Where does talent come from?

Here is Dubner and Levitt, from the Sunday New York Times:

[Anders] Ericsson and his colleagues have thus taken to studying expert
performers in a wide range of pursuits, including soccer, golf,
surgery, piano playing, Scrabble, writing, chess, software design,
stock picking and darts. They gather all the data they can, not just
performance statistics and biographical details but also the results of
their own laboratory experiments with high achievers.

work, compiled in the "Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert
Performance," a 900-page academic book that will be published next
month, makes a rather startling assertion: the trait we commonly call
talent is highly overrated. Or, put another way, expert performers –
whether in memory or surgery, ballet or computer programming – are
nearly always made, not born. And yes, practice does make perfect.
These may be the sort of clichés that parents are fond of whispering to
their children. But these particular clichés just happen to be true.

Here is the link.  Here is The Economist on Ericsson.  Here is Ericsson’s home page.  Here is more from Dubner and Levitt, including further links to papers.

Addendum: Here is an archive link to the Sunday article.


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