10,000 hours of 70:20:10 – an interview

2 weeks ago I was lucky enough to be afforded a rare interview with Dr Maslow Pinkwell about his new book and talk to him about his unique position as a ‘composite thought leader’

Could you give me a brief synopsis of the new book?

The key focus of the book is to centre people’s worklives on areas where they can spend at least 10, 000 hours developing their skills within a 70:20:10 framework, utilising their personal drive in situations where they can exercise autonomy, mastery and purpose to be authentic leaders. This is work 3.1.

Does the book serve as a practical guide or is it more a detailed research examination?

No. I wouldn’t describe it as either.

How does the approach you take differ from your last book ‘Blinking through tipping points’?

The last book largely focused on research from the 90’s and a smattering of real life examples to support the arguments I made. For this book I’ve largely given up on real life examples and I’ve had to use research from the 50’s to make sure it feels new to people. There are however a significant amount of simple anecdotes that allow you to draw incredibly strong conclusions on key subjects.

What is the creative process for a book like this?

It was a pretty arduous undertaking. I had ten minute conversations with a number of people that I picked based on qualifications and obscurity. I then had to edit to make them seem more accessible and I also had to hit the credibility ratio.

What’s the credibility ratio?

70 per cent of the material had to feel vaguely familiar and the remaining 30 per cent had to be dumbed down enough for people to be able to remember and repeat. That’s why there are large gaps in lots of my arguments. I’m smart enough to realise that people wouldn’t actually cope with the really smart stuff. Lots of things could plausibly conflict with my position, so I had to be careful to acknowledge those things but then give the impression that smart people would never believe something so obvious. Leading people by the hand through a dangerous minefield of contradictions.

What actions do you hope people will take after reading the book?

I’d be delighted if they recommended it to friends and purchased the next one.

And finally, you describe yourself as a ‘composite thought leader’, what does that mean?

It means that there is as much artistry in packaging as there is in substance. For instance I’ve already written an extra chapter for the ‘updated version with new content’ edition before we have even published this one. That’s leadership. It’s all about vision.

What would you say to critics who say that your work doesn’t give a credible insight into what it takes to be a commercial success?

Check my bank balance.


Cover art for the latest book was created by Simon Heath

11 thoughts on “10,000 hours of 70:20:10 – an interview

  1. David cracks the code with inept assistance from Maslow to stumble upon the answers [no one] was looking for. Breathtaking in its opacity…


  2. Brilliant. I’m disappointed, though, that Dr Pinkwell didn’t include any reference to the Training Ghetto. Perhaps in his next work – More Every Management Book Ever?


    1. I’m working with Dr Pinkwell, in my capacity as Senior Vice Head of the Pinkwell Institute to formalise our position on what it means for one company to overtake another and whether undertaking is permissable.


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