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Talent Is Overrated Audiobook

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

What Members Say

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Performance
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  •  
    Eric Vancouver, WA, United States 03-05-11
    Eric Vancouver, WA, United States 03-05-11 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book but it beats the idea to death"

    I really enjoyed listening to this book. However, you will hear the same topic through the entire thing from just slightly different angles. It has changed my life but it could have done so with far fewer pages.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Woodard Alexandria, VA 08-02-10
    Eric Woodard Alexandria, VA 08-02-10 Listener Since 2009
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    "Talent is Overrated, but this book isn't"

    I'm really glad I picked this book to listen too. It has lots of information that was new - the author did an excellent job of incorporating stories to make his points. It was a pleasure to listen to this book.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Palo Alto, CA United States 10-05-15
    David Palo Alto, CA United States 10-05-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Title says it all"

    Interesting, perhaps even compelling. I was concerned about some minor details including taking market capitalization too seriously as the "value" of a company, and taking seriously the future expectations of shareholders as something other than irrational predictions. Also, there are some of his business figures, including Donald Trump, that don't seem as amazing or talented as they might have a few years ago. Other than those quibbles, I think it's an interesting look at the concept of talent, and a clear breakdown of how performance is generated. Certainly a book coaches should give to their clients to stay in business. As an older man, I certainly see the usefulness of deliberate practice to maintain my skills, and am glad to know that research says I can still be productive and can learn.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Fremont, NE, United States 09-08-12
    Tim Fremont, NE, United States 09-08-12 Member Since 2014

    Computer Programmer and Worship Leader. Have enjoyed reading since my mom got me hooked on Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie prior to my teen years. My brother got me hooked on audio books after I started having a longer commute to work. Love a variety of genres.

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    "Very Thought Provoking - Even If You Disagree!"

    As a musician and former teacher who has heard the term "natural talent" thrown around quite a bit, this book challenged a lot of my beliefs about "inherent abilities". I'm not sure that the author changed my mind 100%, but it really made me think about things.

    A few highlights:

    1. The study on the violinists in German Universities who became either concert violinists or teachers was VERY interesting.

    2. The story about Jerry Rice and his "natural talent" was something I had never heard, but found fascinating.

    3. The estimation of how many hours it takes to master a skill seems to fit my experiences in the area of music.

    4. The suggestions for companies as to how best train employees may be a VERY good reason to read this book. Working in the corporate world as well, the authors suggestions ring true.

    Very well done - really makes you think about your presuppositions. Regardless of what your opinion is, this will give you a lot of food for thought AND can help make you more effective at the same time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janna Toronto, ON, Canada 05-18-12
    Janna Toronto, ON, Canada 05-18-12 Member Since 2011
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    "This book is overrated"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The author should be named Debbie Downer. I can't make it to the end of this piece but I gather that the bottom line is that there's no point aiming for greatness once you're past 20 because it's too late - you need all those childhood years to practice like a fiend. A surplus of sports examples make this book even worse. Newsflash: not everyone can relate to sports! Waste of a credit


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 03-29-12
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 03-29-12 Member Since 2009

    caffeinated

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    "Good Info, much of which I've read in other books."

    Maybe I've been saturated with information from the field of learning, performance, potential, brain function and mechanics, but almost everything in this book was not news to me. Still, it is well written and organized and some of the anecdotes and examples are worth hearing again. I would have chosen a less announcer-y narrator of this book, but that's a nit that probably isn't worth picking.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel 12-19-11
    Daniel 12-19-11

    Educator, Guitarist.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How to look at education"
    Where does Talent Is Overrated rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Colvin's take on how we learn and improve is central to improving education today. This is one of the more relevant subjects and successful titles I've heard.


    What other book might you compare Talent Is Overrated to and why?

    Dan Coyle's The Talent Code builds on Colvin's ideas. The idea that no one is born with innate ability can be easily refuted (after all, have you ever seen an infant slug a homer out of the ballpark?), but expanding on this idea by coupling deep practice (Coyle's term) or deliberate practice (Colvin's term for what is essentially the same thing) with master coaching and some sort of inspiration is what really makes this idea relevant to Education today.


    What does David Drummond bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Drummond performed well. I can't recall any mispronunciations (which should be almost unforgivable in this profession). I don't recall anything about the voice- I just remember the content of the audiobook, and I think this is the greatest compliment to the narrator: that his or her voice kind of disappears while the overall story remains in my memory is the point of an audiobook.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    As a high school teacher, I passionately agree with the notion that all kids can learn, that all children deserve the chance to be taught, and the next superstar could be any student who is taught how to practice something they love. The right inspiration, the right teaching, and some serious practicing are what it takes. The idea that kids either have it or they don't is a lazy, treasonous idea for a teacher to have.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AWeirdly 05-30-11
    AWeirdly 05-30-11

    jeangarydiablo

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    "it takes talent to write an interesting book..."

    ...and you won't find it here. This book lacks any sort of credibility. The author nit-picks studies for information he is looking for in order to support the title of this book. I found myself either bored or having a "you've got to be kidding me" moment while listening to this. This book will not enhance any sort of business skills or generate thought provoking innovation.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonnie Panama City, FL, United States 05-02-10
    Jonnie Panama City, FL, United States 05-02-10 Member Since 2014
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    "Interesting"

    This book is worth the listen. It is similar to Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. If you like this book try Gladwell's stuff.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken E. Labar CO, US 10-21-11
    Ken E. Labar CO, US 10-21-11 Member Since 2013

    trailRated

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    "Deliberately Repetative"

    The book is an entertaining listen and well read by Drummond. It tends to repeat the same thought over and over, which may be deliberate given the authors message of "deliberate practice". There were a few good ideas, such as "go back and study your foundations"; it is amazing how easy it is to lose knowledge that is not refreshed. Overall I enjoyed it, but I did have to play it at 1.5 speed to get passed the repetition (thank you Audible App).

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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