I agree that is rather harsh. Children most of all need love and affection that is a solid base for everything else to grow on.
The response to avoid excessive pointless praises for every simple task it not constant harshness and lack of affection. There is a balance, but rather it is praise for hard work.
My parents never told me I was gifted or smart instead they always praised my hard work, and taught by example -- for example, never to half-ass a job, always try to do the best you can.
In the end I don't think I am gifted or better than anyone by some genetic fluke or something. However I am persistent and will never give up until I reach my goals.
Praise is an expression, and it may or may not express love. Love and affection are emotions.
It is entirely possible to love and feel affection without expressing it through words, or even actions. As an example: simply paying attention and listening, without having your own thoughts, preconceptions block you from actually receiving what that other person is saying.
Love is a state of being, not something you do. So yes, children need love and affection; that may or may not have anything to do with praise.
PS. It is far easier to tackle challenges when you love yourself, and have fun with what you are doing. Failures don't feel like the end of the world, and you can acknowledge and examine them with the same neutrality as you would with successes. At that point, it is no longer a matter of success or failure -- you feel loved anyways.
There's this big fallacy that desire and punishment are necessary, otherwise someone will become lazy, apathetic, and won't have the "drive". This is a big fat lie. The lie comes from the notion of having to trade success for affection.