Day By Day

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

How to Become a Genius

David Brooks surveys recent research on the matter. The answer is simple -- dedication. Start young, work hard, and practice, practice, practice. Being obsessive helps. So does being exposed to the "charmed circle" of high achievers early on and having supportive and demanding parents. What might be surprising to most people -- talent and IQ don't count for much in the long run. What can we take from this? Childhood is a time for acquiring important values, habits, and skills. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that should not be wasted because it can never be recovered.

Read it here.

Of course, who would want to live in a society comprised exclusively or largely of geniuses.

I was thinking about this recently at a Peabody concert. The performers were uniformly young and extremely skilled [this was, after all, the Peabody Institute]. What was disappointing was to note how few young people were in the audience. The exception was a few Asian families who brought their children to hear a couple hours of Mendelssohn and Mozart. Lucky kids, those.