Chris Spicer is an avid reader.

When the Morningside College assistant mathematics professor isn't reading math books, he enjoys new fiction and historical non-fiction.

Spicer recently stumbled upon “Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else” by Geoff Colvin.

Natural talent and hard work are not the reasons why people excel in a certain field, according to Colvin. In his book he claims that "deliberate practice," a highly specific kind of effort, is behind their successes.

How did you find out about the book?

"It was simply recommended to me by Amazon. The abstract looked intriguing, so I gave it a try."

Why did you read it?

"Since I work in a field where I frequently hear the excuse of 'I’m just not good at it,' I am always drawn to the idea that innate talent is not a requirement for success."

What did you think of it?

"I thought it did an excellent job of explaining what is meant by 'deliberate practice,' and how to achieve it. It also attempted to debunk many supposed examples of people being simply born with innate talent. These examples included Mozart, Warren Buffet, and even Tiger Woods."

Would you recommend it to other people?

"Absolutely! After I finished the book, I realized that all too often we use the idea of 'lack of talent' as a crutch or excuse to avoid learning something new. As clichéd as it sounds, the book’s real premise is that anyone can learn pretty much any new skill, so long as he or she is willing to devote the time and (considerable) effort required in practice."

What are you reading next?

"'Team of Rivals' by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Dr. Goodwin will be on campus next month, and since her book was recently made into a movie (due out in November), I figured now might be a good time to catch up on her latest novel."

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Health and Lifestyles reporter

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