I just picked up Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers, which looks at how and why people are successful. One measurement Gladwell comes up with is the 10,000 hour rule--if you want to be really successful at something, you've gotta put in the time and effort.
Like 10,000 hours to start.
Gladwell, who writes for the New Yorker, has crafted an interesting journalism career. Check him out.