The New Yorker:
New Year’s Eve is a time for reflection about the year that passed and a time to set goals for the future. Should we keep doing what are we doing, or should we tackle new challenges? If you’re seven, or twelve, or twenty, it’s easy to think about new ambitions: learn Spanish, learn to paint, do a flip off your skateboard. But what if you’re older?
For me, much of the past year revolved around discussions prompted by a book of mine that was published in January, called “Guitar Zero,” about the science of learning and my own adventures in learning guitar at the age of forty. The basic premise was that the scientific evidence for a widespread view called the “critical-period effect” was far weaker than widely supposed.