Book Title: Talent Is Overrated
Author: Geoff Colvin
Genre: Personal Development
Sub-Topics: Organizational & Team Development, Success
First Edition: 2008
Published By: Penguin Books
A wonderful book that dispels the notions that great performance is somehow innate or “god given.” This book is a shining light for all great achievers and those who aspire to get better at what they are passionate about. Geoff Colvin Senior Editor for Fortune walks us through what truly builds world class performers into sheer spectacles worth watching.
What makes this book come alive is the sheer number of case studies, scientific research and examples that Colvin walks us through as we learn a few complex yet basic to understand concepts about high level performance. We learn up front through not only logic but empirical evidence how truly great performance is not simply hard work or a gift. From chess to sports to music and business Talent Is Overrated walks us through the many examples where these two explanations for achievement do not hold up.
We learn that world-class performance and what separates average performers from great performers is a concept called deliberate practice. I won’t go into exact details as to not spoil the crux of the message in the book but I will tell you that it is on hand what you would expect and on the other hand something entirely different. What is really interesting as well is how Colvin dives into how important or not important general intelligence (IQ) and memory are when it comes to high achievement. What I found remarkable in the book is how great performers can seemingly manipulate memory and intelligence through deliberate practice and domain knowledge.
I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of scientific information, case studies and real world examples given in this text. There are also a couple really good sections where Colvin dives into how to apply this across organizations and teams however I wish he would have spent some more time here.
This book is not for you if you are looking for an excuse for your lack of performance, however if you are looking for reinforcement that you can be great at anything if you apply enough hard deliberate practice over time, it is an exceptional read.
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