Mindworks’ Weblog

Thinking Matters

How to be very good

Posted by Andrew Cooper on July 14, 2008

I came across this via the New Scientist last year.  Try this in the (probably unlikely) event that you want to buy the actual handbook.  The handbook is the result of some heavyweight research into what makes some people particularly good at doing things. 

As one of the reviews says it:

“…makes a rather startling assertion: the trait we commonly call talent is highly overrated. Or, put another way, expert performers – whether in memory or surgery, ballet or computer programming – are nearly always made, not born. And yes, practice does make perfect.”


You can read the full New Scientist article here. Here’s an extract:

“The book essentially tells us to forget the notion that “genius”, “talent” or any other innate qualities create the greats we call geniuses. Instead, as the American inventor Thomas Edison said, genius is 99 per cent perspiration – or, to be truer to the data, perhaps 1 per cent inspiration, 29 per cent good instruction and encouragement, and 70 per cent perspiration. Examine closely even the most extreme examples – Mozart, Newton, Einstein, Stravinsky – and you find more hard-won mastery than gift. Geniuses are made, not born.”


2 Responses to “How to be very good”

  1. […] management workshops or reading and receiving emails.  There’s also firm evidence that we can all be really good if we […]

  2. […] by Andrew Cooper on December 1, 2008 Only one brief mention of Thomas Alva Edison on the blog so far, so it’s time for a little more.  A true innovator, in the sense that I defined the word way […]

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