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Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Elseby Geoff Colvin
Synopses & Reviews
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 doesnt 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 businessnegotiating deals, evaluating financial statements, and all the restobey 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 Colvins practical advice, will change the way you think about your job and careerand will inspire you to achieve more in all you do.
Never waste a crisis.
Some businesses—and some people—will emerge from today’s economic tumult stronger and more dominant than when it started. Others will weaken and fade. It all depends on critical choices they make right now.
Geoff Colvin, one of America’s most respected business jour-nalists, says even the scariest turbulence has an upside. The best managers know that conventional thinking won’t help them in tough times. They’re taking smart, practical steps—frequently unconventional and even counterintuitive—that will not only keep them strong, but will also distance them from the pack for years to come.
The dozens of top-performing leaders Colvin interviewed reject the common view that slashing costs and firing employees are the only effective tactics. They see volatility as a rich opportunity to reinvent their organizations and lay the ground-work for future growth.
Colvin shows us how these strategies really work, using exam-ples of major companies that have successfully applied them.
Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek bestseller
Asked to explain why a few people truly excel, most people offer one of two answers. The first is hard work. Yet we all know plenty of hard workers who have been doing the same job for years or decades without becoming great. The other possibility is that the elite possess an innate talent for excelling in their field. We assume that Mozart was born with an astounding gift for music, and Warren Buffett carries a gene for brilliant investing. The trouble is, scientific evidence doesn't support the notion that specific natural talents make great performers.
According to distinguished journalist Geoff Colvin, both the hard work and natural talent camps are wrong. What really makes the difference is a highly specific kind of effort-"deliberate practice"-that few of us pursue when we're practicing golf or piano or stockpicking. Based on scientific research, Talent is Overrated shares the secrets of extraordinary performance and shows how to apply these principles. It features the stories of people who achieved world-class greatness through deliberate practice-including Benjamin Franklin, comedian Chris Rock, football star Jerry Rice, and top CEOs Jeffrey Immelt and Steven Ballmer.
About the Author
Geoff Colvin, Fortune's senior editor at large, writes the magazine's popular column "Value Driven" and is the author of The Upside of the Downturn. He lectures widely and is the lead moderator for the Fortune Global Forum. He also offers daily business commentary on the CBS Radio Network. He lives in Fairfield, Connecticut.
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