Talent Is Overrated

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March 2009

Career & Self-Development: Business Skills


Executive Book Summaries


Talent Is Overrated
What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else THE SUMMARY IN BRIEF
Few people are truly great at what they do. But why aren’t they? Why don’t they manage businesses like Jack Welch or play golf like Tiger Woods? Asked to explain why a few people truly excel, most of us offer one of two answers. The first is hard work. Yet hard workers aren’t always great. The other possibility is that the elite possess an innate talent for excelling in their field. The trouble is, scientific evidence doesn’t support the notion that specific natural talents make great performers. So what’s the real solution to the mystery of high performance? According to author Geoff Colvin, both the hard work and natural talent camps are wrong. What really makes all the difference is a highly specific kind of effort called “deliberate practice.” Based on extensive research, Talent Is Overrated shares the secrets of extraordinary performance and how to apply these principles to our lives and work. Colvin explains cutting-edge research and eye-opening facts that debunk the myth of innate talent. Most profoundly, Colvin shows that great performance isn’t reserved for a preordained few. The price may be high — but it is available to us all. by Geoff Colvin

What About Tiger?
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How Smart Do You Have to Be?
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What Deliberate Practice Is and Isn’t
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• The real source of great performance. • Why innate abilities are not necessarily indicative of great performance. • The true role of intelligence and memory in high achievement. • Why “deliberate practice” is the real method for achieving great performance. • How to apply the principles of great performance in your life. • How to apply the principles of great performance in your organization. Published by Soundview Executive Book Summaries, P.O. Box 1053, Concordville, PA 19331 USA © 2009 Soundview Executive Book Summaries • All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited. Concentrated Knowledge™ for the Busy Executive • www.summary.com Vol. 31, No. 3 (3 parts), Part 2, March 2009 • Order #31-06

How Deliberate Practice Works
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Applying the Principles in Our Lives
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Performing Great at Innovation
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How Organizations Blow It
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by Geoff Colvin The author: Geoff Colvin, senior editor at large for Fortune magazine, is one of America’s most respected journalists. He lectures widely and is the regular lead moderator for the Fortune Global Forum. A frequent television guest, Colvin also appears daily on the CBS Radio Network, reaching 7 million listeners each week. He co-anchored Wall Street Week on PBS for three years. Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Colvin, Copyright © 2008 by Geoffrey Colvin. Summarized by arrangement with Portfolio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 228 pages. $25.95. ISBN 978-1-59184-224-8. Summary copyright © 2009 by Soundview Executive Book Summaries, www.summary.com, 1-800-SUMMARY, 1-610-558-9495. For additional information on the author, go to http://wwwsummary.com.

The Mystery
The odds are that few if any of the people around you are truly great at what they do — awesomely, amazingly, world-class excellent. Why — exactly why — aren’t they? Why don’t they manage businesses like Jack Welch, or play golf like Tiger Woods, or play the violin like Itzhak Perlman? The hard truth is that virtually none of them has achieved greatness or come even close, and only a tiny few ever will. This is a mystery so commonplace that we scarcely notice it, yet it’s critically important to the success or failure of our organizations, the causes we believe in, and our own lives. Extensive research in a wide range of fields shows that many people not only fail to become outstandingly...
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