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Genius Isn’t Easy, It’s Long, Hard Work


by Olin Chism 18 Nov 2008

It takes talent to be a genius, of course, but it also takes hard work — even if you’re Mozart. How much hard work? At least 10,000 hours of study, practice and professional experience. That’s the conclusion of a new book that studies exceptionally outstanding people in a wide variety of fields.

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It takes talent to be a genius, of course, but it also takes hard work — even if you’re Mozart. How much hard work? At least 10,000 hours of study, practice and professional experience. That’s the conclusion of a new book that studies exceptionally outstanding people in a wide variety of fields.

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  • Rawlins Gilliland

    Frankly, per the old song about artists ‘suffering’; I see that one as moot. Believing as I do that no one can expect to navigate life without suffering. To any who might thus far been so blessed, be patient. Whereas it’s silly to suggest that suffering is a key ingredient for purposeful artistic achievement, only a fool would fail to learn the lessons misery hands us all. How can one not witness its lessons, and thus benefit from having survived any nightmare an use that to advantage?

    Per Genius: The just concluded interview of Valerie Plame by Krys Boyd. When the two of them sat across that THINK table, I’m suprised the mics didn’t erupt into flames.

  • The author suggests that 10 thousand hours of practice are needed for any professional artist to succeed. That seems reasonable enough. But one of his leading examples are the Beatles playing long hours at Hamburg in their early days as a group.
    They did indeed play many hours there and perfect a style that served them well when they returned to Britain. But the author doesn’t note that there were many other British bands in Hamburg too, and none had the success of the Beatles.
    Thus it may be one requirement to become a professional artist, but it doesn’t guarantee anything without some innate talent. It’s like a basic starter kit.