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Talent is Overrated: What REALLY Separates World Class Performers from Everybody Else

Talent is Overrated: What REALLY Separates World Class Performers from Everybody Else

Paperback

By (author) Geoff Colvin

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  • Publisher: NICHOLAS BREALEY PUBLISHING
  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 228mm x 18mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 1 October 2009
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1857885198
  • ISBN 13: 9781857885194
  • Illustrations note: ill
  • Sales rank: 61,321

Product description

What if everything you know about raw talent, hard work, and great performance is wrong? Few, if any, of the people around you are truly great at what they do. But why aren't they? Why don't they manage businesses like Jack Welch or Andy Grove, play golf like Tiger Woods or play the violin like Itzhak Perlman? Asked to explain why a few people truly excel, most of us offer one of two answers: hard work or a natural talent. However, scientific evidence doesn't support the notion that specific natural talents make great performers. Expanding on one of the most popular Fortune articles in years, with much more scientific research and real-life examples, 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. This 'deliberate practice' isn't the kind of hard work that your parents told you about. It's difficult. It hurts. But more of it equals better performance. Tons of it equals great performance. This new mindset, combined with Colvin's practical advice, will change the way you think about your life and work - and will inspire you to achieve more in everything you do. Most profoundly, Colvin shows that great performance isn't reserved for a preordained few.

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Author information

Geoff Colvin is Fortune's senior editor-at-large and is also the author of 'The Upside of the Downturn'. He has served as moderator of the Fortune Global Forum, where he has interviewed Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Herb Kelleher, Peter Drucker and other business legends. Colvin graduated Harvard cum laude with a B.A. in Economics, and received his MBA from New York University's Stern School.

Review quote

'A fascinating study of great achievers from Mozart to Tiger Woods, and he has brilliantly highlighted the fact that great effort equals great success. 'Talent Is Overrated' is not only inspiring but enlightening. It's a terrific read all the way through. -Donald Trump 'Excellent.' -The Wall Street Journal 'Provocative.' -Time "A profoundly important book. With clarity and precision, Geoff Colvin exposes one of the fundamental misconceptions of modern life - that our ability to excel depends on innate qualities. Then, drawing on an array of compelling stories and stacks of research, he reveals the true path to high performance - deliberate practice fueled by intrinsic motivation. This is a rare business book that will prompt you to think and inspire you to act.' -Daniel H Pink, author of A Whole New Mind 'Colvin convincingly argues that top performers in business as well as in sports, in science and in the arts owe their success to the intense practice of key skills rather than to some unique genius.' -Newsweek 'Mr Colvin reassures us that the techniques for greatness can be learnt easily.' -The Times 'The core principle underlying Geoff Colvin's new book is that hard work pays. Indeed, Colvin gives all of us mortals hope.' -Luke Johnson in Management Today 'Geoff Colvin has done all of us a great service... this gem will be my pick for the best business books of the year. It's a brilliant piece of work, and it deserves to be studied by anyone involved in human development.' -The Leadership Challenge 'What an exciting book! 'Talent Is Overrated' explains where tomorrow's business champions will really come from. Read it - it is truly research based. It's a real breakthrough.' -Ram Charan, coauthor of 'Execution' 'I rejoice! In this amply researched, adroitly reasoned, and lucently written book, Geoff Colvin democratizes the potentiality to be a success - in any field. Even if you didn't talk to the baby nurses the moment you were born, write a sonata before you were two, or create a global lemonade-stand business in grammar school, you have the potential to be a great orator, a master composer, or a Jack Welch. If you have the urge, go for it! Geoff tells you how to get there, and what he says comports totally with my own experiences in sports, law, and business.' -Herb Kelleher, cofounder and chairman, Southwest Airlines 'Geoff Colvin takes us on a tour de force to understanding exceptional performance; using the arts, science, and business, his book shows us how some humans are Olympian in their achievements. The book is packed with useful insights and ultimately a 'mirror test,' two profound questions for readers pondering their own potential for exceptional performance: What do you want? And what do you believe? This book opens you to deep self-reflection.' -Noel Tichy, coauthor (with Warren Bennis) of 'Judgment'; professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan