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Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else chapter 1 Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, meaning Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, genre Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, book cover Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, flies Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else 614706962754b Expanding On A Landmark Cover Story In Fortune, A Top Journalist Debunks The Myths Of Exceptional PerformanceOne 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 DecadesAnd 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 GreatnessNow Colvin Has Expanded His Article With Much 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 ImprovedThis 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 In All You Do

10 thoughts on “Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

  1. says:

    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 developedand 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. says:

    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 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 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 engaging.

  3. says:

    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. says:

    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 equal opportunity than we thought, but most of us are not equal to its challenge.

  5. says:

    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 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

  6. says:

    It s a clever title, made me want to know , 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. says:

    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 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. says:

    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 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 voil 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 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.

  9. says:

    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 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.

  10. says:

    An interesting read that argues that deliberate practice is the single most important factor in elite performance far 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 time than everyone else practicing, and in particular, far 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 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 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 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 or less random chance e.g., due to a small genetic advantage, or being slightly 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 which leads to an even better performance the next time which leads to 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.

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