I don’t know if you try to catch up on your reading over the summer, but in case you do, I have recently read four books that I cannot seem to get out of my head.
James K.A. Smith “You Are What You Love” explores the depths of spiritual formation by looking at how we are shaped by our desires, desires that point us towards a future or view of the good life, and what shapes these desires are thick formative habits or what he refers to as liturgical practices.
Daniel Coyle in “The Talent Code” looks at how talent is developed across the world from the Brazilian soccer fields to Russian ballet houses to upstate New York musical schools. The key to developing talent is deliberate practice – repetitiously reinforcing micro-disciplines that keep the learner on the edge of failure in short bursts.
Todd Rose believes in the “The End of Average” that average statistics are incredibly misleading at best and useless at worst in measuring and managing performance across almost any discipline or phenomena that are not absolutely standardized in their inputs.
Angela Duckworth makes a compelling, research-laden case that "Grit" is likely the singular most important life success trait one can instill in children and that the formula for grit is weighted towards effort applied in areas of passion with purpose.
What I find intriguing about all of these great books is that while their topic ranges from theology to social science to academics to neuro-science and psychology, the science must be converging around this new theme that habits that form from efforts thick in deliberate practice shape and form us in profound ways. In other words, converting our desires into disciplined habits may be the best way to achieve them.