The Myth of ‘Just do it’: Thought and Effort in Expert Action preface

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Can so many be mistaken?

When one comes across an idea that appears in such a wide range of cultures, time periods and intellectual traditions, it is hard not to conclude that the explanation for this agreement is that these diverse strands of thought are converging on the truth. This book is aimed at trying to shake you of that conviction.

So far, I have focused primarily on illustrating the popularity of just-do-it. In the next two chapters, I aim to arrive at a better idea of the issue under consideration. In Chapter 2, I shall try to clarify the just-do-it idea which we have encountered in so many different guises in this chapter. And then in Chapter 3, I shall tackle the tricky question of what it means to be an expert. In subsequent chapters, the shovel comes out in earnest, as I attempt to bury some of the views we have just encountered and advance the think-to-win principle which states that effort, thought, bodily awareness and other such psychological factors are often integral to the smooth, apparently effortless execution of expert-level skills. Contrary to the idea that expert action proceeds automatically, I shall argue that experts in fact present a model of Socratic rationality, exemplifying both conceptually-grounded knowledge of their actions and self-awareness.

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