Books: How do top achievers do it?

Two authors try to pin down the approach most likely to bring success. Hours of practice and persistence are key. It's an intriguing subject, says Luke Johnson.

Talent is Overrated: What really separates world-class performers from everybody else

Geoff Colvin
Nicholas Brealey £12.99
Outliers: The story of success
Malcolm Gladwell
Allen Lane £16.99

I think my father, Paul Johnson, is an outstanding writer - and I am not alone. He has a particular ability to create vigorous prose, assemble interesting facts and mount a compelling argument on paper. Perhaps some of that ability is inherited. But he is also very hard-working - has written millions of words - and probably got better at it while he was authoring all those books and articles. Is his literary skill a gift, or has it been acquired through graft? I suspect both.

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