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The Houses of History: A Critical Reader in Twentieth-Century History and Theory
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
Bill Watterson
Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else - Geoff Colvin I am hesitating between two and three stars. I gave 3 in the end because I want to send a signal: Yes, Talent is Overrated. I always admire acquaintances who work hard more than who rely and brag on their intelligence and "talent". But I do feel, sadly, that sometimes hard work is not good enough. As a result, sometimes we just want to give up. What is the point? This book, and another conversation with a friend of mine, change that dismal outlook. No, we are not helpless.

The book succeeds in its ideas. Talent is Overrated. It challenges our common acceptance that talent is the deciding factor. No, Colvin tries hard to bring evidence to prove that what counts is really 99% - the hard work. That 99% would finally build the last 1%. What counts is the seemingly unbearable hard work. The thing is, do you want badly enough?

My lame theory is that for some people, the want actually starts to be built since early age. But the building process takes forever. It is not that one has a sudden urge to paint or to sing. Therefore, it is never too late to start doing something. It will be a bit later when one finally has some accomplishments, but no, it is never too late. People complain they don't have a passion. My advice is stick to something that you like adequately, and work on it. Then you may (or may not, damn) love it enough. No, my passions do not grow overnight. Sometimes they crumble, too. The point is sticking to it. After a certain limit (can't tell where the limit is), it is pretty sticky, and voila.

It is empowering to know that we can be great if we want badly enough and work hard enough. It's fine that you don't necessarily want to be great at something. But for others, like me, who do want and yet feel discouraged because they have not achieved anything at all, then this book is a must.

A complaint that I have about this book is its writing. Its writing is practical and a bit dry, though very useful. This is inevitable, considering the contemporary society which is obsessed by the business mindset, by "efficiency" and "productivity" like ours today: how to personally improve, how organizations boost performance by encouraging and letting employees grow and innovate, etc. Again, good advice, just not to my particular taste. I care deeply, more, about how we should believe in ourselves, keep on dreaming, and work.