Talent? Who Needs Talent? -- the Bibliography Friday January 30, 2009 • Howard Tayler The single most imporant part of my lecture is the source material I used. Research on this subject is both ongoing and controversial. I hand-picked sources that supported my own opinions on the matter (so much for objectivity!) but those sources then presented information that changed my mind on more than a few things (see? He CAN be taught!) So here's the infodump. Flower and fountain photos ©2009, Janci Patterson Olds, used with permission. “Victor Pendrake” model from Privateer Press, www.privateerpress.com. Photo by Janci Patterson Olds, painted by Drew Olds, www.gardenninja.com, used with permission "Schlock" pictures from Schlock Mercenary: The Tub of Happiness, © 2007 The Tayler Corporation, www.schlockmercenary.com "How Not To Talk To Your Kids: The Inverse Power of Praise," Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman, New York, Feb 12, 2007: http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/ "Subtle Linguistic Cues Impact Children’s Motivation", Cimpian, A., Arce, H., Markman, E.M., & Dweck, C.S., Psychological Science, April 2007: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/journals/index.cfm?journal=ps&content=ps/18_4 (subscription required) "Family planning: Football style, the relative age effect in football," Barnsley RH, Thompson AH, Legault P (1992). International Review for the Sociology of Sport 27(1), 77-88, http://www.socialproblemindex.ualberta.ca/familyplanning.pdf "The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance," Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Romer, Psychological Review, 1993 Vol 100 #3: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/blogs/freakonomics/pdf/DeliberatePractice(PsychologicalReview).pdf And now, a text-only Q&A from the "Interacting" post. These are the questions I didn't make it to on stage. Q: How many things can you "get good at" through practice? A: Good question. I'm focusing on cartoon art and writing right now, and of course I'm working on business skills too. Oh, and presentation skills, which I feel need lots of focused attention. How good am I at any of these? Good enough to get paid, I suppose. This is something that's going to differ from person to person. I gave up on being a musician because I don't think I have enough hours in the day to be any good at that while still being good enough at cartooning to get paid. There's probably research on this subject. Have fun finding it! Q: On whom do you inflict your practice when you're working on your weaknesses? A: Hmmm.... I'd say you need to practice your weaknesses, they're things you've already had help identifying, and you won't need external feedback to know when you've improved. Ideally you'd go back to the same expert who helped you the first time, I suppose. For writers it's trickier. Deliberate, focused practice on a weak spot (let's say "voicing different characters) for writers looks like little exercises where (using the same example) you try to write two pages of dialog in which you never use narrative cues to identify the speakers. It's JUST dialog. Those exercises are boring to read. They're not art. They're PRACTICE. Just like a violinist doesn't require an audience for scales and arpeggios, you don't need an audience for these. Ultimately, though, you'll want feedback to see if the practice is paying off. Getting into a good writing group is probably the best thing for it. Speaking of which, Writing Excuses! Now in our second season, and there's a discussion group for it over at the Time Waster's Guide. Q: When will the video archive be available? A: I don't know. They'll email me, and then I'll blog it. Fair?