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Cydcor Reviews: Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

Here is Cydcor’s review of  Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin.

About Talent is Overrated:  Talent is Overrated looks to explain the how and why people truly excel in the professional landscape. Oftentimes people attribute success to one (or both) of two key reasons: hard work or innate talent. Author Geoff Colvin is a distinguished journalist, and he looks to toss away these two black-and-white camps, detailing how “deliberate practice” is what makes one successful, whether it’s as a pianist or a stockbroker.

Talent is Overrated compiles scientific research, illustrating how to apply this principal and how one can achieve world-class greatness through deliberate practice.

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Why Cydcor recommends this book to future leaders: Many of us can feel discouraged when comparing ourselves to others, who we view as more talented than we feel we are. Colvin sets out to answer the question, “What does great performance require?” Colvin shares several insights generated by hundreds of research studies and draws the conclusion that everyone has the ability to be a super-achiever in a given field because they apply themselves and practice.

Colvin writes, “The factor that seems to explain the most about great performance is something the researchers call deliberate practice.” The concept of “deliberate practice”–which is a little bit more rigorous and demanding than what might be thought of as “practice” in the more general sense–is explained with much detail in the book.

Our favorite part: One of the fundamental questions Colvin asks us to ask ourselves is this: What do I really, deeply want? This question is crucial, as deliberate practice requires a substantial investment. Colvin suggests that deliberate practice contains the following components:

  • It is designed specifically to improve performance.
  • It can be repeated a lot.
  • Feedback on results is continuously available.
  • It is highly demanding mentally.
  • It isn’t much fun.

Everyone who has achieved exceptional performance has faced tremendous challenges. There are no exceptions. Top performers make knowledge a direct objective and set goals to be an expert in their chosen field. Colvin suggests the 10-year rule: 10 years of consistent, deliberate effort is required to be outstanding in your field.

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