An interesting article by Malcolm Gladwell (Tipping Point and Blink) on talent and successful people, A Gift or Graft?
This idea - that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice - surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is a magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours.
The article and Gladwell’s forthcoming book suggests that a minimum of 10,000 hours practise and the opportunity of being around in the right place at the right time in history will create giftedness, genius, and riches.
Bill Joy (Sun Systems), Bill Gates, The Beatles, all had the opportunity to practise for many years. The source of their giftedness.
It’s a Nature v Nurture argument, and I would tend towards the Nurture. It takes over 10 years practise at 3-4 hours a day to turn my kids into sports and academic stars!