Talent is Overrated

What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else
by Geoff Colvin | Portfolio © 2008 · 228 pages

Colvin tells us talent is overrated. (As you may have gathered from the title. :) Where’s it at? 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, yo. That’s the bedrock on which greatness is developed. In this Note, we’ll check out The Mozart Myth (you think he was born great?! Think again!) to falling on your butt 20,000 times, and we’ll have fun seeing how we can create our own personal greatness.

“We tend to think we are forever barred from all manner of successes because of what we were or were not born with. The range of cases in which that belief is true turns out to be a great deal narrower than most of us think. The roadblocks we face seem to be mostly imaginary.”

~ Geoff Colvin from Talent Is Overrated

Geoff Colvin is Fortunes editor at large. He’s a great writer and his message in this quick-reading, brilliant book is simple: Talent is overrated. (Hence, the title. :)

If talent is overrated then what accounts for the successes of extraordinary performers?

In short: A lot of hard work. Over thousands of hours over many years. More accurately, a lot of what’s called “Deliberate Practice”—where we’re at our edge and consciously, intensely developing new skills.

Let’s check out a few of my favorite Big Ideas from the book on how we can create more outstanding performances in our own lives!

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About the author


Geoff Colvin

"Rethink leadership, achievement, & human possibility."