March 3rd, 2021

Ben Spaloss and I talked yesterday about the legendary cliff who read something like 2000 books a year since he was a child. He's able to finish a novel in 5 minutes- mindblowing. The brain's neuroplasticity, pattern recognition, plus years of deliberate practice could no doubt lead to reading and comprehension speeds like Cliff- however, a clear outlier amongst others who have been brought up normally, without the deliberate training.

An example we brought up was that of a chess grandmaster- whose intuition, pattern recognition for the board outmatches and is completely different than that of a beginner or amateur. Magnus Carlsen, aside from his extraordinary 190 IQ, has spent years completely immersed within chess- playing chess daily and dreaming/daydreaming when he's not. That compounds over years, especially at a young age when the neuroplasticity is so high. Now, Carlsen looks at chess in a completely different paradigm and at a single glance has an intuition for the next moves, the state of the board, and can visualize the moves that brought them to the current position (to name a few).

Now the question is. What would a chess grandmaster look like in other domains?

Reading is an example but as much as I try, I do not think I can reach cliff's league in my life- though can reach stages he has once been at. Through deliberate practice, I believe I can learn to read without inner vocalization, potentially 10X-ing my current speed. However, even with this, I still remain the amature chess player at reading. I believe cliff, with such deliberate training can focus not on individual words but entire paragraphs, their strucutre, and extract meaning from them- I have no fricken clue how but I'm confident it's nowhere close to the full extent of human pattern recognition abilities.

Grandmasters require the right nature and nurture. Talent and deliberate practice. Some people I can think of:

fascinating.