“Great performance is in our hands far more than most of us ever suspected.” – Page 6

Happy new month, beautiful people! We are almost halfway through the year 2016 and it is unbelievable how much time is flying by. Hope you managed to start and finish a book in the rollercoaster month that was May.

In May I read ‘Talent is Overrated’ by Geoff Colvin (mostly because it came highly recommended by a client of mine). It’s an average sized book (about 300 pages depending on what format you’re reading). There are 11 chapters in the book.

In the first chapter, Colvin states his argument: the problematic assumption that anyone who is truly great at anything was born for it or was just naturally genius. Hence, people who are just average are average as a result of their talentlessness (this is my review, I can make up any word I want). The next chapters after that, Colvin hits us with the facts, with real life examples: Mozart, Beethoven, Tiger Woods, Shizuka Arakawa, Jack Welch (CEO of GE), and some others.

“Mozart’s first work regarded today as a masterpiece, with its status confirmed by the number of recordings available, is his Piano Concerto No. 9, composed when he was twenty-one. That’s certainly an early age, but we must remember that by then Wolfgang had been through eighteen years of extremely hard, expert training.” – Page 26

Turns out these people who we actually thought were born with greatness simply did over 10 years of dedicated, deliberate practice to reach their highest potential – to attain celebrity and the honorable “talent/genius” titles the world gave them.

“A study of figure skaters found that sub-elite skaters spent lots of time working on the jumps they could already do, while skaters at the highest levels spent more time on the jumps they couldn’t do, the kind that ultimately win Olympic medals and that involve lots of falling down before they’re mastered.” – Page 187

I was going to argue that there are tons of people who go to the same job every day put in thousands and thousands of hours cumulative but never attain “genius”. Why?

“Occassionally people actually get worse with experience. More experienced doctors reliably score lower on tests of medical knowledge than do less experience doctors; general physicians also become less skilled over time at diagnosing heart sounds and x-rays.” – Page 4

Colvin argues you can actually become worse with experience. This is because actions become automated (no longer deliberate, tentative, well-thought-through)

This book gave me Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers vibes which would’ve been good if I didn’t already read Outliers. So it felt like reading the same book again, except it’s written slightly different. If you haven’t read Gladwell’s book, please get this. It’s well-written with solid arguments/facts.

Was the author successful in carrying out the overall purposes of the book? Definitely

Would you recommend this book to others? Most definitely

Rating: 4/5

My recommendations for this month are:

  • Digital Epidemic – Deola Kayode (because the author asked me to)
  • Bone – Yrsa Daley Ward (because I’ve heard only good things about her poetry)
  • Unashamed – Christine Caine (because Christine Caine is bae)

Don’t forget you only have to read one book.

Before we get to your reviews I’m glad to announce  that we have another partner on board. The awesome people at Africareeds.com have decided to give all you book lovers 10% discount on any purchase made on their site. All you have to do is use this promo code when checking out: NAKEDCONVOS10. So you see, now you have absolutely no excuse.

I would really like to know what you guys are reading. If you have any book-loving friends, share this article with them. What do you know? We could swap reading lists

What book did you read?

Summarise

Evaluate and critique the book

Wrap up with the strengths and weaknesses and mention if you would recommend the book to other people

Give a numerical score/rating.

Responses

  1. ovie
    Sounds interesting and yes so much like Outliers. I was already thinking “outliers” before you mentioned the book. I think it’s a book i would like to read especially if a lot of researched facts were referenced. Breaking the talent myth is a theme yet to be overflogged (unlike the tons of materials available under the “Motivationals” theme) so i wouldn’t mind reading something similar to Outliers
    0
  2. Samson
    So I read ‘Language of God’ by Francis Collins. And it’s a rather interesting book that tries to bridge science and theism from the perspective of a scientist. Pretty good read. About 288 pages.

    I read the outliers in 2 nights. Great book.

    0
  3. Tunrayo
    I started reading Half of A Yellow Sun last month and I haven’t finished it. I also read a short story in an anthology (don’t know if that’s the right word) called Safe House. It was released recently by Cassava Republic. The anthology is defined as a creative non-fiction. The one story I read was fantastic and was about Chinese immigrants in Senegal.
    1+
    1. Ibukun
      Hey Tunrayo! How come you didn’t finish Half of a Yellow Sun? Chinese immigrants in Senegal sounds super specific/particular. What was their story?
      0
  4. Anuoluwapo
    I read Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell & All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr.

    I loved All The Light We Cannot See. It won the 2015 Pulitzer for fiction. I don’t think I can fault the book :( .
    You know when you read a great book but you don’t want to call it great because it ended so sad & you wish it had ended differently? That’s All The Light We Cannot See for me! The end annoyed me and made me sad at the same time. It’s Historical Fiction by the way!

    I fell in love with the characters. I felt what they felt and connected with them easily

    The story is about a blind French girl and a young German boy in World War 2 and it is written from both their point of view.
    I highly recommend it. I would give it a 4.5/5.

    0
    1. Ibukun
      I’ve always wanted to read this Deorr book but now that you have told me it’s a sad book, I may never read it lmao. I recently watched some indie sci-fi movie called Ex-Machina. Till today I keep re-watching the ending, just in case it changed overnight.

      Did you like Fangirl?

      0
      1. Anu
        Lol. Imagine. Has it changed yet? Fan girl was okay.
        It is one of those books you read to take a break from reading.
        it’s easy, light , ‘plot-less’, ‘suprise-less’ and ‘straight forward-yes’ LOL. Has a happy ending and gets a bit ‘draggy’. If you are on a reading break from heart breaking -plot filled – well written books then Fangirl is a 4/5 but if you are on the prowl for a good book 2/5
        0
  5. Ovie
    Last month, I read “What the dog saw” by Malcolm Gladwell (yes I’m a great fan!), successfully achieving my goal of reading all his books. That guy’s mind is just profound. How he links seemingly unrelated stories to concepts or ideas he is driving at is simply beyond me. I also read 7 habits of Highly effective people by Steven Covey. My church has a 1MIB-type thing for leaders and that was the book for the month. Though it was like the 4th time I was reading it, but it still felt so fresh and deeply insightful. I was so inspired by the book that I came up with a personal Mission statement for my life. I will recommend it anytime. Robert Ludlum’s Bourne Identity was the only novel I read last month. Found it more riveting than the movie actually. Finally, I read Mere Christianity by the great author and Christian thinker, C.S. Lewis. Though quite an old book, it is not any less relevant to our times.
    0
    1. Ibukun
      Like diamonds are forever, CS Lewis is forever. Can I just saw how jealous I am that you read this much in a month. Life is trying to separate me from my one true love. Great job!

      I still read Mere Christianity from time to time. I think you’d like The Pursuit of God by AW Tozer. I think Lewis and Tozer were contemporaries – both of them brilliant minds.

      0
      1. Ovie
        Trust me life has not stopped trying to do that to me. In fact life so tried that i had to make it a goal to read at least 4 books every month, even if it kills me!. Well, sadly the goal in itself didn’t increase my God-alloted 24 hour day. What is doing the magic for me is the 30 – 45min carved out of my mornings before i leave for work. Thankfully i’m a fast reader so i can cover a modest number of pages in 30min. I do fall short of my goal sometimes but so far I have hit the target more often.
        And yes, I have read Tozer’s “The pursuit of God”. Funny enough, just yesterday before i saw your comment, i was tempted to pick it up from my shelf as i embarked on a trip, but changed my mind and picked something else. It was when i got to my hotel room i saw your comment and was like “may be I should have picked it instead”. Lol.
        0
  6. OT
    I read Outliers five years ago and till date it is still the best book I have read. David and Goliath, also by Malcolm Gladwell, is also a good read. Currently reading 360 degree leader by John Maxwell. After which I’ll have Achebe’s There Was a Country.
    1+
    1. Ibukun
      Malcolm Gladwell is a stellar guy. I remember reading David and Goliath and finding out Goliath actually had some illness/deformity that didn’t let him see well/move fast enough that’s why David was able to defeat him. MIND. BLOWN.

      Love your book choices, OT!

      I might read There Was a Country next month

      1+
  7. The Alchemist
    Well, in May I read Futuristica Volume 1. Which is an anthology by Metasagas press (It is out I’m June but read it in May because I have a story in it and got an advance copy)

    The book is a collection of stories set in the future that explore where humanity is going and how technological and social issues could play out. The book deliberately contains stories from all over the world from Nigeria to India, Japan to Italy, there are a multitude of futures here.

    I don’t know how objective I can be since I had a story in it but I really like the collection. Some stories explore great ideas, some have fast paced action, some are funny. There was only one story I honestly did not enjoy in it. For a collection with over 20 stories in it. That’s a great success rate I believe and also a lot of stories for the price. Also the breadth of visions here is really great. I think every continent and even outer space features in this collection of futures.

    The best part of almost all these stories are their ideas. They are all very interesting (except the one I didn’t like). If there is one thing to complain about, it’s that the theme is a bit too open so the futures aren’t targeted. It might have been cool if the earth bound, space bound, near future and far future stories were kept to different volumes for readers of different tastes. Anyway. I’d happily recommend the book and give it a 4/5. A solid collection of stories even of I do say so myself.

    0
  8. TheKunbi
    I read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

    It was an amazing book. Lord. The way she starts the book, has you thinking it’s going to be a regular read about the lives of 4 young college boys in New York.

    Then she starts exploring their lives intricately. My word. This is the first book that actually made me scream. I cried at certain points, real tears. No joke.

    I don’t want to give too much away and spoil this book. But, it’s a very very good read, especially in terms of human relations and how certain events/actions in our past could affect our future.

    I would recommend this book for everyone. It’s quite a long read, about 700+ pages. But it’s worth it, every single page. And, you probably won’t notice, because you’ll be too engrossed.

    Final score: 5/5

    0
    1. Ibukun
      I’ve been trying to post a reply to your comment for the past few days and it’s been so hard. MTN has just been doing me anyhow.
      As AMAZING as this book sounds I may not read it any time soon because it’s so sad. Everything is so sad these days I’m trying to read only happy things.
      0
  9. Katniss
    I didn’t fall off the wagon, I promise! So I think I have read one and half books since the last time I was here. I read Are We the Turning Point Generation by Chude Jideonwo in April/May, which is a collection of articles he wrote over a period of time. It details the author’s thoughts about Nigeria and its politics mostly. It was a good book by an intelligent person, a bit biased but it made me think very deeply about this dear country of ours. Lets just say most of the thoughts were depressing thoughts but I’m now more conscious of how much work there is to be done for us to experience a turn-around positively. Would definitely recommend it especially for young people who don’t care much about politics and related things. 3.4/5
    Currently reading Inferno by Dan Brown. I love love love Dan Brown. When I read his books, I spend as much time googling things I don’t know as I spend on the book. Now my head is filled with Dante and Venice and thoughts of overpopulation and whatnot. The character is still Robert Langdon who seems to attract drama like ants are drawn to sugar but it’s still a fun read especially for lovers of fiction and history. Will definitely recommend it. My rating will depend on how the book ends and I have 150 pages more
    0
    1. Ibukun
      I should get round to reading Chude Jideonwo sometime. Heard/read positive reviews so far. Let your fans know what you rate Inferno when you’re done.
      0
  10. Exclusive
    TheKunbi got me thinking I’m gonna read that book.

    Last month mostly saw me re-reading a few of my favourite books.

    0
  11. Remen
    Hi Ibukun. Please we would like to start a book reading club in my office and I am the one supposed to champion it. Please I need ideas on how to start one up. Thankyou
    0
    1. Ibukun
      Hey Remen,

      So sorry for the late reply to this! Book clubs are always a good idea! I think it’ll be good practice to leave the selection of books to read each month to a really small circle. If you do the democratic thing and ask everyone to vote, you will never read anything. If you’ll be dealing with money (monthly dues, maybe) make sure you send everyone a monthly income/expenses report so they know where their money is going.

      For meetings, be as democratic as possible and pick a day that works for most people. LMBC meets on Sundays at 2pm because no one will ever have an impromptu work meeting or something. If your club has over 10 people, you could negotiate a discount from a bookseller/bookstore so you’re getting books cheaper.

      Let me know if there’s anything else you’d need help with. Goodluck!

      0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

+