I just finished listening to David Shenk's recent The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ Is Wrong
(2010 320p.). Shenk's book joins The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How (2009) and Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World Class Performers from Everyone Else (2nd entry) in emphasizing what we do by way of learning over what we endowed with by nature. Shenk goes after the idea that genius, however we define it, resides in our genetic inheritance. He argues that we no longer can accept a G (genetics) + E (environment) paradigm. Instead, we have to think of G x E; that is, how genes interact with the environment to create outcomes. Genetic expression, not genetic inheritance, becomes a foundation for understanding how we come to perform and act. He follows many of the common examples, such as Mozart, Beethoven, Yo-yo Ma, Michael Jordan, and others. What sets them and others at that level apart? It isn't their genetic inheritance; it's their intense practice and drive.
These three books, all quite interesting, all point to one answer: if you want to be really good at something, do the hard work of practice. "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, man, practice."