I have two books I feel absolutely compelled to suggest you read; first, because they are simply great reads. Secondly, if the topics themselves interest you, you’ll find the knowledge and wisdom contained to be extremely beneficial to you. Today, we’ll look at…
Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin My only (and I do mean, only) complaint with this book is the title. It is missing one word. I believe that either “Inborn” or “Natural” should be placed before “Talent.” Because, what the book does, is totally explode the myths regarding why the highest achievers become the…well, highest achievers.
Colvin, the Senior Editor at Large at FORTUNE shows us, with immutable proof, that It is not natural talent. It is typically not a gift with which they were born.
I know, I can just hear your objections. In fact, I’m pretty sure they are similar to the ones I had.
“But, what about Mozart, Steve Ballmer, Tiger Woods (that’s not what I mean), teenage Olympic champions, mathematics whiz kids, young chess champions, a mid-20’s Nobel Prize winning physicist by the name of Einstein and others of that ilk? And, undeniably, there are those rare five-year olds doing some scarily amazing feats.
The author explains all of this and more. He had me about 99 percent persuaded until the very end…and then he won me over completely
I see the book’s main premise being that “Great performance doesn’t come from superior general abilities; it comes from specific skills that have been developed in a particular way over a long period of time.”
The particular way he is referring to is called, “Deliberate Practice.” And, as I sure you can imagine by now, there’s a lot more to it than simply deliberately deciding to practice.
Oh, you might be seeing a resemblance here to Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success, which, while I felt was amazingly well-written (Gladwell is brilliant and extraordinarily enjoyable author to read) I believe that some of his biases and “life premises” get in the way of his conclusions. When “push comes to shove” – and 10,000 hours of necessary work aside – in the end, Gladwell chalks up this kind of success as mainly a matter of luck and lucky breaks more than anything else.
Colvin, on the other hand, comes right out and tells us that extraordinary success is a choice, and that you can attain it, but you will pay a price for it, as well. And, that should be self-evident. That’s also not to say the price is bad or not worth it. It’s just a choice one has to make.
A bonus is that while the book focuses more on the individual, he brilliantly ties his findings to how corporate organizations can perform in a world-class manner, as well. And, of course, he backs this up with examples.
If you get the feeling I really appreciated what Mr. Colvin shared with his readers…you are correct!
In my next “Book Suggestion” be prepared to say “Bravo” to MAESTRO.