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Opinion: My declining years – and yours
JULY 5, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by MARGARET WENTE

According to the experts, certain parts of my brain responsible for cognitive function are literally shrinking. My brain’s blood flow is slowing down, just like the rest of me. The inescapable result is lapses in the synapses. I’ve always thought that the worst threat to my vanity was advancing wrinkles. But now I know it’s cognitive slippage.

Perhaps it’s some consolation that my friends are getting dotty, too. Sure, they’re working gamely to keep their brains in tip-top shape. They do word puzzles, or try to learn a language. They take supplements and eat more leafy greens. Good luck to them. So far, nobody has figured out how to turn back the neurological clock.

The more I learn about brain aging, the more obvious it is that the kids really are smarter than we are. “The data are shockingly clear that for most people, in most fields, professional decline starts earlier than almost anyone thinks,” writes Arthur Brooks (no cognitive slouch himself) in a new essay for The Atlantic. He found that most of us reach our mental peak around 20 years after the start of our careers. We do our best work in our 40s and 50s and it’s all downhill from there.

People in different types of work peak at different ages, just as athletes do. Those who rely heavily on fluid intelligence – the ability to reason, think fast and solve problems in unique and novel situations – peak much younger than average. Mr. Brooks says his line of work is a good example. (He has just retired as the head of a well-known U.S. think tank.) “The most profound insights tend to come from those in their 30s and early 40s.”

Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, chess grand masters and nuclear physicists are even more precocious – which means they burn out early. By the time they hit their 30s they’re already in creative decline. By contrast, lawyers, judges and professors draw more on what’s called crystallized intelligence – a stock of knowledge built up over time.They can coast on that knowledge well into their 60s. For most of us, however, cognitive decline begins in middle age.
aging  Arthur_Brooks  cognitive_skills  decline  elderly  elder_wisdom  journalism  Margaret_Wente  mental_dexterity  precociousness  retirement 
july 2019 by jerryking
Keeping Cori Gauff Healthy and Sane
July 2, 2019 | The New York Times | By Christopher Clarey.

Cori Gauff studies the map of her predecessors' pitfalls

Tennis has its latest prodigy in Cori Gauff, the 15-year-old American who upset Venus Williams, once a wonder child herself, in the first round of Wimbledon of Monday......The list [of child prodigies] is extensive, punctuated with cautionary tales. As tennis has become a more physically demanding sport, these breakout moments have been trending later.......Corey Gauff, the player’s father, longtime coach and the inspiration for his daughter’s name, has attempted to do what he can to help her chances of long-term success. One of his self-appointed tasks: studying tennis prodigies extensively......“I went through everybody I thought was relevant, that won Grand Slams and were good young,” ....“I went through every one of their situations and looked at where they were at a certain age, what they were doing. I asked a lot of questions, because I was concerned about burnout. Am I doing the right things?”....“I studied and studied to prepare myself to make sure if she was able to meet these goals that we’d be able to help the right way,” he said. “That was important. I still sit there and benchmark: ‘O.K., we’re at this point now. How is she doing physically? Is she growing? This is what Capriati did at this stage. This is what Hingis did at this stage, what the Williams sisters did at this stage.’”....Great stories, which prodigies continue to be, attract not just attention but money from sponsors. Parents and advisers can get more invested in success — and continued success — than the young player, and the result can be traumatic......Some precocious talents have experienced physical abuse,.....There is also the physical and mental toll of competing against older, potentially stronger opposition......“The main thing I looked at was how do you prevent injury,”.........The family has sought frequent outside counsel: “It’s honestly been a village of coaches,” he said.

Cori Gauff chose to sign with Team8, the agency started by Roger Federer and his longtime agent Tony Godsick, in part because the Gauffs believed a long-term approach had worked well for Federer, who turned pro at 17 and is still winning titles at 37.
African-Americans  athletes_&_athletics  benchmarking  cautionary_tales  dark_side  due_diligence  injury_prevention  long-term  outside_counsel  parenting  pitfalls  precociousness  prodigies  sports  systematic_approaches  teenagers  tennis  women 
july 2019 by jerryking
An Eclectic Writer Takes On Eccentric One - WSJ.com
May 6, 2008 | WSJ | By NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY

With Simon Winchester
An Eclectic Writer Takes On an Eccentric One

Simon Winchester who has written "The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom." about Joseph Needham (1900-95), a precocious British biochemist and regular churchgoer with socialist leanings, a fondness for nude sunbathing and a love of folk-dancing. Needham received his doctorate from Cambridge in 1925 and taught there for the rest of his life. He had an affair with a Chinese scientist, Lu Gwei-djen, who had come to England to work in his lab. Through his lifelong relationship with her, which his wife apparently didn't mind, Needham developed a fascination with all things Chinese.
NaomiSchaeferRiley  China  books  writers  innovation  Simon_Winchester  precociousness 
february 2013 by jerryking
Google's Banker
May 3, 2004 | Fortune | By Adam Lashinsky.... Valentine also
took a different approach on making investments: He bet on the
racetrack, not the jockey. "... you build great companies by finding
monster markets that are in transition, and you find the people later,"
says Valentine...."But in Moritz, Valentine saw a resemblance to another
precocious go-getter he had observed at close range: Steve Jobs.
"They're both incredibly aggressive questioners," says Valentine. "And
our business is all about figuring out which questions are relevant in
making a decision, because the people who are starting a company (i.e. the founders) don't
have a clue what the answers are."... Valentine's principles: only
targeting businesses with fat margins; avoid capital-intensive
businesses; take measured steps; never underestimate the difficulty of
changing consumer behavior; don't begin a rollout until you're sure the
recipe is working; avoid any business Wall Street is prepared to throw
hundreds of millions of dollars at.
behavioral_change  capital-intensity  consumer_behavior  disequilibriums  Don_Valentine  founders  large_markets  margins  Michael_Moritz  precociousness  questions  rollouts  rules_of_the_game  Sequoia  Steve_Jobs  vc  venture_capital  Wall_Street 
october 2009 by jerryking

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