Masters of Many Trades

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What do Condoleezza Rice, Woody Allen, and Steve Martin have in common? These famous public figures are all highly trained musicians. More than merely dabbling in another field, there are people who achieve professional success in more than one field. How do they do it? And how do their skill sets interact between their two crafts?

Author Malcom Gladwell popularized the “10,000 hour rule” as the benchmark for becoming an expert in a discipline in his 2008 book Outliers. Some virtuosi musicians, though, don’t stop there. They go beyond the 10,000 hours it takes to master a musical instrument and challenge themselves to become experts in something new and completely unrelated. The motivating forces that drive them to explore new avenues are diverse, but the results are the same—these musicians are highly successful, motivated, curious, and creative individuals.

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