The big idea in this book is that talent is not a matter of genetic endowment, but of an ongoing interaction between genes and environment.
The nature/nurture debate is therefore dead (or should be). "Genius" isn't a miraculous gift, but the result of hard work and a perfectionist attitude. David Shenk punctures the myth of Mozart's unearned genius – he was trained hard as musician and composer from an early age. Shenk also blows out of the water all those studies that show amazing similarities between twins reared apart – easily accounted for by coincidence and selection of data. The only trouble with this readable and well-researched book is that it leaves us no excuse for not being geniuses. We just didn't work hard enough.