Short summary of «Talent Is Overrated»

Geoff Colvin’s «Talent Is Overrated» is a great complimentary book to the famous «The Flow» and represents the results of the study of process of achieving outstanding results in different areas. TLDR: there is no talent, only grit.

People, organisations, industries continue not only to improve over time, but improve faster due to the cumulative effect of the progress. For example, the winner of the men’s 200-meter race in the 1908 Olympics ran it in 22.6 seconds; today’s high school record is faster by more than 2 seconds.

Some people are more effective than others, and the key to that is the deliberate practice, which is different from just putting of huge amount of work:

  • It’s highly demanding mentally. Deliberate practice is above all an effort of focus and concentration.
  • It can be repeated a lot.
  • It’s designed specifically to improve performance.
  • Feedback can be continuously available.
  • It isn’t much fun.
  • It’s highly demanding mentally.
  • It’s all about focusing different pieces of puzzle.

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts in the process of achieving top results, so it’s better to start early, since world top performers often start in early childhood.Of course, there are some highlights which can be helpful:

  • Top performers focus on the technique, or some key aspect of it, not the result.
  • Top performers, by contrast, believe they are responsible for their errors.
  • The best performers go into their work with a powerful belief in what researchers call their self-efficacy—their ability to perform. They also believe strongly that all their work will pay off for them.
  • Intrinsic motivation not only works out better, but also can be influenced by extrinsic.

Mind map on «Talent Is Overrated»