s exceptional achievement a matter of inborn talent, or an encouraging life situation, and laborious intention? Writer David Dobbs explores the nature-nurture argument in his article “How to be a genius.”
He writes, “As the American inventor Thomas Edison said, genius is 99 per cent perspiration – or, to be truer to the data, perhaps 1 per cent inspiration, 29 per cent good instruction and encouragement, and 70 per cent perspiration.
“Examine closely even the most extreme examples – Mozart, Newton, Einstein, Stravinsky – and you find more hard-won mastery than gift. Geniuses are made, not born.
“A sober look at any field shows that the top performers are rarely more gifted than the also-rans, but they almost invariably outwork them.
“This doesn’t mean that some people aren’t more athletic or smarter than others. The elite are elite partly because they have some genetic gifts – for learning and hand-eye coordination, for instance – but the very best rise because they take great pains to maximise that gift.”
Continued in How to be a genius.