Talent is Overrated Book Summary - Talent is Overrated Book explained in key points
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Talent is Overrated summary

What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

4.5 (118 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin challenges the popular belief that people are born with natural talent, arguing instead that deliberate practice is the key to excellence. The book offers practical guidance for anyone looking to develop their skills and achieve mastery in their field.

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    Talent is Overrated
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    Contrary to popular belief, neither inborn abilities nor experience alone determine extraordinary achievement.

    If you’re like most people, you spend most of your waking hours at work. And, like many others, you probably perform your work just fine without being world-class at it. For example, if you’re an accountant, you probably don’t rank among the very best at your job even if you’ve been crunching numbers eight hours a day for the past twenty years.

    So if we devote most of our waking hours to our jobs, why aren’t most of us amazing at what we do?

    Surprisingly, because extraordinary achievement isn’t determined by experience!

    Extensive research shows that many people don’t improve at their work even after many years of experience; in fact, some actually get worse as they gain experience.

    Studies have shown that experienced doctors score lower on tests of medical knowledge than their less experienced peers. This trend also seems to hold true across many other professions: the same goes for auditors detecting fraud and stockbrokers recommending stocks. Those with a wealth of experience often perform no better than their less experienced peers – and some perform even worse.

    And great achievement doesn’t derive from inborn talent, i.e., the natural ability to succeed more easily, either.

    This was shown in a study that sought out talented individuals, conducted in England in the 1990s. Researchers gathered vast amounts of data on 257 young people, all of whom had studied music. Surprisingly, they found that those who exhibited the greatest performance didn’t seem to have any more inborn talent than the other students!

    The top performers exhibited no signs of extraordinary achievement before they started their intensive music training, which would have otherwise indicated a natural talent. Nor did top performers benefit from greater gains with the same amount of practice, indicating that talent didn’t manifest itself in the form of rapid improvements, either.

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    What is Talent is Overrated about?

    Talent is Overrated explores the top performers in a number of fields to get at the bottom of just what makes them great. Contrary to what most of us intuitively think about skill, this book offers enticing evidence that top performance in any field are not determined by their inborn talent, but by deliberate efforts over many years.

    Talent is Overrated Review

    Talent is Overrated (2008) by Geoff Colvin delves into the concept of talent and challenges the notion that it is purely innate. Here are three reasons why this book is worth reading:

    • It presents a compelling argument backed by research that deliberate practice, not natural talent, is the key to extraordinary achievement.
    • Real-life examples and case studies of successful individuals demonstrate how anyone can develop exceptional skills through deliberate practice.
    • The book debunks common myths about talent and offers practical strategies for individuals to unlock their full potential and surpass their own limitations.

    Who should read Talent is Overrated?

    • Anybody who wants to discover the secrets of what makes a world-class performer
    • Anyone interested in applying the principles of great performance to their own life
    • Anyone who believes they “just aren’t cut out” for greatness in certain fields

    About the Author

    Geoff Colvin is an editor and columnist for Fortune, and a highly regarded commentator and lecturer on subjects like business trends and leadership. He also contributes daily with business commentary on the CBS Radio Network.

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    Talent is Overrated FAQs 

    What is the main message of Talent is Overrated?

    The main message of Talent is Overrated is that greatness is not solely determined by innate talent, but rather by deliberate practice and hard work.

    How long does it take to read Talent is Overrated?

    The reading time for Talent is Overrated depends on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Talent is Overrated a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Talent is Overrated is worth reading for anyone interested in understanding the true factors behind success. It challenges the notion of innate talent and provides actionable insights for achieving greatness.

    Who is the author of Talent is Overrated?

    The author of Talent is Overrated is Geoff Colvin.

    What to read after Talent is Overrated?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Talent is Overrated, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle
    • The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
    • Deep Thinking by Garry Kasparov
    • Move by Move by Maurice Ashley
    • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
    • Think This, Not That by Josh Axe
    • The Anxious Generation by Jonathan Haidt
    • How to Thrive in the Virtual Workplace by Robert Glazer with Mick Sloan
    • Do Hard Things by Steve Magness