Book Review: “Talent is Overrated” by Geoffrey Colvin

41exvla638lBook: “Talent is Overrated”

Author: Geoffrey Colvin

Pages: 240 pages

Genre: Nonfiction, Business, Psychology, Self-help

PublisherPortfolio, Oct 16 2008

LinksGoodreads ● Amazon

Overall Rating: ✮✮✮✮☆ 4/5


One of the most popular Fortune articles in many years was a cover story called: “What It Takes to Be Great.” Geoff Colvin offered new evidence that top performers in any field — from Tiger Woods and Winston Churchill to Warren Buffett and Jack Welch — are not determined by their inborn talents. Greatness doesn’t come from DNA but from practice and perseverance honed over decades.

And not just plain old hard work, like your grandmother might have advocated, but a very specific kind of work. The key is how you practice, how you analyze the results of your progress and learn from your mistakes, that enables you to achieve greatness.

Now Colvin has expanded his article with much more scientific background and real-world examples. He shows that the skills of business: negotiating deals, evaluating financial statements, and all the rest, obey the principles that lead to greatness, so that anyone can get better at them with the right kind of effort. Even the hardest decisions and interactions can be systematically improved.

This new mind-set, combined with Colvin’s practical advice, will change the way you think about your job and career, and will inspire you to achieve more in all you do.


This books was incredibly inspiring for me. It provides a kind of hope for all those who have not been labeled as “talented”, or naturally good at something. It goes against the common belief of people that only talented people succeed in life, and do remarkably well at their profession or hobby; that only talented people are capable of succeeding. It argues against this view, further asserting that it is actually deliberate practice, self-discipline and perseverance the reasons why most people do succeed in their career and interests. It is not because they are naturally good or, talented at what they do but rather, it is because they spend hours and hours practicing the tasks involved with their jobs or interests, they’re self-disciplined and persevere when they are faced with obstacles.

This book is well-written, and even humorous at times. I laughed quite a bit while reading it. It uses research, scientific studies, and other evidence such as real life examples from people in today’s society (i.e. Warren Buffett, Tiger Woods, etc.). It provides great insight into succeeding and performing excellently, and what it takes to do so. It provokes thoughtful reflections about yourself, making you think about your practices and how you can improve.

The author was very thoughtful discussing not only about talent but, also about the consequences of living in a world that thinks that only talented people succeed or have a chance at performing excellently and being great at something. Not only because it would not allow others who are not labelled as “talented” an opportunity to succeed, and discourage them, but also because this is a misconception; it is simply not true. It encourage us, the readers, to inform ourselves about this and become aware of this mistaken belief, which many people hold.

It is an easy read, being only around 300 pages. I finished reading it in only 4 hrs. I did take notes on it by highlighting the text. I think that you will find yourself also highlighting the text because there are a lot of great quotes and lessons that you’ll want to make note of in order to apply them to your life later. The chapters on it are not long, and the author provides nice little summaries almost always at the end of each section and subsection.

Overall, I really enjoying this book! I liked the topic, and how the author chose to write this book. I truly recommend it if you are looking to read something that will inspire you to become better and give you hope that you  can improve and succeed. 

Have you read this book or do you want to read it? What are your thoughts on it? Let’s talk about this book together!


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