Another Excuse for Laziness is Removed

I absolutely love Geoff Colvin‘s book, Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else. The book delves much deeper into this subject and in a much smarter way than any I have read.  And trust me, I have read a ton of them.

Rather than the standard approach of falling into the camp of nature or nurture, Colvin offers some interesting insight. In recent years, the pendulum has swung away from the “divine spark” theory of what makes people successful over to the extreme “10,000 hours rule” popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers. Before you decide that Talent is Overrated is just another in the same camp, notice some major differences.

Colvin shows that it isn’t practice that makes perfect.  It is instead focuses on Deliberate Practice and shows that by working on specific functions and skills with the deliberate intention of improving that, you can become a master. He also points out that you have the ability to become talented in just about any discipline.  Yes, it takes hard work.  It takes deliberate work.

Another positive pointed out in the book is that while become a Grand Master at something is possible, it is not required. The majority of people do next to nothing to improve themselves in their career, personal lives, financial situations etc. Because of this, the bear attack theory holds true:

I don’t have to outrun the bear… I only have to outrun you.

The book shows clear steps to improve yourself in whatever discipline you choose. I especially like the talent of writing used as an example when Colvin showed Benjamin Franklin’s step-by-step process of becoming a world class writer.

This is a good book that not only will inspire you to improve, but then show you how to do it.

by Chris Doelle