I found a link to The Talent Myth, a must read article by Malcolm Gladwell, at Jonathan Delacour’s weblog. I can’t say how affronted I am by the idea that “talent” is the key to success at anything. Even if talent won out over all, the systems that we have for measuring talent are incredibly inexact. If you look at sports like baseball, where the skills required for success are well defined and there are objective measurements for many of them, you’ll see that evaluators of talent miss on prospects all of the time, both by overrating some and underrating others. In the corporate environment, where the skillset is more complex and difficult to measure, it’s nearly impossible to even say who’s talented and who isn’t. Simply assuming that every jerk who managed to ace a standardized test and work his way through a blue chip school is more talented than people with less fancy educational backgrounds is possibly the worst way to go, and yet it seems to rule the day.