Preschool children, something else made the difference. It was not IQ. Heckman is now working with psychologists to try to understand how the preschool may have affected the development of what he calls “non-cognitive” skills, things like motivation, sociability and the ability to work with others.

These are critical skills that help people succeed at school, at work – and in life.

And as it turns out, the Perry preschool children did do better in life.