For people into parenting books, I highly recommend NurtureShock. It's about the only parenting book I've found based on actual scientific research, as opposed to being somebody's opinion.
Through Olympic weightlifting.
All through primary and secondary school, and through most of university, I have scraped by on brute intelligence and my efficient memory. Like a lot of HNers, I suspect. But that began to leave me behind. I failed algorithms. I jokingly said to my professor a year later "I'm not smart enough for algo".
"You're plenty smart", he said. "You just didn't do any work".
I took up Olympic-style weightlifting ("Oly" to friends) about 3 years ago. It taught me the most important lesson of my working and studying life:
You cannot cram for a competition.
No one training session makes for success on the platform. Success comes from months of work. A few hours, every day or two. Each session is hard, sure, but by itself does not seem like much. But the cumulative effect can be amazing.
By my third year in computer science I was becoming more methodical about studying. My scores improved and my professors accepted me for honours. Thanks to the learned ability to stick to a project for months on end, I completed my degree last year with first class honours.
I wish I'd known earlier that consistency, and not flashes of brilliance, is what would get people to think of me as truly capable.
But I did react exactly like the NutureShock book mentions.
I'm feeling pangs in my chest just thinking of all the times I froze with a fear of failure when presented with even the slightest challenge. Or even worse, when I would brush something off as beneath me, since I was so smart. I didn't need to try.
This is simple human bias if you expect something to be good it will be good, and has to do with how your teacher feels about you.
I once got an A in a philosophy course where I never even turned in any work. I think the teacher knew I was generally smart and argumentative, and just gave people marks accordingly.
I wouldn't do that today, because I'm more aware of how irrelevant school is.
http://www.webofstories.com/play/17068?o=MS (it starts around 2:37)
One interesting happening I've noticed too is that with mathematical and computing knowledge specifically it seems that as people gain knowledge it becomes easier to add new knowledge. The curve seems exponential. It's easy to pick up Python if you're already familiar with C and C++. It's easy to understand a new comparison sorting algorithm if you know it can't be faster than O(n lg n) and can place it in perspective with merge and quicksort.
This is why I still go on Stack Overflow and am floored by how few questions I can answer and how much more experienced guys know than me. But I have hope that learning will beget faster learning.
EDIT: It looks like it's behind a semi-paywall. Here's a Googled PDF: http://www.ccsf.edu/Campuses/Downtown/scientific_american.pd...
You can always read some excerpts on Google Books or Amazon, it's chapter 1 of NurtureShock.
Includes references for further reading if so desired.