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Wilfrid Sheed

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People talk about talent as though it were some neutral substance that can be applied to anything. But talent is narrow and only functions with a very few subjects, which it is up to the writer to find.
--
"Howe's Complaint" (1973), p. 15

 
Wilfrid Sheed

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Criticism is often not a science; it is a craft, requiring more good health than wit, more hard work than talent, more habit than native genius. In the hands of a man who has read widely but lacks judgment, applied to certain subjects it can corrupt both its readers and the writer himself.

 
Jean de La Bruyere
 

Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent which attitude certainly has a great deal to support it. On the other hand, it is only because the world looks on his talent with such a frightening indifference that the artist is compelled to make his talent important. So that any writer, looking back over even so short a span of time as I am here forced to assess, finds that the things which hurt him and the things which helped him cannot be divorced from each other; he could be helped in a certain way only because he was hurt in a certain way; and his help is simply to be enabled to move from one conundrum to the next one is tempted to say that he moves from one disaster to the next.

 
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Universality is the distinguishing mark of genius. There is no such thing as a special genius, a genius for mathematics, or for music, or even for chess, but only a universal genius. ... The theory of special genius, according to which for instance, it is supposed that a musical genius should be a fool at other subjects, confuses genius with talent. ... There are many kinds of talent, but only one kind of genius, and that is able to choose any kind of talent and master it.

 
Otto Weininger
 

In the end it all comes down to talent. You can talk all you want about intangibles, I just don't know what that means. Talent makes winners, not intangibles. Can nice guys win? Sure, nice guys can win if they're nice guys with a lot of talent. Nice guys with a little talent finish fourth, and nice guys with no talent finish last.

 
Sandy Koufax
 

Take me as an example. I happen to have a talent for allocating capital. But my ability to use that talent is completely dependent on the society I was born into. If I'd been born into a tribe of hunters, this talent of mine would be pretty worthless. I can't run very fast. I'm not particularly strong. I'd probably end up as some wild animal's dinner.

 
Warren Buffett
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