Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login




I read this book and although I enjoyed it and found it interesting, I think that the author undervalues the importance of innate talent. According to the author, almost everybody can become great at anything given the right motivation, hard-work, and coaching. I find this principle wrong, based on what I've heard experienced coaches say, and my own experience through 19 years of schooling. In other words, a lot of (non-scientific) evidence suggests that great performers have above average innate abilities in what they do. These abilities are common in the population but in no way general to most people. So, those born with the "extra" in a particular field, paired with great couches, family support, and an emotional fabric that keeps them focused for a long time, will have the chance of making it to the highest.

(I have a friend that thinks otherwise and I tell him: "Remember when you were in first grade, try to remember your classmates, what percentage of them could have become Nobel Prize winners in Physics given the right nurturing conditions?". According to the author of this book, almost all of them)


I find this principle wrong, based on what I've heard experienced couches say

Maybe less time on couches and more time with coaches would change your perspective?

With that said, there is a guy, Dan, who is testing this theory with golf. We still have a few more years to see if it works.

http://thedanplan.com/

"Remember when you were in first grade, try to remember your classmates, what percentage of them could have become Nobel Prize winners in Physics given the right nurturing conditions?". According to the author of this book, almost all of them

I haven't read the book, but have read articles. I thought the goal was "expert level", not Nobel Prize level. There's a pretty big gap between being a Chem expert and winning the Nobel prize in it.


>>Maybe less time on couches and more time with coaches would change your perspective?

:) funny... (fixed the typo, thanks.)

>>there is a guy, Dan...

Is this Daniel Coyle? I read his "Talent Code" book too. Similar to "Talent is Overrated" but doesn't neglect innate talent as much as the other.

>>I thought the goal was "expert level", not Nobel Prize level.

Expert level in the book is as good as one can get after 10,000 hours of "deliberate practice" with great coaching. The author doesn't make any distinction between expert level and super high achievers.


Not the same Dan. This is just some guy who read about the 10,000 hour thing and decided to test it on himself.

Regarding how good can one get -- the term used by the research is expert. But, at least in the papers I read, they don't make it clear what expert is. For example read:

http://www.ida.liu.se/~nilda/Anders_Ericsson/Ericsson_delib_...

But in my own personal theory... you become Michael Jordan by doing the 10,000 hours+ and having innate gifts. You get a basketball scholarship (D1-D3) by doing the 10,000 hours.


Thanks for the pointers. I'll read it later tonight...

My own personal theory is similar to yours: among the genetically very tall males, there is a lot of people with the innate abilities of Michael Jordan (let's make it 40% of the original set). From that subset, those that put the 10,000 hours with great teachers plus other things will become the likes of Michael Jordan.


> I think that the author undervalues the importance of innate talent.

Several recent books are doing that. But I think the common claim is that people who have become great have done so through training, and the effect of innate talent seems to be secondary at best.

They don't claim the opposite - that with the right training anyone will be great. Only that greatness is primarily due to the right training. It implies that a person of normal natural abilities has a shot at becoming world-class, but it's not a guarantee.


>>It implies that a person of normal natural abilities has a shot at becoming world-class

The key lies in the definition of normal. Does it mean no less than 1 standard deviation below average? Does it mean above average? Above 1 standard deviation and less than 2? See, people in all those ranges are normal, and just by reducing a little the scope of "normal" a lot of people are filtered out.

My conjecture is that at least above average innate abilities are required, which by definition leaves out half the population.




Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: