Talent refers to the skills that one has automated so that they can be performed reliably at a high level of proficiency.

Gaining Talent

  • The Mundanity of Excellence by Daniel F. Chambliss. makes the fascinating argument that excellence is not the result of an inner "genius" or an inner "talent," but rather that excellence, talent, genius is just the result of specific physical abilities and specific, learnable practices; that the required physical abilities are much more common than excellence is; and that the learnable practices are typically both prosaic and within the range of what many people could do if they chose to.
  • The Little Book of Talent, 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills by Daniel Coyle. With one short essay for each week in the year, Coyle identifies the ingredients and practices that create talent. The practices are not esoteric; rather, they are just work, work done in the right way.
  • The Key to Success: GRIT by Angela Lee Duckworth. This TED talk introduces the idea of GRIT, the character of persisting in work on long-term goals. Duckworth argues that GIRT contributes more to success than intelligence or initial talent.
  • Mindset, The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. Some people have a mindset in which they believe that change, growth, learning, and improvement are both possible and normal. These people learn from experience, deal with setbacks more resiliently, and gain in skill and power over time. But other people look upon talent as a fixed attribute, impervious to change. These people are threatened by challenges and setbacks. They, even if of great initial ability, do not grow. Carol Dweck believes that all people have the potential to grow and change, provided they adopt the right method and put in the work. This book describes the research behind her thesis and a program that anyone can use to enter the growth mindset.
  • Change Anything, The New Science of Personal Success by Kerry Patterson. "Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit." -- Aristotle. To those who wish to take control of their actions and habits, Patterson offers a practical process.