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Practice Perfect: The Book Report

Updated on November 30, 2012

42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better

Author: Doug Lemov, bestselling author of Teach Like a Champion, Erica Woolway and Katie Zizzi.

Publisher: Jossey-Bass 2012. Hardback $26.95US. 204 pages exclusive of appendices, index and the like; 263 pages total.

Author's purpose: "Our purpose in writing this book is to leverage the dream of 'better,' both in fields where participants know they should practice, but could do it more effectively, and also in endeavors where most people do not yet recognize the transformative power of practice. (Page 5)

Description: There is a theory that practicing, whether in sports or in other areas, doesn't help much because the talent either is there or it is not. The authors take a different tack, discussing the critical importance of identifying the essential the skills necessary to produce excellent performance in areas as diverse as basketball and teaching. These are skills are seen as necessary at every level, from beginner to expert. From the authors' view point, it the basic skills that must be drilled to automatic mastery to produce excellence, and that must be returned to once mastery is achieved, to continue in excellence. The 42 Rules work through the process not only of identifying the necessary essential skills, but also how to coach to produce excellence in those skills.

Discussion: I have taught groups of kids (8-14 years of age in groups of 12 to 25) as beginning horseback riders for years. I have been a stickler for certain details that I have deemed important to master certain basic, essential riding skills. One year, desiring to understand whether my approach had value in the then-current theory to just let the beginners have fun (under basic control) for a year, thereafter teaching detailed specifics, I let a group "just have fun" for their first year of riding. I spent the next year straightening out their bad habits, rather than building on detailed basics. After three years, the "just have fun" group were not as confident, comfortable or accomplished as the other groups subjected to more rigorous teaching. Thus, I can testify that the authors' approach has value in producing a superior skill level in beginning horseback riders.

Further, I would counsel the trial lawyer to consider the authors' principles. It may be more important to fire the jury consultant and work on identification of specific areas necessary to human understanding and development of one's own personal skills. In other words, quit trying to control what you can't, and control what you can -- yourself.

Rating: Readability: reportorial/conversational. Achievement of purpose: Achieved. Recommended: Yes. I love this book, and believe that it speaks truth.

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5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Practice Perfect


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