Talent is overrated: what really separates world-class performers from everybody else by Geoffrey Colvin

Talent is overrated: what really separates world-class performers from everybody else by Geoffrey Colvin (2010). This book presents a very simple idea which I like very much: Greatness is not necessarily the result of an innate gift or talent, buy the product of a large number of hours of hard work.  Here I just mention a few key points to summarize the book.

Greatness requires dedication and sacrifice and overall requires a lot of practice. Being great requires a huge amount of work. Many hours a day of dedicated, deliberate and focused practice. 

The author exposes examples taken from music performers, sports and finance tycoons to illustrate his thesis. All world-class top performers spend 5-10 years of deliberate practice before being considered the best of the best.

Desirable behaviours: energy, ability to energize, edge (decisiveness), ability to execute.

Deliberate  practice: Designed to improve, repeat a lot (high volume), feedback on results, it’s mentally demanding and is not fun.

Top performers: Look further ahead, know more from seeing less, make finer discriminations, building and developing knowledge, remember more, know where you want to go, what would you do in such and such situation, distinguish relevant information from irrelevant information, mental model to project what would happen next, develop teams not individuals.

For some reason this book made me remember Arnold Schwarzenegger’s book ‘Total Recall‘, where he repeatedly mentions that deliberate practice and high volume is what made his life a successful one. Not only as an athlete but in his professional life as governor. The multiple rehearsals of his speech to the United Nations are marked with bars at the top of the page as shown below:

Excerpt from Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger (2012).
I wanted to end this post with a song by C. Bartoli who is one of my favorite singers. In an interview she says her mother encouraged her to practice a lot to reach the full range of her voice and this is why I want to use this song to illustrate a book on discipline.

error: Content is protected !!
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap