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Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else | [Geoff Colvin]

Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

One 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 decades.
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Publisher's Summary

One 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 decades.

And 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 greatness.

Now Colvin has expanded his article with much more 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 improved.

This 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 more in all you do.

©2008 Geoffrey Colvin; (P)2008 Tantor

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  •  
    Robert LAKEWOOD, CO, United States 05-25-11
    Robert LAKEWOOD, CO, United States 05-25-11
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    "Fascinating!"

    Very interesting book! A bit repetitive, but well worth the read. It was nice to see them discuss the ramifications of too much deliberate practice.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    greg SCHILLER PARK, ILLINOIS, United States 04-30-11
    greg SCHILLER PARK, ILLINOIS, United States 04-30-11 Member Since 2010
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    ""Engaging, good book ""

    i don't know who was first Gladwell in Outliers or Colvin in his book in this study but they are both good . Colvin in this book does show few new examples on the theory of "talent " i love the first chapters of this book because of all the examples that he brings to the table and you can verify them on your own, the second part of this book is more on a corporate level but still engaging over all its a nice gem in your library if you have one
    worth the effort !!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 10-14-09
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 10-14-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Very Good, solid information."

    Good, especially Chapter 5. As someone who has achieved a lot in my field, and as a teacher in the same field, I agree with a lot of the information presented.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ray Glendale, AZ, United States 09-19-09
    Ray Glendale, AZ, United States 09-19-09 Member Since 2008
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    "Out of Balance"

    Yet another book looking to top the unofficial "pedagogic" genre of the likes of Gladstone's "Blink."
    And just like Gladstone, this author takes good, solid information and weaves his own agenda through the narrative to produce something not entirely untrue, but so out of balance that it really cannot be taken seriously.

    "Talent's" first few chapters set the premise for the book, but it is unfortunately a false premise. Long story short, talent without practice and hard work is usually wasted, but the author sails past this well balanced and reasonable view and essentially makes the erroneous case that most kids could be the next Tiger Woods or Bill Gates if they were only given the same environment.


    17 of 42 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marc Florida,USA 06-24-11
    Marc Florida,USA 06-24-11
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    "I kept falling asleep!"

    This book should be in the $2.99 bargain box at your local bookstore. I never heard anyone ramble for 7 hours on what could have been said in probably 10 minutes. I already knew it was nurture not nature. And I also know it takes about 10,000 hrs of practice to become an expert at most things. So I need him to ramble on that being intrigued and interested in your sugbject is the true determining factor? Let me sum up the book for you and you can send me just 1 dollar. Find something you will stick to,but make sure you love it so much that you will enjoy practicing 'after" you become great as well." Thats the entire book. Dont waste your time on this. The really sad part of this is that it lets you know that most of us who are not obsessive people have no chance at being great at anything. Why? Because if we practice as long as the next expert, but our normal mind is also thinking about other enjoyable things, you cant be great. Why do you all think the class nerds who had no interest in girls, sports, or anything exciting always became the most successful. Life is a rigged game, is the only lesson Ive learned after 7 hours.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marion Atlanta, GA 01-29-09
    Marion Atlanta, GA 01-29-09
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    "A Modern Classic"

    A modern classic ...alone with, "Think and Grow Rich" a must have for those of us devoted to personal achievement.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce WINFIELD, WV, United States 06-12-11
    Bruce WINFIELD, WV, United States 06-12-11

    toprep

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    "Boring!"

    I am a highly motivated, highly paid Medical Device Sales Rep. I enjoy cutting edge self development books. This book was a huge disapointment. I found myself fast forwarding through a great deal of it.

    Save your money.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan spring,, TX, USA 08-17-09
    Bryan spring,, TX, USA 08-17-09 Member Since 2008
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    "Riveting"

    I've read a lot of performance based books, but this one is the best to date! Thorough, factual and focused...

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bradley Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada 03-04-10
    Bradley Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada 03-04-10
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    "Bad advice, faulty premise"

    He even mentions it, in the film industry actors are referred to as the "talent" he then states that what they are saying is a just a super generalized way of referring to any person working that specific job.

    This is extraordinarily wrong and quite frankly a little insultingly stupid. Actors and other performers are referred to as the talent BECAUSE they are unique and what they do CANNOT be done by any person off the street who simply 'deliberately' practices enough. He basically completely denies that there is any genetic human diversity as it relates to personality or ability in any aspect. Sensitivity is not a practicable human skill to be learned from a text book.

    He rests almost his entire case on a few specific activities that even he acknowledges can also be done by a robot. this book is completely out of touch and seems written more to give false hope to average joes. or to let people blame their parents for their own inability to be great in the activities they wish they were great in.

    Nobody believes that if you are talented in a specific area that your children are bound to also be talented in that same area. He is arguing against a point of view based on old eugenics beliefs held in the 13th century. Human traits can be passed on and dormant for hundreds of generations, he basically denies everything we have learned about the human genome in the last few decades. He states again and again that your genes don't make any difference and all that matters is your ability to torture yourself with countless hours of practice.

    I feel very sorry for the people who take the advice of this book and end up wasting their time because of it.

    16 of 53 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael garland, TX, USA 07-26-09
    Michael garland, TX, USA 07-26-09
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    "I can't recommend this book enough!"

    I truly believe you should spend the money for this audiobook. Listen carefully and try to apply to your life...worth the money!

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
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