Malcolm Gladwell's latest book, Outliers, is the inspiration for a blog post at In the Pipeline. Derek Lowe wonders if Gladwell's "10,000 hour rule," the idea that many people who are extremely good at a given task have spent at least that long perfecting their skills, can be applied to science, and drug discovery in particular. When it comes to science, says Lowe, referring to a review of the book, practicing an art is different from pipetting mindlessly for four years because, well, that's part of logging hours in the lab, too. Which category does drug design fit into? "I think that the fundamental issues of drug design are still so poorly understood that no amount of skill can compensate for them," Lowe says. "It would be a fine thing if ten thousand hours of hard work and practice allowed someone to come in and make nontoxic molecules, but they often have to be discovered by trial and error, and more of the latter."
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Jan 31, 2009