Talent is Overrated

Author: Geoffrey Colvin
Title: Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else
Published: Oct 4, 2008

In Talent is Overrated, Colvin explores and dismisses some of the most popular myths surrounding mastery. From expert musicians to sports heroes, he breaks down performances that many of us chalk up to innate ability and provides rational and reasoning as to why talent is based largely on hard work rather than some sort of born skill set.

Perhaps the most fundamental element of the book is a concept known as deliberate practice (something Gladwell alludes to in Outliers). Deliberate practice is characterized by several key elements including:

  1. It’s designed specifically to improve performance
  2. It can be repeated a lot
  3. Feedback on results is continuously available
  4. It’s highly demanding mentally
  5. It isn’t much fun

Obviously, these elements come in stark contrast to the casual game of golf on the weekend or the neighborhood hoops game. Neither will produce extraordinary results. Colvin breaks down many popular performers (including Tiger Woods for example) and demonstrates the impact that deliberate practice had on their success.

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