Library Trip

Now that colder weather has stopped my tennis matches dead in its tracks, my reading has picked up – I grabbed another 2 books from the library last weekend – 1 new release and 1 oldie (2009)

First the best one, Talent is Overrated (from 2009) – was a great read and really makes you think.  I read this a few years back and still like it.


The book argues the case that there is no such thing as natural born abilities and that natural genius-level performers and world-class performers in any subject got there only because of……..{drumroll}….hard work.

It visits the history behind Mozart and Tiger Woods and shows that how much and how specific people trained in their fields is what made them special.  Two stories in particular stood out to me from this book :

1) Story of the US Army rowing team where the rowers were scientifically measured for power, endurance and then ranked so his top 8 rowers went into his Varsity boat and the others into the JV boat but that no matter how they were arranged, the JV boat would beat the Varsity boat 2/3 of the time.  It seems the “star” performers were constantly full of resentment over the order of the rankings while the JV team rowed like they had nothing to lose and could work together towards the goal of knocking off the “stars”….(a good lesson here)

2) The story of Laszlo Polgar, a Hungarian educational psychologist, whose years of research persuaded him that great performers are made, not born.  So he found a woman to marry him and agree to help him with an experiment where they would raise their kids to be extraordinary.  They chose chess (since neither of them had shown any skill at it), had 3 daughters, all of whom became chess masters, in fact the youngest became a grand chess master at age 15 beating Bobby Fischer’s previous record by a few months.  Very interesting if not but a bit disturbing how they overrode their children’s free will to follow this experiment to its conclusion.

In fact, it makes you realize how a very slight preference or tiny advantage at a young age was all that it sometimes took to encourage a youth to pursue something, and this made them better, and this gave them more success, more confidence and more willing to practice in a self-fulfilling prophesy kind of way.

No silver bullets – it’s those who work at it who excel at it.


The other book – way different – it was a new release to show us (humorously) how to survive any upcoming Doomsday scenario


Its chock full of good tips like –

  • find a good cave for the coming comet collisions
  • always shoot for the head when fighting zombies and not the body (my son knew this already from fighting the nazi zombies in C.O.D.)
  • How to start your own post-apocalypse cult following
  • etc…good stuff

And I loved the books reviews – check this one out


I just don’t think this book will get made into a movie though – which is too bad – because this one would have been perfect for Nicholas Cage

have a good one



About bradosterloo

.NET Software Developer working for Innovative Systems, LLC in Mitchell, SD
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