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Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else [Kindle Edition]

Geoff Colvin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (324 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.00
Kindle Price: $9.40
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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

Expanding on a landmark cover story in Fortune, a top journalist debunks the myths of exceptional performance.

One of the most popular Fortune articles in many years was a cover story called ?What It Takes to Be Great.? 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.

And not just plain old hard work, like your grandmother might have advocated, but a very specific kind of work. The key is how you practice, how you analyze the results of your progress and learn from your mistakes, that enables you to achieve greatness.

Now Colvin has expanded his article with much more scientific background and real-world examples. He shows that the skills of business?negotiating deals, evaluating financial statements, and all the rest?obey the principles that lead to greatness, so that anyone can get better at them with the right kind of effort. Even the hardest decisions and interactions can be systematically improved.

This new mind-set, combined with Colvin?s practical advice, will change the way you think about your job and career?and will inspire you to achieve more in all you do.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"Geoff Colvin has written a fascinating study of great achievers from Mozart to Tiger Woods.... Talent Is Overrated is not only inspiring but enlightening." ---Donald Trump

About the Author

Geoff Colvin, Fortune's senior editor at large, is one of America's most respected business journalists.

David Drummond has narrated over seventy audiobooks for Tantor, in genres ranging from current political commentary to historical nonfiction, from fantasy to military, and from thrillers to humor. He has received multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards, including one for his first audiobook, Love 'Em or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay.

Product Details

  • File Size: 367 KB
  • Print Length: 252 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1591842247
  • Publisher: Portfolio (October 4, 2008)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001HD8NZ8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,205 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
(324)
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
587 of 610 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I inhaled this book. The informal plan was to read it over a few short weeks. Instead I plowed through it in maybe three days.

For those teetering on the edge of greatness -- or thinking about really going for the gusto, in whatever field or endeavor that has captured their spirit -- this book is an invitation to walk among the gods.

For those who have soured on their dreams and bitterly written them off, however, this book will be painful. It might even read like a damning indictment, and thus incite a hostile emotional response.

And finally, this book also has the potential to be terrifying. For those who feel the pull of greatness but also wrestle with a deep-seated fear of failure, the starkness of the choice will be revealed to them in these pages.

Why? Because Colvin's deeper message, beyond the powerful insights into "Deliberate Practice" and what it can do, is that there is no excuse. Whatever it is you like (or love) to do, the fact that you don't hate it means you probably have the basic tools -- and so there's no reason you can't get better, maybe a lot better. And so, at the end of the day, there is simply no real excuse for not being great. Only the classic Bartleby the Scrivener response: "I prefer not to."

Greatness requires dedication and sacrifice, period. Being good at something requires a fair amount... being great requires a huge amount. If you truly desire greatness -- or simply to be great at what you do -- then much sacrifice is required.

But I fudge slightly. The book does leave room for one excuse of sorts, but not a very satisfying one.
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542 of 571 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deliberate practice "hurts but it works." October 16, 2008
Format:Hardcover
Colvin set out to answer this question: "What does great performance require?" In this volume, he shares several insights generated by hundreds of research studies whose major conclusions offer what seem to be several counterintuitive perspectives on what is frequently referred to as "talent." (See Pages 6-7.) In this context, I am reminded of Thomas Edison's observation that "vision without execution is hallucination." If Colvin were asked to paraphrase that to indicate his own purposes in this book, my guess (only a guess) is that his response would be, "Talent without deliberate practice is latent" and agrees with Darrell Royal that "potential" means "you ain't done it yet." In other words, there would be no great performances in any field (e.g. business, theatre, dance, symphonic music, athletics, science, mathematics, entertainment, exploration) without those who have, through deliberate practice developed the requisite abilities.

It occurs to me that, however different they may be in almost all other respects, athletes such as Cynthia Cooper, Roger Federer, Michael Jordan, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Lorena Ochoa, Candace Parker, Michael Phelps, Vijay Singh, and Tiger Woods "make it look so easy" in competition because their preparation is so focused, rigorous, and thorough. Obviously, they do not win every game, match, tournament, etc. Colvin's point (and I agree) is that all great performers "make it look so easy" because of their commitment to deliberate practice, often for several years before their first victory. In fact, Colvin cites a "ten-year rule" widely endorsed in chess circles (attributed to Herbert Simon and William Chase) that "no one seemed to reach the top ranks of chess players without a decade or so of intensive study, and some required much more time.
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834 of 922 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This book is substantially a suspicious rehash of a major peer reviewed article. Colvin and Gladwell Outliers: The Story of Success are chasing the same topic, incredibly within the same few months and referencing the same research. Albeit with different titles and stories. Colvin does a good job giving credit to that author. The problems begin when Colvin starts to take parts of the research and explode the number of pages dedicated to one point -deliberate practice. And while that point, deliberate practice is important, it is one of several ingredients in the making of an expert. In the paper "Making of an expert" by K. Anders Ericsson and others, Harvard Business Review, July 2007 they detail three well accepted conditions:

1. Delibrate Practice - the author sites verbatim with strong emphasizes
2. World class coaching - Important but not emphasized well
3. Enthusiastic family support - Very important and not emphasized well

And obviously the expert-to-be needs to be motivated. What is disturbing is Covin doesn't give much credit (wrongly) in terms of pages, to the support environment namely families and coaches. Ok, there are passing paragraphs but no where near the emphasis it should be according to the original researchers. Intuitively, as well as deep in all parents hearts, they know those new champions/experts had to have great parents. Think of Tiger Woods (Golf), the Mannings (NFL) and Obama to name a few. The deliberate practice condition also encompasses the 10,000 hours requirement in becoming an expert whether that is business, music or sports to name a few endeavors.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book reenforces the rather old-fashioned idea that hard work ...
This book reenforces the rather old-fashioned idea that hard work does indeed pay off. Concentrating on what you are trying to do and following through, not giving up will get you... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Tante Josie
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an eye-opener! Greatness is possible for all ...
This is an eye-opener! Greatness is possible for all of us! Very inspiring book.
Published 8 days ago by Jenney
3.0 out of 5 stars Good points - yet the author drones on a bit
The central point the author makes is that to be really good at something you have to put in a lot of practice. Read more
Published 11 days ago by chiphilton88
3.0 out of 5 stars Michael Phelps is built to be a great swimmer. But for everyone else
No doubt that some aspects of physical aptitude are genetic. Michael Phelps is built to be a great swimmer. Read more
Published 26 days ago by DEDeValk
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book now.
If you are a parent and you love your kids, buy this book. If you have any desire to improve yourself, buy this book. If you want to help others, buy this book. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended. A completely different way to think about how ...
Highly recommended. A completely different way to think about how people are developed in organizations. Solid research underpins the text.
Published 1 month ago by Richard Carroll
3.0 out of 5 stars Good point. Some
Doesn't cover everyone.
Published 1 month ago by Edgar
5.0 out of 5 stars So there's a difference between knowing and doing and that the great...
As they say, the truth is neither complicated nor hidden except from those who refuse to see it. Deliberate practice is the message of the book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mirza Yawar Baig
4.0 out of 5 stars Describes studies he does in great detail.
Well articulated ideas. Describes studies he does in great detail.
Published 1 month ago by Wendy L.
4.0 out of 5 stars find and train staff who will eventually prove useful to themselves...
A must read for anyone who is finding it more and more difficult to identify, find and train staff who will eventually prove useful to themselves and your organization
Published 1 month ago by Horace Hale
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More About the Author

Geoff Colvin, is Fortune's senior editor-at-large and has written hundred of articles for the magazine including its popular column Value Driven. He lectures widely and is the regular lead moderator for the Fortune Global Forum. Colvin graduated Harvard cum laude with a B.A. in economics, and received his M.B.A. from New York University's Stern School. His first book, Talent Is Overrated, earned global acclaim and was a Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and New York Times business bestseller. www.GeoffColvin.com


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What is MP3 Una Edition?
This CD cannot be played on a regular CD player, such as the one I have in my car. It can only be played on a MP3 enabled CD player. So my purchase was a complete waste for me. Amazon said it is not produce in a regular CD format.
Jun 19, 2010 by Libba |  See all 5 posts
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