By Geoff Colvin
Expanding on a landmark cover story in Fortune magazine, “What It Takes to be Great,” the author debunks the myths of exceptional performance.
He gives new evidence that top performers in any field – from Tiger Woods and Winston Churchill to Warren Buffett and Jack Welch – are not determined by their inborn talents. Greatness doesn’t come from DNA but from practice and perseverance honed over decades.
And also not just plain old hard work, like your grandmother might have advocated, but a very specific kind of work. The key is how you practice, how you analyze the results of your progress and learn from your mistakes, that enables you to achieve greatness.
In this book Colvin has expanded his article by including much more scientific background and real-world examples. He shows that the skills of business – negotiating deals, evaluating financial statements, and all the rest – obey the principles that lead to greatness, so that anyone can get better at them with the right kind of effort. Even the hardest decisions and interactions can be systematically improved.
This new mindset, combined with Colvin’s practical advice, will change the way you think about your job and career. 224 pages. Hardcover. October 2008.