counter Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else (Audiobook) - Free Download Books
Hot Best Seller

Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else (Audiobook)

Availability: Ready to download

Publisher's Summary One of the most popular Fortune articles in many years was a cover story called "What It Takes to Be Great." Geoff Colvin offered new evidence that top performers in any field - from Tiger Woods and Winston Churchill to Warren Buffett and Jack Welch - are not determined by their inborn talents. Greatness doesn't come from DNA but from practice and persev Publisher's Summary One of the most popular Fortune articles in many years was a cover story called "What It Takes to Be Great." Geoff Colvin offered new evidence that top performers in any field - from Tiger Woods and Winston Churchill to Warren Buffett and Jack Welch - are not determined by their inborn talents. Greatness doesn't come from DNA but from practice and perseverance honed over decades. And not just plain old hard work, like your grandmother might have advocated, but a very specific kind of work. The key is how you practice, how you analyze the results of your progress and learn from your mistakes, that enables you to achieve greatness. Now Colvin has expanded his article with much more scientific background and real-world examples. He shows that the skills of business - negotiating deals, evaluating financial statements, and all the rest - obey the principles that lead to greatness, so that anyone can get better at them with the right kind of effort. Even the hardest decisions and interactions can be systematically improved. This new mind-set, combined with Colvin's practical advice, will change the way you think about your job and career - and will inspire you to achieve more in all you do. ©2008 Geoffrey Colvin; (P)2008 Tantor


Compare

Publisher's Summary One of the most popular Fortune articles in many years was a cover story called "What It Takes to Be Great." Geoff Colvin offered new evidence that top performers in any field - from Tiger Woods and Winston Churchill to Warren Buffett and Jack Welch - are not determined by their inborn talents. Greatness doesn't come from DNA but from practice and persev Publisher's Summary One of the most popular Fortune articles in many years was a cover story called "What It Takes to Be Great." Geoff Colvin offered new evidence that top performers in any field - from Tiger Woods and Winston Churchill to Warren Buffett and Jack Welch - are not determined by their inborn talents. Greatness doesn't come from DNA but from practice and perseverance honed over decades. And not just plain old hard work, like your grandmother might have advocated, but a very specific kind of work. The key is how you practice, how you analyze the results of your progress and learn from your mistakes, that enables you to achieve greatness. Now Colvin has expanded his article with much more scientific background and real-world examples. He shows that the skills of business - negotiating deals, evaluating financial statements, and all the rest - obey the principles that lead to greatness, so that anyone can get better at them with the right kind of effort. Even the hardest decisions and interactions can be systematically improved. This new mind-set, combined with Colvin's practical advice, will change the way you think about your job and career - and will inspire you to achieve more in all you do. ©2008 Geoffrey Colvin; (P)2008 Tantor

30 review for Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else (Audiobook)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Colvin set out to answer this question: "What does great performance require?" In this volume, he shares several insights generated by hundreds of research studies whose major conclusions offer what seem to be several counterintuitive perspectives on what is frequently referred to as "talent." (See Pages 6-7.) In this context, I am reminded of Thomas Edison's observation that "vision without execution is hallucination." If Colvin were asked to paraphrase that to indicate his own purposes in this Colvin set out to answer this question: "What does great performance require?" In this volume, he shares several insights generated by hundreds of research studies whose major conclusions offer what seem to be several counterintuitive perspectives on what is frequently referred to as "talent." (See Pages 6-7.) In this context, I am reminded of Thomas Edison's observation that "vision without execution is hallucination." If Colvin were asked to paraphrase that to indicate his own purposes in this book, my guess (only a guess) is that his response would be, "Talent without deliberate practice is latent" and agrees with Darrell Royal that "potential" means "you ain't done it yet." In other words, there would be no great performances in any field (e.g. business, theatre, dance, symphonic music, athletics, science, mathematics, entertainment, exploration) without those who have, through deliberate practice developed the requisite abilities. Colvin duly acknowledges that deliberate practice "is a large concept, and to say that it explains everything would be simplistic and reductive." Colvin goes on to say, "Critical questions immediately present themselves: What exactly needs to be practiced? Precisely how? Which specific skills or other assets must be acquired? The research has revealed answers that generalize quite well across a wide range of fields." Even after committing all of my time and attention to several years of deliberate practice, under the direct supervision of the best instructor (e.g. Hank Haney, Butch Harman, or David Leadbetter) I probably could not reduce my handicap to zero but I could lower it under those conditions. Colvin's insights offer a reassurance that almost anyone's performance can be improved, sometimes substantially, even if it isn't world-class. Talent is overrated if it is perceived to be the most important factor. It isn't. In fact, talent does not exist unless and until it is developed...and the only way to develop it is (you guessed it) with deliberate practice. When Ben Hogan was asked the "secret" to playing great golf, he replied, "It's in the dirt." Throughout his narrative, Colvin inserts clusters of insights and recommendations that literally anyone can consider and then act upon to improve her or his individual performance as well as helping to improve the performance of a team of which she or he is a member. For example: 1. Attributes of deliberate practice (Pages 66-72) 2. What top performers perceive that others do not notice (Pages 89-94) 3. Benefits of having a "rich mental model"(Pages 123-124) 4. Rules for peak performance that "elite" organizations follow (Pages 128-136) 5. Misconceptions about innovation and creativity (Pages 149-151) 6. How innovators become great (Pages 159-161) 7. How to make organizations innovative (Pages 162-166) 8. What homes can teach organizations (Pages 172-175) 9. The "drivers" of great performance (Pages 187-193) 10. How some organizations "blow it" (Pages 194-198) Corbin provides a wealth of research-driven information that he has rigorously examined and he also draws upon his own extensive and direct experience with all manner of organizations and their C-level executives.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    This was surprising in some ways. The start of it is pretty much Gladwell’s Outliers, the end is pretty well Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us and the middle is about the least interesting part of the book. So, I guess I would recommend those two books rather than this one, except that there were some things about this that made the whole thing worthwhile. I’m more convinced than ever that talent is overrated. What is talent? Essentially it is directly connected with performance This was surprising in some ways. The start of it is pretty much Gladwell’s Outliers, the end is pretty well Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us and the middle is about the least interesting part of the book. So, I guess I would recommend those two books rather than this one, except that there were some things about this that made the whole thing worthwhile. I’m more convinced than ever that talent is overrated. What is talent? Essentially it is directly connected with performance – talented people are people who can perform well. So if you are trying to improve performance looking at the ‘innate’ abilities of the performer is probably the least interesting and least worthwhile thing to do. Surely the best way to improve performance is to look at what high performers DO and work out how to help weaker performers do that. Much of this book is about the benefits of deliberate practice – which is, doing stuff that is not fun to do so as to be able to be successful at something. That is, piano practice or pumping iron or swimming at 5am. However, I think he overdoes the ‘this is hard and horrible but needs to be done’ stuff. The real lesson is that if it is meaningful and is directed at a goal the person wants to go in then it will not be horrible. Meaning is key here. The bits of this I liked the most were the little anecdotes he says along the way. My favourite of these as the CEO who would find out who was going to be having a birthday on his visits and during his talk would tell staff, “It’s Jane’s birthday – sing her her song.” And they would all sing Happy Birthday! And then he would say, once they had finished. “Look, that was okay, but only just okay – I want you to sing it again but this time do it better.” And then there would be a pause while everyone tries to work out what ‘better’ means. I loved this story so much. Sometimes feedback isn’t just poor, it actually stops performance altogether. If you know you need to improve but have no idea how or what might help you are going to tend to give up. His stress on learning is hard is the opposite of what I really believe – learning is generally effortless, practice may be hard, but if it is meaningful the ‘hard / easy’ opposition really doesn’t apply. I know that it is hard to feel more alive than after ‘getting it’. What gets called ‘hard work’ is often just play that requires lots of focus. So, this was okay – but I would recommend the other two books first. They are both better written than this one (not that this one is not competently done) and much more engaging.

  3. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is a fun book that starts out in a vein similar to Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers". Later the emphasis of the book changes, and becomes a self-help book. For best performance, the name of the game is "practice", and not any old practice--it must be focused, deliberate, planned practice. This practice is not just for musicians; it is for every type of career, in business, sales, marketing, engineering--you name it, practice is what it takes. This type of practice can be mentally taxing, and ve This is a fun book that starts out in a vein similar to Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers". Later the emphasis of the book changes, and becomes a self-help book. For best performance, the name of the game is "practice", and not any old practice--it must be focused, deliberate, planned practice. This practice is not just for musicians; it is for every type of career, in business, sales, marketing, engineering--you name it, practice is what it takes. This type of practice can be mentally taxing, and very time-consuming--it normally takes years before a truly excellent performance is honed. Colvin brings up the examples of Mozart and Tiger Woods. Neither of them was born with innate talent. They were both born to fathers who were both experts in their respective fields (music and golf), and started teaching their boys at a very early age. Lots of hard work and specially designed practice were the keys to their top-notch performance. This may not be the best book on the topic--the subject is covered in a number of other books. But it is competently written, and for most part, it is engaging.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    This book is overrated. After meandering for several chapters through what does NOT lead to high performance, Colvin finally gets around to arguing that the secret is "deliberate practice." This turns out basically to be Flow, so I would recommend just reading that book, which is by the scientist who originally described the concept, and is I think a much more interesting and useful work. Beyond that, Colvin mixes apples and oranges in terms of what "talent" means. Winning at something isn't This book is overrated. After meandering for several chapters through what does NOT lead to high performance, Colvin finally gets around to arguing that the secret is "deliberate practice." This turns out basically to be Flow, so I would recommend just reading that book, which is by the scientist who originally described the concept, and is I think a much more interesting and useful work. Beyond that, Colvin mixes apples and oranges in terms of what "talent" means. Winning at something isn't the same as having a talent; you can win by cheating and this happens in sports and business all the time. Another confusion is the difference between playing games and making great discoveries. While he gives anecdotes to show that you can train anyone to be a chess grand master, it seems absurd to argue that you can train anyone to be Einstein. Only a small part of the book is devoted to how to get better at useful tasks (like doctors reading X-rays correctly) and here his amazing insight is that experienced workers are better at this than new trainees. Wow!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    The takeaway from this approachable book is that a particular kind of practice--what Colvin refers to as "deliberate practice"--is what allows mere mortals (who include all of us, even Mozart, he argues) to painstakingly climb toward world-class performance in our respective fields. Colvin spends a few chapters arguing that talent, an inborn gift most of us assume is responsible for world-class performance, is a slippery concept whose cause-and-effect relationship to excellence hasn't been born The takeaway from this approachable book is that a particular kind of practice--what Colvin refers to as "deliberate practice"--is what allows mere mortals (who include all of us, even Mozart, he argues) to painstakingly climb toward world-class performance in our respective fields. Colvin spends a few chapters arguing that talent, an inborn gift most of us assume is responsible for world-class performance, is a slippery concept whose cause-and-effect relationship to excellence hasn't been born out consistently in studies. Intelligence is important, but not in the way we typically think. Instead, personally designed practice regimens (which he spends the middle part of the book explaining), in which we are periodically evaluated by a mentor, teacher, or other source of insightful feedback, allow us to work on a skill set just beyond our current comfort zones. Much of this work is solitary, and physically and mentally taxing. Almost all of it is remote from the "game-time" exercise of the skill; that is, you don't become a great football player by playing football, but by conditioning in the particular set of skills you need during the game, and by reviewing your past performances with an eye to adjusting your practice routine. Excellence can be attained only by spending countless hours over many years doing this kind of grueling practice, Colvin argues. There are no shortcuts, and the most direct route is to start young and keep working maniacally as one ages. Excellence, he writes, is much more equal-opportunity than we thought, but most of us are not equal to its challenge.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hákon Gunnarsson

    It’s a clever title, made me want to know more, but unfortunately the rest didn’t quite manage to expand on that idea well enough. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it’s a bad book, and I do agree with its main principle, one has to nurture a talent for it to become something of importance. One has to find the weaknesses in ones performance and work on them in a deliberate way. But I don’t think he managed to explain well enough how these world class performers do that. As it stands I thought it w It’s a clever title, made me want to know more, but unfortunately the rest didn’t quite manage to expand on that idea well enough. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it’s a bad book, and I do agree with its main principle, one has to nurture a talent for it to become something of importance. One has to find the weaknesses in ones performance and work on them in a deliberate way. But I don’t think he managed to explain well enough how these world class performers do that. As it stands I thought it was a nice read, but is probably not going leave much behind because I already knew the idea of the born genius is severely flawed at best. There is another thing that bugged me. At one point he explains how lifetime of products is ever shortening, like that is good thing. To me the throwaway culture we have built up is a problem, not something to put upon a pedestal. That has nothing to do with the subject of book, but annoyed me enough to ruin a whole chapter. So to me this is an so so book, not bad, not great. Mostly a nice, unsurprising read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Zu

    There are numerous good points about this book: good information based on solid scientific research; pretty good writing (not master level but close); cogent argument and so on. That being said, this book leaves several threads hanging: why experience does not necessarily led to mastery and what distinguish learning through deliberate practice from normal working experience. As a Chinese, I am totally buying into this because that's what I grow up with. And I think this book explains why Chinese There are numerous good points about this book: good information based on solid scientific research; pretty good writing (not master level but close); cogent argument and so on. That being said, this book leaves several threads hanging: why experience does not necessarily led to mastery and what distinguish learning through deliberate practice from normal working experience. As a Chinese, I am totally buying into this because that's what I grow up with. And I think this book explains why Chinese-Americans are, generally speaking, doing much better than their American contemporaries: their cultural background help them to learn better not that they are naturally good at learning new stuff. If I'm not completely biased by my Chinese root, then the ramification of this book is tremendous: we need a total transformation of our education system---learning is not just form fun, learning cannot be easy, devotion and good working habit matters more than god-given talent. Performance based tests like GRE and SAT are less essential as good teachers and devoted students. I recommend this book to any parent and anyone who is interested in self-improvement.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mark Fallon

    One of, if not THE best book I read this year. Some of this book supported theories I've read in other books (the "10-year rule" and "deliberate practice"), yet Colvin presented the ideas backed with more research. This book reinforced my beliefs on the benefits of coaching. Colvin also pointed out specific ways to apply this knowledge to business. The last chapter, "Where Does Passion Come From?", has inspired me to add the books and articles from the "Resources" section to my reading list. Few One of, if not THE best book I read this year. Some of this book supported theories I've read in other books (the "10-year rule" and "deliberate practice"), yet Colvin presented the ideas backed with more research. This book reinforced my beliefs on the benefits of coaching. Colvin also pointed out specific ways to apply this knowledge to business. The last chapter, "Where Does Passion Come From?", has inspired me to add the books and articles from the "Resources" section to my reading list. Few books have inspired to change my actions immediately. "Talent is Overrated" is one of them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tom LA

    Insightful analysis of excellence and excellent performance in any field. The point of the book is in the title: the concept of "innate talent", when it comes to great performance, is overrated in our society, because the number 1 element that generates great performance is something else. Taking the term from a paper published years ago by someone else, the author identifies this "holy grail" of excellence in "deliberate performance", that means: whoever is ready to spend more time than the oth Insightful analysis of excellence and excellent performance in any field. The point of the book is in the title: the concept of "innate talent", when it comes to great performance, is overrated in our society, because the number 1 element that generates great performance is something else. Taking the term from a paper published years ago by someone else, the author identifies this "holy grail" of excellence in "deliberate performance", that means: whoever is ready to spend more time than the others outside of his comfort zone, and work constantly hard at improving his skills, will eventually excel. Perfect example, even though not quoted by this book, is Jiro from "Jiro's dream of sushi", a documentary about the pursuit of excellence. I felt the concept could have been presented in less chapters and with less words, but I do think this book goes beyond the usual "et voilà: here is common sense dressed up as a great new discovery" business books (99% of them). It's not just "hard work" that generates the best performances, it's something more specific, deliberate, and painful. Negatives: chapter 10 promises to look at "why" some people accept to go through terrible training processes and most people don't, but it doesn't even scratch the surface. There could be a gene that determines the willingness to excel, or it could be that you get that drive while living your life. Truth is, nobody will know until we better understand how the brain works. Also, the author never seems to have any understanding or empathy at all for the majority of human beings, who normally get into comfortable daily patterns and dont give a crap about constant learning and achieving excellence. However, the liberating principle by which virtually anyone can achieve excellent performance is a breath of fresh air, in a time when still too many people, while watching their favorite NBA or football player on TV, turn around and say to their kids "Wow, that guy is a genius! Why didn't God give those skills to your daddy instead?? We would be millionaires now!".

  10. 4 out of 5

    Yevgeniy Brikman

    An interesting read that argues that deliberate practice is the single most important factor in elite performance—far more important than genetics, "god-given" talent, or just the sheer volume of practice. Most studies I've seen indicate that human abilities are usually a mix of nature and nurture, and this book provides compelling evidence that, at least when it comes to world-class performance, nurture plays a much stronger role. Of course, genetics still set your limits (e.g., if you're 5-foo An interesting read that argues that deliberate practice is the single most important factor in elite performance—far more important than genetics, "god-given" talent, or just the sheer volume of practice. Most studies I've seen indicate that human abilities are usually a mix of nature and nurture, and this book provides compelling evidence that, at least when it comes to world-class performance, nurture plays a much stronger role. Of course, genetics still set your limits (e.g., if you're 5-foot-nothing, no amount of deliberate practice will get you into the NBA), and this book doesn't tell us much about what it takes to achieve great—but not necessarily world-class—results. Nevertheless, it's a valuable read, and I personally found it inspiring to know that even the seemingly-superhuman abilities of the world's best performers are achieved primarily through a tremendous amount of hard work, and not just inborn ability. Some of the key insights: 1. More practice, by itself, does not necessarily yield better performance. In fact, in some disciplines, it can actually hurt performance: e.g., doctors get worse at reading x-rays over time, auditors get worse at spotting fraud. The key to achieving elite performance is actually *deliberate* practice, which has the following features: - It's designed specifically to stretch your abilities. Usually, you need an expert teacher or coach to do the designing. - It allows for a high volume of practice. This book repeats much of the content from Malcom Gladwell's "Outliers" about needing ~10,000 hours or ~10 years of deliberate practice to achieve mastery. One interesting new tidbit was the idea of "10 years of silence": even for the world's best-known artists, writer, musicians, and poets, it almost always took at least 10 years of producing work that was largely ignored before they were finally able to produce something that got world-wide attention. - It provides clear, rapid feedback. You must be able to tell if you're improving. - It's hard and typically unpleasant work. If it was easy and fun, everyone would be doing it; if you can learn to tolerate this unpleasantness, it becomes a huge competitive advantage. - There is task-specific practice (e.g., playing football) and general-purpose "conditioning" (e.g., weight lifting and running). People often think conditioning only applies to sports, but it's important in all disciplines. For example, if you are an entrepreneur, doing deliberate practice with arithmetic, physics, and economics can provide general-purpose conditioning for your mind that helps you succeed at building a business. 2. Understanding the role off deliberate practice is especially important in the modern world, as the level of performance in most disciplines is higher today than ever before. - Sports records are constantly being broken. Just today, Eliud Kipchoge ran the marathon in under 2 hours. - The amount of knowledge it takes to reach the edge of a discipline (e.g., a PhD) is greater than ever before. - The complexity of music that top performers can play (e.g., violin concertos) and the ability of chess grand masters exceed anything that we've seen in the past. 3. The book presents many studies that show that in-born talent seems to play very little role in elite performance. - For examples, studies of world-class musicians showed that the best performers showed no particular signs of excelling earlier in life, nor any ability to acquire skills faster. - In fact, the best performers spent *more* time than everyone else practicing, and in particular, far more time doing deliberate practice. 4. The typical response to this is, "but what about Mozart?" It turns out that much of what we know about Mozart was a myth or misrepresented. - Mozart did produce compositions at an early age, but his father was a composer who started training him at age 3, and it was the father who transcribed—and likely improved—all those early compositions. - Moreover, none of those early compositions are considered particularly original or great; Mozart's 1st masterpiece (the 9th concerto) came at age 21, at which point he had been practicing for more than 18 years. - The famous letter where Mozart claims to come up with entire pieces purely in his head, and then merely jot them down later, was apparently a total forgery. In reality, Mozart wrote, rewrote, tinkered, and edited pieces over and over again, just like everyone else. 5. Much of world-class ability comes from building a massive body of knowledge and the ability to access that knowledge quickly. This allows experts to see the world differently than non-experts. - For example, chess grand masters are familiar with 10-100x more chess positions than non experts, so every time they see a board, they can efficiently catalog it in relation to all this knowledge. This is why they can play 20 chess games in parallel and remember what's happening in each one. It's not that their memory is better in general. In fact, studies show that while chess masters can memorize real-world chess positions far better than normal people, if you show them completely randomized chess positions, the memory of chess masters is no better than that of anyone else. - Tennis professionals can return 150 mph serves not because their reflexes are that much faster than normal people, but because they can guess where the serve is going based on the opponents body movement, long before the ball is hit. - The business world has found that general-purpose business leaders and managers don't really work. To be successful, you typically need to hire leaders with deep domain-specific knowledge. 6. The book then moves on to discuss what motivates the world's best performers to be able to do the intense amount of deliberate practice it takes to achieve greatness. - The book repeats much of the content we know about on extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation, and how, somewhat counter-intuitively, extrinsic motivation can reduce creativity. Dan Pink's books do a better job of presenting this content. - One new item in this book is the idea that some types of extrinsic motivation—those that reinforce intrinsic motivation—can actually bolster creativity. Examples: recognizing someone for their work and confirming their competence; constructive, non-threatening, work-focused (not person focused) feedback; rewards that provide more time or freedom to work on things you find intrinsically motivating. - Another new tidbit for me was the idea of the "multiplier effect." One possibility for why elite performers are driven to do deliberate practice is that it's genetic. But another possible explanation is the multiplier effect, where, due to more or less random chance (e.g., due to a small genetic advantage, or being slightly more mature, or better parenting), someone performs slightly better at an early stage in life; the result is that they get praise, which is motivational; this leads them to practice slightly more; which leads to an even better performance the next time; which leads to more praise; and so on. So a tiny little advantage can be the trigger for a powerful cycle that gradually grows into a habit of deliberate practice.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Constantine

    I couldn't put it down...(although the sections devoted to acheiving world class excellence in the coprporate realm did drag ...revelatory of my lack of interest in the business of business). It is a very straightforward read: competent prose, a degree of it researh based,that provides insight into what separates those elite individuals at the very top of their chosen fields (golf, football,sales,music,chess,invention,chairmanship of mega corporations,comedy,physics,medical analysis, etc). Colvi I couldn't put it down...(although the sections devoted to acheiving world class excellence in the coprporate realm did drag ...revelatory of my lack of interest in the business of business). It is a very straightforward read: competent prose, a degree of it researh based,that provides insight into what separates those elite individuals at the very top of their chosen fields (golf, football,sales,music,chess,invention,chairmanship of mega corporations,comedy,physics,medical analysis, etc). Colvin's main point...talent is,overrated (title is the premise)! The real secret lies in the concept of deliberate practice...for at least 10,000 total hours. Before you run out and begin your 20 hour a week,decade long regimen of practice...make absolutely sure you know exactly what subsets of skills are necessary to your endeavor...otherwise you're just spinning your wheels.It is not the practicing per se that is essential,it is the kind of practice you do. Tangentally,your prime years are probably between the ages of 8-18 (unless you are going to trump the genius /physicists of the world in their accomplishments). The role of parenting and,after that,the luxury of having world class mentors,coaches and teachers is a biggie,too...although you can get better at your obsession with age,which is a comfort to those of us that did not grow up in an ideal genius-producing environment,have a dad uniquely disposed and prepared for his role in raising a phenom (Tiger Woods) and are way past the age of 18. You'll also need that will-o-the-wisp called intrinsic motivation (Colvin does offer some interesting insight on the slippery psychology of that human trait).You might want to prepare yourself for the ugly side of this kind of pursuit of greatness (narcissism, ego centrism amd narrowness can play a role in your development of world class ranking....and probably,divorce. As a Junior High teacher,I,somewhat quixotically, try to instill the Three "D's" in my students:Desire Dedication,and Discipline. Colvin's book gave me more food for thought on role these essential dimensions of the human psyche play in fostering greatness. In his final paragraphs,Colvin states that: "Ultimately,we cannot get to the very heart of this matter; we cannot explain fully and generally why certain people put themselves through the years or decades of punishing, intensive daily work that eventually makes them world-class great. We've reached the point where we are left without guidance from the scientists and must proceed by looking in the only place we have left, which is within ourselves." Good read for anyone that aspires to greatness,wants to be better at something, admires greatness,teaches or mentors,is in a leadership position, has children.

  12. 5 out of 5

    E

    Telling examination of the power of practicing Author Geoff Colvin rejects the popular notion that the genius of a Tiger Woods, a Mozart or a Warren Buffett is inborn uniquely to only a few individuals. He cites research that refutes the value of precocious, innate ability and he provides numerous examples of the intensely hard work that high achievement demands. Best performers’ intense, “deliberate practice” is based on clear objectives, thorough analysis, sharp feedback, and layered, systemati Telling examination of the power of practicing Author Geoff Colvin rejects the popular notion that the genius of a Tiger Woods, a Mozart or a Warren Buffett is inborn uniquely to only a few individuals. He cites research that refutes the value of precocious, innate ability and he provides numerous examples of the intensely hard work that high achievement demands. Best performers’ intense, “deliberate practice” is based on clear objectives, thorough analysis, sharp feedback, and layered, systematic work. getAbstract finds that Colvin makes his case clearly and convincingly. He shows readers how to use hard work and deliberate practice to improve their creative achievements, their work and their companies. The author’s argument about the true nature of genius is very engaging, but, in the end, he makes it clear that the requirements of extraordinary achievement remain so stringent that society, after all, turns out to have very few geniuses. Colvin admits that the severe demands of true, deliberate practice are so painful that only a few people master it, but he also argues that you can benefit from understanding the nature of great performance. Perhaps, he says, the real gift of genius is the capacity for determined practice. You can improve your ability to create and innovate once you accept that even talent isn’t a free ticket to great performance. It takes work.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Robyn Blaber

    Well, I think I could have written this book and made it a lot shorter. 3 stars is perhaps low considering that the research was good... and that I agree with the author's findings. It's just that the conclusion was obvious. How do you advance to a world class at some skill? Malcolm Gladwell explained that in his book outliers; simply spend 10,000 hours at a thing. You'll become a master. Colvin points out that many people spend years... 10,000 hours plus at a task, however they never achieve wor Well, I think I could have written this book and made it a lot shorter. 3 stars is perhaps low considering that the research was good... and that I agree with the author's findings. It's just that the conclusion was obvious. How do you advance to a world class at some skill? Malcolm Gladwell explained that in his book outliers; simply spend 10,000 hours at a thing. You'll become a master. Colvin points out that many people spend years... 10,000 hours plus at a task, however they never achieve world-class mastery of their skill. What is the difference between these mediocre performers and their world-class contempararies? The difference here is boiled down to "deliberate practice". The kind of practice or training that focuses on individual aspects of a certain skill. Every sports practitioner and musician knows about this kind of practice as do I. Colvin makes a case for using deliberate practice in other fields as well, business and science. It's a strong argument and as a former musician, I found it easy to agree with his idea strongly... but he could have stated it in a single chapter. That being said, my review will save you the time of reading this book. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? (Deliberate) Practice!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    There have been a number of books lately that attempt to disabuse us of the myth of talent -- that some people are born gifted, like Mozart or Tiger Woods. When you look into the details of such cases, you almost always find a passionate parent, a good understanding of the field of expertise, and hours and hours of practice. Both Mozart and Woods had all of these. Colvin asks us to replace the idea that people are born gifted with the idea that anyone who's willing to put in the time can do wond There have been a number of books lately that attempt to disabuse us of the myth of talent -- that some people are born gifted, like Mozart or Tiger Woods. When you look into the details of such cases, you almost always find a passionate parent, a good understanding of the field of expertise, and hours and hours of practice. Both Mozart and Woods had all of these. Colvin asks us to replace the idea that people are born gifted with the idea that anyone who's willing to put in the time can do wonders. He advocates the principle (developed elsewhere) of deliberate practice, which means focusing on the stuff you don't do well, and crunching it endlessly until you get better. Doesn't sound like fun, but then greatness rarely is. Even the Beatles put in thousands of hours of practice in German clubs, fueled by amphetamines, beer, and cigarettes, catcalled by the crowd, and occasionally hit with physical estimations of their abilities -- like beer bottles thrown by angry audience members. You get good by getting good. Get to work or give up and watch TV. It's your choice. An unpopular point of view, to be sure, for everyone except perhaps Tiger mothers.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    "Expanding on a landmark cover story in Fortune, a top journalist debunks the myths of exceptional performance." I think anytime I read that a book is an expansion of an article, I should just read the article. I liked this book but I think I could have gotten as much out of the short version. It's similar to Malcolm Gladwell's theory about how people need 10,000 hours of practice to become exceptional, which is something I think about a lot. This author, Colvin, talks about "deliberate practice "Expanding on a landmark cover story in Fortune, a top journalist debunks the myths of exceptional performance." I think anytime I read that a book is an expansion of an article, I should just read the article. I liked this book but I think I could have gotten as much out of the short version. It's similar to Malcolm Gladwell's theory about how people need 10,000 hours of practice to become exceptional, which is something I think about a lot. This author, Colvin, talks about "deliberate practice" which is a specific kind of professionally designed, not fun, practice that creates world-class professionals/artists/performers. It helps to have dedicated parents to get you started on your skill early in life and you have to work ridiculously hard but Colvin's assertion is that most "geniuses" had/have a perfect combination of tutelage and hard work more than an inborn talent that creates world-class results.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mario Tomic

    Amazing book, after you read it, any limiting beliefs you have about innate abilities as an excuse not to putting in the required effort will disappear from your mind. You'll discover the truth of success behind the so called naturally "gifted" individuals such as Mozart or Tiger Woods. This book is really motivating to read, it reveals the correct mindsets on how to achieve mastery in a certain field and become a high performer. I highly recommend this book to you, it will open your mind to new Amazing book, after you read it, any limiting beliefs you have about innate abilities as an excuse not to putting in the required effort will disappear from your mind. You'll discover the truth of success behind the so called naturally "gifted" individuals such as Mozart or Tiger Woods. This book is really motivating to read, it reveals the correct mindsets on how to achieve mastery in a certain field and become a high performer. I highly recommend this book to you, it will open your mind to new ideas and give you understanding of the worlds highest achievers throughout history.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    I read this as a primer to the study of expertise, which is something I'd like to learn more about academically. So my rating of 3 stars is more a reflection of my intrinsic interest in the topic than the quality of the book. As a piece of writing and reporting, I'd put it at 2 stars--Colvin is at his best when he is explaining Anders Ericsson's research, but a bit out of his depth when he tries to draw independent conclusions. Like several popularizations of social psychology theories I've read I read this as a primer to the study of expertise, which is something I'd like to learn more about academically. So my rating of 3 stars is more a reflection of my intrinsic interest in the topic than the quality of the book. As a piece of writing and reporting, I'd put it at 2 stars--Colvin is at his best when he is explaining Anders Ericsson's research, but a bit out of his depth when he tries to draw independent conclusions. Like several popularizations of social psychology theories I've read, there is one great idea that has been mostly expressed within 100 pages. I was glad Colvin included a section on 'flow' at the end, because one of the main tenets of his early chapters is that deliberate practice is "not fun." Flow directly contradicts this, providing evidence that people often enjoy the rigors of practice. Colvin didn't take the time to edit out his earlier note about fun, but at least he takes into account another research perspective. I was also bothered by a hypothesis he suggests later on that we can develop child prodigies by praising children before they have done well. I understand his logic--children who are praised often practice more and become more motivated because of the praise, and there is a temptation to want to jump-start the virtuous circle of practice -> praise -> practice with a careful praise intervention. However, as the self-esteem movement has taught us, praise disconnected from performance creates a culture that is afraid of failure, expects positive assessment without effort, and seriously impairs the natural ability of children--and adults--to learn from their mistakes. But that is a small section, and I'm nitpicking. The best part of the book was the thrill of the first 100 pages--where Ericsson's incredible research shines through and readers are instilled with a passion for hard work as a method of betterment. After reading this, I was inspired to go out and take notes on how I would be able to practice everything I wanted to learn. The distinction between simple repetition or homework and deliberate practice--with its properties of feedback, focus on skills, and continual mental focus--also helps explain what a good practice regimen should involve. If I were to recommend this book, I would tell people just to read the first 100 pages and skim any other chapters that seem interesting. But I would recommend those first 100 pages.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    The title of this book should be 'Talent is Irrelevant,' as that's essentially the author's argument. I guess he wanted to hedge his bets, and he does grudgingly acknowledge (in the last few pages) that innate capacities *may* play some role in performance, particularly in regard to physical skills. But his constant assertion, which runs very much contrary to popular belief, is that there is no real evidence for innate or genetic abilities playing any role in the success of world-class performer The title of this book should be 'Talent is Irrelevant,' as that's essentially the author's argument. I guess he wanted to hedge his bets, and he does grudgingly acknowledge (in the last few pages) that innate capacities *may* play some role in performance, particularly in regard to physical skills. But his constant assertion, which runs very much contrary to popular belief, is that there is no real evidence for innate or genetic abilities playing any role in the success of world-class performers. What these performers do have in common is--surprise!--practice, and lots of it. Not just any practice, though; the key is what he terms 'deliberate practice'--the kind where you ruthlessly identify your weaknesses, then mindfully and persistently improve them with well-designed practice, then repeat that process for (ideally) many hours every day over a long period of time. It's the kind of practice that generally isn't any fun, which is why so few people do it in first place, much less stick with it over the long haul. The elite among us--those who are often seen as being touched by some 'divine spark,' somehow fundamentally more talented than us mere mortals--are simply those who have managed to stay in that 'deliberate practice' zone long enough. The author cites luminaries mainly from sports and music--Jerry Rice, Tiger Woods, Yo-Yo Ma, Mozart--but his goal (as a writer from Fortune magazine) is to encourage business people to embrace the deliberate practice model. It's a worthwhile read for anyone, though (I'm a musician), even if it is the sort of book that can easily be boiled down to a few words ("Forget talent: just practice a lot, and practice well."). His point is that great performance is available to *anyone* who is willing to put in the work; I found that very encouraging, and his examples inspiring. It renewed my drive to make the most out of the limited practice time I have by focusing relentlessly on my squeaky wheels (I have a lot of them) and setting specific, attainable goals for myself, not just a general aim of "getting better," which is too vague and open-ended to get my butt in the practice chair with any kind of determination. For that alone, this book was well worth the time.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    A continuation of the discussion I first read about in Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: The Story Of Success - are high-achieving performers naturally talented or is it the result of hard work? Talent Is Overrated sides with Gladwell in that hard work is the defining bit and pure, native talent is truly hard to find, but it goes farther in examining the type of hard work necessary to produce greatness, specifically, "deliberate practice": identifying weak areas and following a comprehensive plan to A continuation of the discussion I first read about in Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: The Story Of Success - are high-achieving performers naturally talented or is it the result of hard work? Talent Is Overrated sides with Gladwell in that hard work is the defining bit and pure, native talent is truly hard to find, but it goes farther in examining the type of hard work necessary to produce greatness, specifically, "deliberate practice": identifying weak areas and following a comprehensive plan to improve those weaknesses and improve overall performance. This is easy(-ier) to do - not easy, but easier - in sports and music, fields with fairly narrowly-defined competencies and obvious end goals: throw the ball, run the ball, perform the music. These fields also often have a readliy-available supply of "coaches," third party observers who understand the field and can apply a critical eye to performance and weaknesses. It gets harder when you try to apply it to other occupations that have much more nebulously-defined skills and goals. Colvin does a good job of making the case for deliberate practice, an okay job of explaining what it is and how to utilize it, but then spends a lot of time trying to make a business case for it at the executive and corporate level, and these last bits weaken the book, in my opinion, because right now the challenge is to figure out how to apply these principles at all on an individual level, not how to do it for groups, which is that much harder. So, three stars - it could use more detail on how individuals could apply this in their lives. But still very interesting and worthwhile.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Naumann

    A marvellous exposition on the realities of motivation and excellence. Colvin masterfully highlights how exceptional performers are distinct from average ones. Many people often use the excuse of talent as a foundation for excellence and Colvin explains how this is simply not the case. He argues that exceptional performance is achieved by deliberate practice - practice which forces one outside of their comfort zone. Though it sounds straightforward, there are some caveats to this form of practic A marvellous exposition on the realities of motivation and excellence. Colvin masterfully highlights how exceptional performers are distinct from average ones. Many people often use the excuse of talent as a foundation for excellence and Colvin explains how this is simply not the case. He argues that exceptional performance is achieved by deliberate practice - practice which forces one outside of their comfort zone. Though it sounds straightforward, there are some caveats to this form of practice. It will require: intense concentration, a mentor and finally an individual who must be willing to exhaust their time and ego. There are some points to bear in mind. Colvin argues that due to the nature of deliberate practice, an individual can only master exceptional performance in one field. This is however not the case, we often see, particularly in academia people who have mastered many disciplines. The question of motivation is a difficult one to answer and Colvin is successful to some degree, though due to the nature of the topic some gaps still remain. Finally, Colvin places a great deal of emphasis on starting early and often uses the example of exceptional musicians who have been practising x amount of hours from a young age. This often leaves the reader in despair regretting the many idle hours they have wasted! Nonetheless, I believe this is a book still very much applicable to anyone, of any age and in any field.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Highly recommended book about how to achieve a high level of performance in any field or endeavor. The author refutes the notion of talent and the idea that we are born with abilities and predispositions that allow to to excel in some areas (math, music, sports, etc) relative to others. The thesis of the book is essentially to prove the saying that "perfect practice makes perfect" and he builds on Malcolm Gladwell's idea in "Outliers" that you need 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at Highly recommended book about how to achieve a high level of performance in any field or endeavor. The author refutes the notion of talent and the idea that we are born with abilities and predispositions that allow to to excel in some areas (math, music, sports, etc) relative to others. The thesis of the book is essentially to prove the saying that "perfect practice makes perfect" and he builds on Malcolm Gladwell's idea in "Outliers" that you need 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at anything. Colvin says you need 10,000 hours of perfect practice. This book was a good mixture of anecdotes, common sense and scientific studies. The author would likely have a problem with some gospel principles like spiritual gifts and patriarchal blessings. I listened to this book while running and on the bus over the course of three or four days and recommend it to anyone with an interest in the subject.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Paulin

    This book was extremely inspiring for me. I can take ideas from Talent Is Overrated and apply it to almost every aspect of my life. I can apply it to my life as a career woman, learning new skills as a senior leader, all the way to the fitness journey I am currently on. It explores the idea that we can learn almost anything we set our minds to, and that perhaps the "talented" have really done just that! As someone who has never been naturally athletic, or graceful, or poised...This is great news This book was extremely inspiring for me. I can take ideas from Talent Is Overrated and apply it to almost every aspect of my life. I can apply it to my life as a career woman, learning new skills as a senior leader, all the way to the fitness journey I am currently on. It explores the idea that we can learn almost anything we set our minds to, and that perhaps the "talented" have really done just that! As someone who has never been naturally athletic, or graceful, or poised...This is great news to me. Talent Is Overrated also gives great advice on HOW you can develop these "talents" and keep them developed, such as going back to the basics of your particular skill periodically. I loved this book and will likely read it again when I feel like I need to "get back to the basics". Great read!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sunny

    Impressive and loved this. The book talks about what it says on the tin. The key premise of the book is that talent is overrated and that each one of us has the foundations to build excellence into what we do and through hard work and dedication (nod to Money Mayweather). This talks a little bit more than the 10,000-hour rule and has some really interesting insights. I link this to some of the work I did at Gallup with strengths. The strengths philosophy says that we all have super highways of t Impressive and loved this. The book talks about what it says on the tin. The key premise of the book is that talent is overrated and that each one of us has the foundations to build excellence into what we do and through hard work and dedication (nod to Money Mayweather). This talks a little bit more than the 10,000-hour rule and has some really interesting insights. I link this to some of the work I did at Gallup with strengths. The strengths philosophy says that we all have super highways of talent which turn into strengths once we start dedicating time to them through deliberate practise. Colvin also talks about the myelinisation of the neurones which is another huge area of interest for me when it comes to strengths, skills and talent. Well worth the read. Here are some of the best parts: • Leopold (Mozart’s father) was well qualified for his role as little Wolfgang’s teacher by more than just his own eminence. He was deeply interested in how music was taught to children. While Leopold was only a so-so as a musician he was highly accomplished as a pedagogue. His authoritative book on violin instruction published the same year Wolfgang was born remained influential for decades. • The Czech master Richard Reti once played 29 blindfolded games of chess simultaneously. Afterwards he left his briefcase at the exhibition site and commented on what a poor memory he had. Miguel Najdorf a polish Argentinian grand m/aster played 45 blindfolded games simultaneously in Sao Paolo in 1947. • Solitary practise was number 1 with a bullet. (The game is won or lost far away from witnesses as Muhammad Ali once said). They all knew it but they didn’t all do it. Though the violinists understood the importance of practise alone, the amount of time the actual groups practised alone differed dramatically. The top 2 groups the best and better violinists, practised by themselves about 23 hours a week on average. The third group the good violinists practised by themselves only 9 hours a week. • Top performers repeat their practise activities to a stultifying extent. Ted Williams baseball’s greatest hitter would practise hitting until his hands bled. Pete Maravich whose college basketball record still stands after more than 30 years would go to the gym when it opened in the morning and shoot basketballs until it closed at night. An extreme and instructive example is golfer Moe Norman who played from the 1950s to the 1970s and never amounted to much on the pro tour because for reasons of his own he was never interested in winning competitions. He was just interested in hitting golf balls consistently well and at this he may have been the greatest ever. His practise routine from age 16-32 involved hitting 800 balls a day, 5 days a week. • Laszlo and Klara devoted their lives to teaching Susan chess and when 2 more daughters followed – Sophia and Judit – they were put into the programme as well. All three daughters were home-schooled - their parents quit their jobs to devote themselves to their work – and the schooling consisted largely of chess instructions. The family accumulated a library of 10,000 chess books (wtf ! – do 10,000 chess books even exist? Lol) A giant pre-computer age system filing system of index cads catalogued previous games and potential opponents. The daughters learned other subjects as well – the Hungarian authorities insisted that they all pass regular exams in school subjects and all three daughters spoke several languages. But chess was the main thing – hours and hours of it every day. • Top performers understand their field at a higher level than average performers do and thus have a superior structure for remembering information about it. • Benjamin Franklin would rewrite spectator essays in verse. Then after he had forgotten them he would take his versified essays and rewrite them in prose again comparing his efforts with the original. • Charles Coffin, CEO from 1892 to 1912, realised that GE’s real products weren’t lightbulbs or electric motors but business leaders; developing them has been the company’s focus ever since. • At Worthington industries the Ohio based steel processor, when an employee is hired to join a plant floor team he works for a 90-day probationary period after which the team determines his fate by vote. It works because much of the teams pay is at risk, based on performance, so team members are clear eyed and unsparing in evaluating a new candidates contribution. • Its Mary’s birthday. Sing her a song. Without another word of instruction, the group immediately sings happy birthday to Mary. Then Benjamin Zander (conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra) says “well that was very good, but you know I think you can do it better. Now please sing it again but better. Go! … complete silence. • Give your brain the right kind of training – for example by making it do 2 things at once – and plasticity will increase in the regions that normally show the greatest atrophy in years. • A different explanation forwarded by winner and some other researchers is the reverse. Instead of compulsive practise producing high ability, high ability leads to compulsive practise. • If the drive to excel develops rather than appearing fully formed, then how does it develop? Several researchers have separately proposed a mechanism that suggest an answer. Part of its appeal is that it helps explain why some people but not others develop high level skills and at the same time develop the increasing motivation needed to do ever more advanced work – it’s called the multiplier effect.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Always have to remember to have purposeful practice time!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hank

    This is how I like my non-fiction! This was a very focused discussion on what makes world-class performers world-class. This was an extremely well researched book, lots and lots of examples from chess players, to musicians to athletes to scientists. Just to sum it up, practice, practice, practice! Although you might think you don't need to read the book now, the way these performers practice and the environments they come out of make a huge difference. There were, inevitably, parts where Colvin This is how I like my non-fiction! This was a very focused discussion on what makes world-class performers world-class. This was an extremely well researched book, lots and lots of examples from chess players, to musicians to athletes to scientists. Just to sum it up, practice, practice, practice! Although you might think you don't need to read the book now, the way these performers practice and the environments they come out of make a huge difference. There were, inevitably, parts where Colvin got lost in the weeds but very few. I would have also liked a bit of discussion on how these hours of practice and focus might help non-world-class performers of which there are far more but that would have made a book twice as long and not as good. Highly recommended for everyone, world-class hopefuls or the rest of us who would just like to be good at whatever our passion is.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tessa

    Not a bad book, but sadly I've heard it all before and it doesn't have a lot of tangible examples, or that is just how I felt. It was a little boring :( . Not a bad book, but sadly I've heard it all before and it doesn't have a lot of tangible examples, or that is just how I felt. It was a little boring :( .

  27. 5 out of 5

    Richard Perez

    A book that was discussed amongst peers before the actual read, everything I believed about the topic was portrayed with plenty of anecdotes. Enjoyed it through and through and would recommend to anyone as a quick, fantastic read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chris Wolak

    I have a two hour commute each day and usually listen to free podcasts about books or running, but I recently discovered that I can download audio books for free from the library via My Media Mall. I have a hard time with audio books because the reader's voice and performance can quickly kill a book for me. Its all I can do right now to restrain myself from boring you with stories of bad audio books past. I'm still traumatized by an especially horrific Moby Dick experience. Suffice it to say now I have a two hour commute each day and usually listen to free podcasts about books or running, but I recently discovered that I can download audio books for free from the library via My Media Mall. I have a hard time with audio books because the reader's voice and performance can quickly kill a book for me. Its all I can do right now to restrain myself from boring you with stories of bad audio books past. I'm still traumatized by an especially horrific Moby Dick experience. Suffice it to say now that David Drummond, the reader of Talent is Overrated, is a decent reader. Geoff Colvin takes on the age-old assumption that people who are the 'great leaders' of their field arrive on earth with an inborn talent. Greatness isn't destiny or DNA, rather it boils down to decades of intentional practice and sacrifice at the level that most of us are not willing to make. Colvin writes for Fortune magazine and points out that many people typically think about greatness in sports and music, but not business. Although we know athletes and musicians are trained and coached, we also make the assumption that they have an inborn talent for their sport or instrument when really, they don't. Colvin identifies four factors that contribute to great performance: 1. Years of intentional practice 2. Analysis of your results 3. Learning from your mistakes 4. Coaching by progressively more advanced teachers Two examples that Colvin discusses are Mozart and Tiger Woods. Both men are thought to have an inborn natural talent, but by looking at their histories Colvin identifies many similarities: both men were introduced to music/golf at extremely young ages, both had fathers who were teachers in their respective fields, and both spent years focused on very intentional practice before most of their peers even started to learn music/golf. By the time Mozart and Tiger Woods were teens, they already had over ten years of intense training and intentional practice and so looked like wizards compared to the other boys and girls their age. I've read bits of Malcolm Gladwell's The Outliers, which also came out in 2008, and his idea of 10,000 hours of practice to achieve greatness seems to be in line with Colvin's findings. I know this topic of greatness and how to achieve it is as old as the hills, but the big take away from Colvin's book for me is the idea of intentional practice, of really breaking things down into small bits and practicing that. For example, when hobbyist golfers practice, they'll go to the driving range and hit their standard 100-300 balls. Tiger Woods, on the other hand, goes to a sand pit, places a ball on the sand, steps on it, and then practices getting out of that situation. He may rarely find himself in that predicament during a tournament, but its those little details that can bring huge rewards. Colvin wonders about using the Mozart/Woods model to mentor and train future business leaders, which is completely possible. He points out, however, that it might be hard to handle a leader of a large-scale business who is a teen. In that context socialization plays a huge role. We are social creatures and although leadership is found at all ages, it does take significant years of life experience to refine one's leadership ability in order to lead adults for a sustained period of time. This subject made me think about the myths surround Mozart's maturity (or lack, thereof) as well as Tiger Wood's recent interpersonal problems. It is this psycho-social aspect of greatness that I find fascinating, but it is not Colvin's focus. Long story short: if you're not yet great, go out and find a teacher to challenge your current level of proficiency and then practice, practice, practice--intentionally--for at least ten years. Oh, and a supportive family would be nice, too. Good luck, and may The Force be with you!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    When looking at the greats in a field, particularly artistic and athletic fields, people tend to focus on the prodigies. Mozart was composing as a child. Tiger Woods was golfing as a toddler. People tend to assume they had some unnatural talent or passion that led them to greatness. In TALENT IS OVERRATED, Geoff Colvin shows why these stories are just myths. It’s practice not passion, testing not talent, that makes someone great. I first heard of TALENT IS OVERRATED in SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE Y When looking at the greats in a field, particularly artistic and athletic fields, people tend to focus on the prodigies. Mozart was composing as a child. Tiger Woods was golfing as a toddler. People tend to assume they had some unnatural talent or passion that led them to greatness. In TALENT IS OVERRATED, Geoff Colvin shows why these stories are just myths. It’s practice not passion, testing not talent, that makes someone great. I first heard of TALENT IS OVERRATED in SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU by Cal Newport (check out my review on this site). Newport suggests reading TALENT IS OVERRATED for a discussion of deliberate practice. Geoff Colvin summarizes a lot of studies to show that the best in a field aren’t necessarily the smartest; they don’t have the best memories; and their abilities weren’t innate. Instead, people become the best because they worked to be so–but in a very particular way: deliberate practice. So what is deliberate practice? Geoff Colvin writes that it’s a very specific form of practice that 1) is designed specifically to improve performance, 2) it can be repeated a lot, 3) feedback on results is continuously available, 4) it is highly demanding, and 5) it isn’t much fun. Geoff Colvin goes on to describe how businesses can apply the concept of deliberate practice towards creating future industry leaders. Geoff Colvin also shows the benefits of using deliberate practice to extend the longevity of your career beyond that of your peers. It’s an intriguing idea. Deliberate practice sounds dreadful, so, naturally, few people actually use it. Therefore, the few that do will jump ahead of their peers. But Geoff Colvin doesn’t really explain in a satisfying way what drives people to pursue deliberate practice over the course of years (it will likely take over ten years to become great, he says, by the way). And although he relies heavily on “Making of an Expert” by K. Anders Ericsson and others (Harvard Business Review, July 2007) he doesn’t explore as deeply Ericsson’s other requirements for becoming an expert: world class coaching and a supportive family. Therefore, while not as complete a discussion of the topic as I would have liked, on balance, this is a good book, full of useful advice. In particular, as a writer, I enjoyed his comments on Ben Franklin’s deliberate practice as a young writer, and I will start using some of his techniques myself. Check back in ten years for a status update. In the meantime, start reading this. Then (deliberate) practice, (deliberate) practice, (deliberate) practice.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Lewis Kozoriz

    "The differences between expert performers and normal adults reflect a lifelong period of deliberate effort to improve performance in a specific domain." (Geoff Colvin, Talent is Overrated) I listened to the audio book of this program through Amazon's Audible. This book was recommended by Donald Trump in one of his books. I can't remember the book, but I believe it was his most recent pre-election books. Therefore, this book is recommend by a high achiever and billionaire nevertheless. It had many "The differences between expert performers and normal adults reflect a lifelong period of deliberate effort to improve performance in a specific domain." (Geoff Colvin, Talent is Overrated) I listened to the audio book of this program through Amazon's Audible. This book was recommended by Donald Trump in one of his books. I can't remember the book, but I believe it was his most recent pre-election books. Therefore, this book is recommend by a high achiever and billionaire nevertheless. It had many insights that would be impossible to go in detail here. The following are two quotes that I took from this book: "Top performers perceive more. They understand the significance of indicators that average performers don't even notice." "Feedback is crucial for effective practice." There was tons of information and research explained to seek out the question to: why some people become world-class performers from mediocre performers or less skilled performers? "Deliberate Practice" was indicated as the answer to how these world-class performers got to where they are. Deliberate Practice is when a person possesses highly developed mental models of their domains and are always expanding and revising those models. He covers where these high-performers get the drive to exceed in their domain and shares many theories to explain this phenomenon. The good news is said in the last sentence of his book, it is: "Great performance is not reserved for a preordained few, it is available to you and to everyone." This gives one hope that you too can be a great performer and some of the theories and ideas in this book may take you to this destination if taken action on. Deliberate Practice is the key to becoming a world class performer. According to the author, Deliberate Practice is not easy, but very hard; however, these high achievers develop a passion for their domains and the author provides theories and research to how they obtain this passion and desire in their areas of high achievement.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.