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

Geoff Colvin
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)

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Revue de presse

"Geoff Colvin has written a fascinating study of great achievers from Mozart to Tiger Woods, and he has brilliantly highlighted the fact that great effort equals great success.I agree, and Talent Is Overrated is not only inspiring but enlightening. It's a terrific read all the way through."-Donald Trump

"Talent Is Overrated is a profoundly important book. With clarity and precision, Geoff Colvin exposes one of the fundamental misconceptions of modern life-that our ability to excel depends on innate qualities. Then, drawing on an array of compelling stories and stacks of research, he reveals the true path to high performance-deliberate practice fueled by intrinsic motivation. This is the rare business book that will both prompt you to think and inspire you to act."-Daniel H. Pink, author of A Whole New Mind

Présentation de l'éditeur

What if everything you know about raw talent, hard work, and great performance is wrong? Few, if any, of the people around you are truly great at what they do. But why aren't they? Why don't they manage businesses like Jack Welch or Andy Grove, play golf like Tiger Woods or play the violin like Itzhak Perlman? Asked to explain why a few people truly excel, most of us offer one of two answers: hard work or a natural talent. However, scientific evidence doesn't support the notion that specific natural talents make great performers. In one of the most popular Fortune articles in years, 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, 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-life 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.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 a "must read" 9 mai 2009
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Geoff Colvin elaborates on Anders K. Ericsson research work in order to demonstrate that nothing is beyond your reach provided you work hard enough on it.
The book is a page-turner, full of fascinating examples, thought-provoking...
Definitely captivating, especially if you are asking yourself questions about your kids' potential and how to raise them. It's just a shame this book does not exist in French yet!
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3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Je recommande le livre de Geoff Colvin, "Talent is overrated". Ce livre fourmille de références (papiers de recherche) et d'exemples réels et concrets, ce qui permet de donner une base solide (et de la substance) à l'idée que l'importance du talent dans toute réussite est largement surestimée.
Ce livre intéressera toute personne qui ambitionne de réussir - quelque soit le domaine - et surtout de dépasser ses propres limites "naturelles" en fait largement acquises.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Passionnant 18 février 2013
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
J'ai trouvé ce livre passionnant et utile.
Très sérieux, contrairement à de nombreux ouvrages de cette catégorie; appuyé sur des connaissances scientifiques récentes.

Très documenté donc, et abordant de vastes sujets et applications.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 a must read 28 décembre 2013
Par solariane
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
A nice argument and a well written book - however if the case is strong, don't expect to have a readily solution to perform better
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.2 étoiles sur 5  323 commentaires
586 internautes sur 609 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Exhilarating, Infuriating or Terrifying -- it all depends on you 3 avril 2009
Par Mercenary Trader - Publié sur
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. In some cases of highly competitive endeavor, wunderkinds (like Mozart and Tiger Woods) have built up a nearly insurmountable "time in the saddle" advantage via taking up the hard work of Deliberate Practice (which I shall from here on out refer to as DP) at an astonishingly young age.

Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps has analogized his hard training to putting credits in the bank. DP is like a disciplined investing program -- the longer you do it, the more compounding you see, and it takes many years up front to get to a point of real momentum. This makes it all but impossible in certain prodigy-dominated arenas to come to the game late and try to catch someone who has been continuously working their butt off from, say, age twelve. (Or in Tiger and Mozart's case, age three.)

My personal experience with DP -- which I practice in the world of trading and investing -- is that it's a lot like running. The brain is like a muscle, or rather a group of muscles, that has to be built up, like legs and heart and lungs for the runner, if a rigorous DP program is to be sustained.

This is another reason why getting into DP is so hard for the average individual. People don't intuitively grasp the concept that the brain is like a muscle... that you have to strengthen your cognitive control and tighten up your executive functions before you can become a powerhouse.

Nobody starts out on a running program from a dead stop and assumes they'll be able to run three marathons every week. They build up to it, and work on ways to overcome the initial physical pain and resistance that act as a barrier before "runner's high" kicks in and positive addiction carries them through.

It's a similar dynamic with DP. Many people fail in their early quest for excellence, I suspect, because the mind flags and the will tires, and instead of taking this as a normal part of the training process -- like being winded in the early stages of a running program -- they decide they can't hack it and quietly slip back into mediocrity.

Another thing I liked about this book is how it puts talent in the proper context. Is it true that talent is overrated? Well, yes. Based on these findings, absolutely. But that doesn't mean talent plays no role in success. It simply means that having some modicum of talent (whether imparted by genes or favorable early developments) is often a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for success. That lack of sufficiency, i.e. talent alone not being "enough," or even anywhere close to enough, is an absolutely critical point.

It's a further interesting quirk that too much talent can even be an impediment, in certain cases, if the obvious presence of said talent convinces the individual that it's okay to shirk on DP. It's no statistical accident, for example, that the less flashy "work horses" of the baseball and basketball worlds tend to have longer careers than their flashier co-players, thanks to a tighter regime of working hard on the fundamentals to make up for lesser natural gifts. And it seems like we all know someone who had a great knack for playing guitar or piano by ear in high school, but couldn't be bothered to put in the sweat equity of trying to develop it into something more.

Now, go forth and get on the path to greatness.
543 internautes sur 572 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Deliberate practice "hurts but it works." 16 octobre 2008
Par Robert Morris - Publié sur
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." The same could also be said of "overnight sensations" who struggled for years to prepare for their "big break" on Broadway or in Hollywood.

Colvin duly acknowledges that deliberate practice "is a large concept, and to say that it explains everything would be simplistic and reductive." Colvin goes on to say, "Critical questions immediately present themselves: What exactly needs to be practiced? Precisely how? Which specific skills or other assets must be acquired? The research has revealed answers that generalize quite well across a wide range of fields." Even after committing all of my time and attention to several years of deliberate practice, under the direct supervision of the best instructor (e.g. Hank Haney, Butch Harman, or David Leadbetter) I probably could not reduce my handicap to zero but I could lower it under those conditions. Colvin's insights offer a reassurance that almost anyone's performance can be improved, sometimes substantially, even if it isn't world-class. Talent is overrated if it is perceived to be the most important factor. It isn't. In fact, talent does not exist unless and until it is developed...and the only way to develop it is (you guessed it) with deliberate practice. When Ben Hogan was asked the "secret" to playing great golf, he replied, "It's in the dirt."

Others have their reasons for thinking so highly of this book. Here are three of mine. First, Colvin's observations and suggestions are research-driven rather than based almost entirely on theories developed in isolation from real-world phenomena. He commits sufficient attention to identifying the core components of great performance but focuses most of his narrative to explaining how almost anyone can improve her or his own performance. He reveals himself to be both an empiricist as he shares what he has observed and experienced and a pragmatist who is curious to know what works, what doesn't, and why. I also appreciate Colvin's repudiation of the most common misconceptions about the various dimensions of talent. For example, that "is innate; you're born with it, and if you're not born with it, you can't acquire it." Many people still believe that Mozart was born with so much talent that he required very little (if any) development. In fact, according to Alex Ross, "Mozart became Mozart by working furiously hard" as did all others discussed, including Jack Welch, David Ogilvy, Warren Buffett, Robert Rubin, Jerry Rice, Chris Rock, and Benjamin Franklin. Some were prodigies but most were late-bloomers and each followed a significantly different process of development. About all they shared in common is their commitment to continuous self-improvement through deliberate practice.

Here's another reason I hold this book in such high regard. Throughout his narrative, Colvin inserts clusters of insights and recommendations that literally anyone can consider and then act upon to improve her or his individual performance as well as helping to improve the performance of a team of which she or he is a member. For example:

1. Attributes of deliberate practice (Pages 66-72)
2. What top performers perceive that others do not notice (Pages 89-94)
3. Benefits of having a "rich mental model"(Pages 123-124)
4. Rules for peak performance that "elite" organizations follow (Pages 128-136)
5. Misconceptions about innovation and creativity (Pages 149-151)
6. How innovators become great (Pages 159-161)
7. How to make organizations innovative (Pages 162-166)
8. What homes can teach organizations (Pages 172-175)
9. The "drivers" of great performance (Pages 187-193)
10. How some organizations "blow it" (Pages 194-198)

Colvin provides a wealth of research-driven information that he has rigorously examined and he also draws upon his own extensive and direct experience with all manner of organizations and their C-level executives. Throughout his narrative, with great skill, he sustains a personal rapport with his reader. It is therefore appropriate that, in the final chapter, he invokes direct address and poses a series of questions. "What would cause you to do the enormous work necessary to be a top-performing CEO, Wall Street trader, jazz, pianist, courtroom lawyer, or anything else? Would anything? The answer depends on your answers to two basic questions: What do you really want? And what do you really believe? What you want - really want - is fundamental because deliberate practice is a heavy investment." Corbin has provided all the evidence anyone needs to answer those two questions that, in fact, serve as a challenge.

Colvin leaves no doubt that by understanding how a few become great, anyone can become better...and that includes his reader. This reader is now convinced that talent is a process that "grows," not a pre-determined set of skills. Also, that deliberate practice "hurts but it works." Long ago, Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right." It would be "tragically constraining," Colvin asserts, for anyone to lack sufficient self-confidence because "what the evidence shouts most loudly is striking, liberating news: That great performance is not reserved for a preordained few. It is available to you and to everyone."
834 internautes sur 922 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Largely Based on HBR's "The Making of an Expert, July 2007 18 décembre 2008
Par Robert R. Rowntree - Publié sur
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. This translates into roughly what I call the 4/6/10 phenomena - 4 hours a day, 6 days a week for 10 years. Taking a few weeks off a year helps recovery so its about 1000 hours per year.
Of the three conditions, enthusiastic family support seems to be the catalyst for the other two. That article is well written and easy to read. You can go to the HBR site and pick it up for $7. There are excellent peer reviewed references in that article worth reading. One of the key references is available at this site The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance. It may be a little more academic but if you already have read "The making of an expert" and want more, than this is it.
51 internautes sur 53 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Fascinating thesis, but a big void in its logic 31 janvier 2010
Par Norman Snyder - Publié sur
True enough, the book illustrates case after case where world-class performance springs, not from some innate ability possessed at birth, but rather via effective practice. The author reaches into various disparate fields of endeavor to prove this point--golf (Tiger Woods), composing (both Mozart and the Beatles), chess (the Polgar sisters), stand-up comedy (Chris Rock), and others. Mr. Colvin bolsters this pattern by showing how, repeatedly, ten years of concerted effort preceded the respective breakthroughs for the individuals cited.

However--and this is where I find this thesis lacking--Mr. Colvin fails to explain the thousands of people who put in just as much effort, tried just as hard, and had the same teachers and mentors as those who achieved notable performance. For every Olympic champion, there are thousands who invested just as much practice time, who persevered through the same challenges, as those who won the gold. Thousands of garage bands who spent all of their waking hours searching for that big hit. Thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands, of corporate workers, toiling in excess of sixty hours a week, aspiring to be regional manager, let alone CEO. Why have these hundreds of thousands, or shall we say, millions, not achieved their goals? This book would lead the reader to believe it was purely the quality of one's preparation. Balderdash. This book is totally lacking in explaining why some achieve these heights, while most toil in obscurity.
32 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Practice is Underrated 3 mars 2009
Par James Simmons - Publié sur
The author would lead you to believe that most of us have the ability to become a world class NFL receiver like Jerry Rice or composer of Mozart's stature through "deliberate practice". Deliberate practice is practice that is focused on the areas in your domain where there is the greatest need for improvement. It is not simply practice makes perfect; it is the kind of practice; it is designed practice that makes perfect. For aspiring pianists, it is hours of solo practice, not group practice, not concerts, but solo practice - and it is not fun. For Jerry Rice it was mountain running and weight training to build up his pattern running ability and durability.

I enjoyed reading Talent Is Overrated. I believe its main thesis of "deliberate practice" is a very useful concept for educators and parents alike. However, I believe the case for key considerations outside of practice - such as natural talents or inclinations - is understated. For example, Jerry Rice is six foot two and he used every inch of that height and reach to make some of the greatest football receptions ever. Most kids are not genetically predisposed to be someday six foot two and all the deliberate practice in the world will not change that.

Perhaps a better, but less engaging title for this book would be " Practice Is Underrated". In any case I found the book's main thesis of deliberate practice to make for worthwhile and enjoyable reading.
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