Sunday, June 26, 2011

Talent is not a gift!

July 2011 Book Review

The Talent Code

Daniel Coyle

Practice makes perfect…really, it does. Through the use of biological and observational research, this book proves talent is not born or a gift handed from above. People have always assumed the brain was a type of muscle. Watch too much TV and your brain will turn to mush has some truth.

Talent is a word most people use without much thought. Most would liken it to meaning: “boy, he sure is talented;” translation, he has a gift that he was lucky to be born with. After reading this book, it’s apparent that thinking like this can be slightly insulting. Now, if they meant, “he’s talented” as being disciplined, focused, motivated and willing to put in the work to improve, then it’s a compliment.

This book explains how talent is built biologically and gives the framework that leads people there. As myelin* (insulation for brain function) builds, the more “talented” one becomes. In a sense, our brains are a muscle and with the right practice to help push us to our limits, the more talented we become.

*“Myelin is the insulation that wraps nerve fibers and increases signal strength, speed, and accuracy. The more we fire a particular circuit the more myelin optimizes that circuit and the stronger, faster, and more fluent our movements and thoughts become.”

This book reiterates the importance of “deep practice.” So we should say, “deep practice makes perfect.”
"Spending more time is effective, but only if you’re still in the sweet spot at the edge of your capabilities, attentively building and honing circuits.”

Mistakes are to be sought and not avoided. Research points to the more mistakes we make, the smarter we become. In essence, practicing just beyond our capabilities is important for progress. Such discipline requires motivation or a form of ignition as Coyle describes it. A willingness to make mistakes and to keep working points to the importance of being highly disciplined and motivated.
 “turned out that self-discipline was twice as accurate as IQ in predicting a student’s grade-point average.”
Colye model is simple: Ignition (accompanied with master coaching) leads to deep practice, which then develops into a talent.
This book parallels some of the discoveries and principles discussed in Mindset. I found this book fascinating and should be a good read for anyone looking hone your own capabilities or to help others.

The Fightin' Analyst Book Rating:

out of five stars