How to make a Tiger in the office
Mann’s World: Talent is Overrated, Geoff Colvin A
pr 4, 2010 12:00 AM By Ian Mann

Ian Mann : What do Warren Buffett, Tiger Woods and Mozart have in common? In the fields of investment, golf and composing, they are among the best the world has ever seen.

How did they become that good? Was it hard work, persistence, and focus? If you worked as hard as they did, were as persistent and as focused as they were, would you be as successful? Probably not.

Talent is Overrated is a must-readbecause it gives the question of talent 200 pages of thought, and it challenges our assumptions.

Based on clear arguments and compelling research, Colvin provides perspective that alters our insights into talent. Our views about talent are extraordinarily important for our lives and careers and for those of our children.

And talent is the primary concern of every business today.

The limitation in business is not the shortage of capital or materials any more – it is the shortage of talented staff.

We all know that those with exceptional talent work hard at their discipline. What is surprising is that researchers have found no signs of precocious achievement before the intense practice began.

In fact, if we expected that as soon as the training began the talent would shine through by the third lesson, the research indicates that there are no early signs – in fact there are no signs at all.

So, is what we call “talent” nothing more than the result of huge amounts of practice started early enough?

Two issues remain. First, what did family or teacher see that made them want to put the child through such training in the first place? And second, how much training and practice is required?

To answer the first question, consider the case of Laszlo Polgar, the Hungarian educational psychologist, author of Bring up Genius! He publicly asked for a woman who would marry him, have children with him, and help conduct the experiment.

When their oldest child turned four, the experiment began. The child, they decided, would be a chess genius. Polgar was a poor player and his wife didn’t play. The child, Susan, was subjected to intense training, almost to the exclusion of everything else, and at 17 qualified for the Men’s World Chess Championship – which she couldn’t play in, because she was a woman. At 21 she was the first female grand master. The youngest of the three sisters, Judit, became the youngest person ever to be a grand master.

Here is the full article.

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