The question is this: is there such a thing as innate talent?The obvious answer is yes. Not every hockey player born in January ends up playing at the professional level. Only some do–the innately talented ones. Achievement is talent plus preparation [emphasis mine]. The problem with this view is that the closer that psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.
“In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.”
“If you talk to veterans of Silicon Valley, they’ll tell you that the most important date in the history of the personal computer revolution was January 1975. That was when the magazine Popular Electronics ran a cover story on an extraordinary machine called the Altair 8800.”
“Those three things–autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward–are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.”
“In Albion’s Seed, Fischer argues that there were four distinct British migrations to America in its first 150 years: first the Puritans, in the 1630s, who came from East Anglia to Massachusetts; then the Cavaliers and indentured servants, who came from southern England to Virginia in the middle seventeenth century; then the Quakers, from the North Midlands to the Delaware Valley between the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries; and finally, the people from the borderlands to the Appalachian interior in the eighteenth century. Fischer argues brilliantly that those four cultures–each profoundly different–characterize those four regions of the United States even to this day.”
“He called that measurement the ‘individualism-collectivism scale.’ The country that scores highest on the individualism end of that scale is the United States. Not surprisingly, the United States is also the only industrialized country in the world that does not provide its citizens with universal health care. At the opposite end of the scale is Guatemala.”
“Because as human beings we store digits in a memory loop that runs for about two seconds. We most easily memorize whatever we can say or read within that two-second span. And Chinese speakers get that list of numbers–4, 8, 5, 3, 9, 7, 6–right almost every time because, unlike English, their language allows them to fit all those seven numbers into two seconds…As Dehaine explains…’there is a reproducible correlation between the time required to pronounce to pronounce numbers in a given language and the memory span of its speakers .”
“We formulate new ideas by analogy, working from what we know toward what we don’t know…”