A common theme that appears throughout Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers is the “10,000-Hour Rule”, based on a study by Anders Ericsson. Gladwell claims that greatness requires enormous time, using the source of The Beatles’ musical talents and Bill Gates’ computer savvy as examples. The Beatles performed live in Hamburg, Germany over 1,200 times from 1960 to 1964, amassing more than 10,000 hours of playing time, therefore meeting the 10,000-Hour Rule. Gladwell asserts that all of the time The Beatles spent performing shaped their talent, and quotes Beatles’ biographer Philip Norman as saying, “So by the time they returned to England from Hamburg, Germany, ‘they sounded like no one else. It was the making of them.'” Gates met the 10,000-Hour Rule when he gained access to a high school computer in 1968 at the age of 13, and spent 10,000 hours programming on it.
In Outliers, Gladwell interviews Bill Gates, who says that unique access to a computer at a time when they were not commonplace helped him succeed. Without that access, Gladwell states that Gates would still be “a highly intelligent, driven, charming person and a successful professional”, but that he might not be worth US$50 billion. Gladwell explains that reaching the 10,000-Hour Rule, which he considers the key to success in any field, is simply a matter of practicing a specific task that can be accomplished with 20 hours of work a week for 10 years. He also notes that he himself took exactly 10 years to meet the 10,000-Hour Rule, during his brief tenure at The American Spectator and his more recent job at The Washington Post.
Be that as it may.
In the year 1993 I started work on my book Significant Moments. I worked on the book during the following 11 years continuously, and thereafter.
The book consumed considerable amounts of time in research and thinking. I used to think about the writing all the time, sometimes laying on my couch in the evenings working on ideas in my mind. In total I may have worked 10,000 hours on the book.