My Review of Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World
New book review, recommendations, SF meetup
My review of Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World by Tyler Cowen and Daniel Gross is now published in City Journal.
Talent search, of course, is not just about hiring for jobs. It also involves decisions about who should get scholarships, auditions, athletic positions, and co-authorships. The authors note that the challenge of talent search isn’t relevant only for the selectors but also for those who hope to be selected. Just about everyone is involved, either hoping to identify talent in others or show off their own. If you hope to be “chosen,” then it’s useful to learn what others are thinking about talent in order to exhibit the desired qualities.
The ability to pinpoint talent is more important than ever. Cowen and Gross note that in the U.S., from 1980 to 2000, the main cause of income inequality was whether a person graduated from college. But from 2000 to 2017, income inequality primarily existed within educational groupings. In other words, talent appears to be more responsible than education for economic returns.
Cowen and Gross each describe how often they reject proposals, and they conclude that “talent and not money is the truly scarce variable.” But where does it come from? They acknowledge that talent can differ between individuals, but they also stress the importance of practice. Indeed, those with the potential to cultivate serious talent sometimes practice to the point of obsession. Discussing which attributes predict eminence in a field, psychology professor David Lubinski has said that passion for work is key, and that highly creative people tend to be “almost myopically” fixated on work.
The Northman (2022). Saw this one last night. Even better than I expected. Recording a discussion of it with Richard Hanania soon.
Isaiah Berlin: A Life by Michael Ignatieff. An illuminating biography of one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. A brief essay by Berlin here.
The Mystifying Rise of Child Suicide by Andrew Solomon
Why is the academic job market so bad? by Noah Carl
Cops, crime, and class by Graham
Just a heads up: I’m visiting San Francisco soon and planning a meetup on May 31st. Details to come.
I’ve updated the “About” section of this newsletter with some reader quotes from Naval Ravikant, Jordan Peterson, and many others. Check them out here.