Talent is Never Enough

Reviewed by: 
John C. Maxwell
Thomas Nelson
Alistair Schofield, Managing Director, Extensor Limited

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Regular readers of Extensor book reviews may have wondered why there are never any books rated below 3 Stars; the reason is that we generally only publish reviews of books that we recommend.  With Talent is Never Enough we have made an exception.

Its 2 Star rating is not because it is a bad book.  It makes some valid, interesting and useful points and its author, John C Maxwell, is a highly respected academic who has published numerous other works.  It is due to the fact that it is far too long.  If it were a pamphlet or a short book similar to many written by Ken Blanchard, we would undoubtedly have rated it much more highly.

The basic premise of the book is that, while it is true that successful people are often talented, success is rarely as a result of talent alone, it is due to many other factors.  As the French poet and dramatist Edouard Pailleron put it; “Have success and there will always be fools to say that you have talent”.

To give you a flavour of the book, here is a list of the chapter headings:

  1. Belief lifts your talents
  2. Passion energises your talents
  3. Initiative activates your talent
  4. Focus directs your talents
  5. Preparation positions your talent
  6. Practice sharpens your talent
  7. Perseverance sustains your talent
  8. Courage tests your talent
  9. Teachability expands your talent
  10. Character protects your talent
  11. Relationships influence your talent
  12. Responsibility strengthens your talent
  13. Teamwork multiplies your talent

To illustrate each point, the book is packed with numerous quotations and anecdotal stories of famous men and women.  While these are always interesting, they do not provide the sort of practical advice that a person might be looking for.  For example, if a person lacks courage, simply being told that courage is important and reading a series of quotations from people as diverse as Sophia Loren, C S Lewis and Winston Churchill is unlikely to make a difference.  If anything, it could have the opposite effect, by reinforcing the notion that, because I am not a famous actress, author or war-time leader of a nation, I am not special.
What then is the value of this book?

In my opinion the only person I would recommend this book to is someone who believe that their talent entitles them to success.  For them, reading this book would illustrate that success is as a result of hard work, a resilience to failure and a single-minded pursuit of your vision and goals.  Talent simply makes it easier.

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