"The key factor separating geniuses from the merely accomplished is not a divine spark. It's not I.Q., a generally bad predictor of success, even in realms like chess. Instead, it's deliberate practice. Top performers spend more hours (many more hours) rigorously practicing their craft."
-- New York Times columnist David Brooks in an Op-Ed today about how genius has more to do with practice than innate gifts. Brooks quotes examples from two new books that make this assertion -- and one book happens to be Geoff Colvin's Talent is Overrated. Colvin, a Fortune senior editor at large who co-wrote with me a story about Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) extraordinary success in the recent Fortune 500 issue, noted in a guest post on Postcards that difficult times are great opportunities to practice to achieve greatness. He wrote: "Such CEOs as A.G. Lafley of P&G (PG) and Jeff Immelt of GE (GE) have told me that being forced to manage through crises earlier in their careers built their abilities so much that it was critical to their becoming CEOs—and that, in fact, they wouldn't have become CEOs otherwise." What are you practicing this weekend? --Jessica Shambora
"The 10,000-hours rule says that if you look at any kind of cognitively complex field, from playing chess to being a neurosurgeon, we see this incredibly consistent pattern that you cannot be good at that unless you practice for 10,000 hours, which is roughly 10 years, if you think about four hours a day."
-- Malcolm Gladwell, from a Q&A with Fortune writer Jennifer Reingold in the current issue. In Gladwell's MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Nov 17, 2008 7:19 PM ET
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