Talent Is Never Enough Summary, PDF, Quotes, And Review

Talent Is Never Enough by John Maxwell discusses why talent alone is not enough for a person to become successful. The author also talks about other qualities like passion, patience, perseverance, courage, etc which also play a crucial role in achieving your goals.

Who should read Talent Is Never Enough Summary?

I highly recommend this summary to anyone who is:

  • Not getting the desired results in his life despite being talented at a particular thing.
  • Doesn’t like talented people and thinks that it’s unfair to have talent.
  • Interested in becoming exceptional but doesn’t know how to do so.
  • Simply interested in knowing about whether talent contributes to a person’s achievements or not.

Even if you are not exceptionally gifted and don’t like talented people who seem to easily achieve lots of success in their lives — you still need to read this summary.

This summary will help you realize that talent is not everything — that not being a talented person is not a big deal.

You’ll realize that you can still beat a talented person with other qualities.

Keep reading to learn what those qualities are…

Talent Is Never Enough Summary (PDF)

Alright, so without further ado, let’s dive right in!

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Lesson #1: “Right beliefs help you grow your talent.”

doubt or believe

Maybe you are a very talented singer…

Maybe you are a very talented writer — maybe you can write even better than Stephen King after practice…

Maybe you can take better freekicks in football than David Beckham after practice…

Put simply, you might be very — yes very, very, talented in a particular thing.

We all can grow and become super talented in one or two things.

Look, this doesn’t mean to say that everyone is unique.

The fact is:

Usually, we are good at something — so it comes naturally to us than other people.

For instance, observing and doing research comes naturally to me. I simply love doing research.

But not all people are talented at it.

Maybe you are simply a better cricketer than others.

That’s what we call talent, right?

What is talent?

When we say that someone is talented, we don’t mean that he is good at everything.

What we mean is that person simply has a higher potential to become great at a particular thing than an average person.

The question is:

What holds most people back then if we all are talented in a particular thing — which is some things come naturally to us — not necessarily the same?

The answer is:

Our beliefs.

Yes, that’s right.

Most of us don’t believe that we can achieve extraordinary growth in a field.

You might be wondering, “why in a particular field?”

Well, that’s because we all have got limited time. So obviously you can’t become great at everything as it requires hours of practice to become truly extraordinary at a thing.

Yes, we all have the potential.

But sadly, the time isn’t that much on our side due to its limited nature.

Agree? Okay.

Most people realize sooner about their talents. While others realize their talents a bit late.

But still, not everyone becomes great.

A lack of beliefs in your talent limits your growth.

The author found that people with greater belief achieve better results in their lives and jobs.

Please note that wrong beliefs must be avoided at all costs.

If you are not talented at Skill A, then don’t force yourself. Try skill B.

Again, if you suck at skill B, try skill C.

Often people choose the wrong skills or delude themselves that they are good at a particular skill without realizing that they suck at it.

Hey, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t suck at something.

Remember we are talking about TALENT here.

So to be talented at a skill, you must be naturally better than others.

Once you find the skill you are talented at, have some faith.

Try to see that you have got the potential and you can achieve great success.

Also, note that only beliefs won’t help you become great.

Beliefs are necessary, sure!

But they are powerless — unless you put them into action.

Don’t be like:

“I believe I can become a great footballer like Ronaldo as I’m talented in football.”

… and then skip your daily practice.

That way, you will only fool yourself.

You’ll be away from reality.

Because in reality, you achieve nothing without putting in the required work.

And at the same time, don’t be like:

“I don’t think I can become a great footballer like Ronaldo. Look at me. I’m pathetic.”

This won’t help you in any way.

It may even affect your attitude in other aspects of life.

People will tell you not to believe in big dreams.

But if you are actually talented and truly believe in yourself — just go for it.

Also read: Be Obsessed Or Be Average Summary

Lesson #2: “Passion energizes your talent.”

It's not my work. It's my passion.

Only beliefs are not enough…

You also need a burning drive to achieve your dreams.

This is where passion comes in.

We all know passion after Steve Jobs, don’t we?

We all have heard popular phrases like:

“Be passionate about your goals.”

So what makes PASSION that amazing?

Passionate people don’t fear failures.

So no matter what — they try to achieve their goals — and with determination, ultimately, achieve them.

Sound cool? Yes, it is.

But in practice, this is not that pleasurable. In fact, it’s the opposite.

So most people give up and lose faith in their abilities.

What are the advantages of being passionate?

There are so many…

Benefit #1Passion gives you limitless energy.

When you are passionate about something, you are filled with energy and enthusiasm, the author says.

And yes, it’s true.

Let me explain.

Passion holds a strong desire to do something.

Strong desires may even make you climb mountains and reach other planets. So they naturally fill you with energy and give you a push towards action.

Desires are many. But the one that overpowers every other is your passion.

Please note that the energy derived by passion may fade away if your passion isn’t genuine.

Most people confuse temporary interests with passion.

Guess what happens? They regret it later.

Passion must come from a sense of purpose. There should clarity in your goals.

Otherwise, you will only be setting yourself for regret and disappointment.

Got that? Great.

Benefit #2Passion helps you overcome setbacks in your journey.

Failures are a part of life.

It doesn’t mean that there are always failures before success.

Most people get this wrong:

They think that each success precedes failure.

It might be true in most cases. But it doesn’t have to be true always.

The reason we get failures is that we make stupid mistakes. And when we don’t, the circumstances don’t provide a clear path.

So there is a high chance that if your dream is big enough, you may meet failures in your journey to success.

If your passion is genuine, it will overpower your failures.

Passionate people don’t stop if they fail.

They look and analyze the cause of failure and move ahead. They make sure that they don’t repeat any mistakes again.

Passion is not about becoming dull in your mind.

You must be smart and think about how you can achieve your goals fast.

Must read: So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport (Summary)

Note: There are lots of other obvious benefits of being passionate like passionate people can easily influence other people, become great leaders, etc.

But they will make the summary longer than needed.

So let’s move on to the other lesson…

Lesson #3: “Talent is useless without taking initiative.”

There are many talented people on this planet.

But we never hear about them.

You know why?

Because they never take the first step.

They never take the initiative towards their goals.

So what happens?

Their talent stays dormant.

They never grow.

They see dreams. (We all do, right?)

But those dreams never become reality.

Sound painful, doesn’t it? It is.

This is the importance of taking action: Actions create results.

Results are too distant things, though.

You first need to be good at a particular skill — the skill in which you are talented.

And then step-by-step work on it under the guidance of someone who has knowledge and experience about it.

The author says that initiative gives you momentum.

To reach your goals fast, you need momentum.

In physics, momentum is mass multiplied by velocity.


Mass is constant. Likewise, most of our beliefs remain constant.

What takes you forward are actions followed by strong beliefs.

Beliefs and actions, together, create magic.

This magic is the momentum.

That’s how you grow fast!

From my personal experience, I can tell that whenever a thing seems difficult to me, I just take the first step without thinking much.

Of course, I plan. But at one point, I stop thinking and simply take initiative.

And magically, it seems less daunting than earlier.

The author says that initiative eases your difficulties in life.

You know what’s amazing?

Once you learn to take initiative, you get over procrastination.

Procrastination is your enemy. It introduces inertia in your life.

Simply, it makes you lazy like a dog — who doesn’t have any care about his life.

It stops you from taking action.

What happens is:

We imagine more than needed.

And then we get tired just by overthinking.

You can think of becoming richer than Bill Gates.

But you won’t — unless you take any initiative like starting your own business or building multiple streams of income.

The author suggests that you should take initiative — even if you are not 100% sure.

Why does he suggest that?

That’s because you can always figure something out later in case something unexpected happens.

But if you never take action in the first place, you have already failed.

Do you think that you all successful people had a clear path laid in front of them while they were starting? Hell no.

They carved their way out with determination and patience.

They might not have been the most talented person. But still, they kept learning and optimized their efforts.

They kept moving in the right direction — or at least they maintained momentum — even if they were confused.

Do you really think that Jeff Bezos knew how to make Amazon such a giant company as it is now? He didn’t.

He must be having a few plans, a business model, a few strategies, or maybe a few people to help him lay the foundation of Amazon.

But even he didn’t know that he would be this successful as he is today.

So you see, you don’t have to be perfect to become successful.

You don’t have to be the most talented person on the earth.

The initiative is even more important than talent.

Talent gives you a bit edge over others. That’s it.

What you achieve after that depends on how passionate you are and how much work you put in.

Sure, you can reduce manual labor if you are smart. But that still counts as work, doesn’t it?

Suggested read: Chop Wood Carry Water Summary

Lesson #4: “Focus helps you direct your talent in the right direction.”

3 focused executives giving direction to their growth

The author says that focus doesn’t come naturally to us.

You can even validate this fact in your everyday life.

Answer this question:

What’s easier: Reading research papers or Watching a trending show on Netflix?

For most people, watching a trending show on Netflix will be first on their priority list.


Because most people don’t know how to focus on the things that really matter in life.

As a result, they focus on unproductive tasks.

Does this mean that they lack focus? Hell no.

There is no person on earth who can’t focus on anything — unless you have got a mental issue.

Even people, who you think can’t focus on anything, focus on useless activities.

So before we discuss how to remain focused on productive tasks, let’s try to understand why focus is so important in our life.

Here is a quick summary of “why focus is important” according to the author:

  • “Focus increases energy.”

True indeed. You see, when you work with focus, your intention is strong.

That means you work with full intensity, which helps you fight any challenges during your work.

When you are in the zone, your mental barriers weaken a bit and thus allow you to tap into your full potential.

Your talent shines out when you focus — not theoretically, but practically.

  • “Focus expands your life.”

If you learn how to focus on any task, you can filter out the clutter in your life.

As I said earlier, people are always focusing — but most of the time they focus on wrong or unproductive stuff.

So their life expands as a result but is filled with unwanted problems.

But when you focus on the right things, your life fills itself with good stuff like energy, enthusiasm, love, devotion, respect, honesty, etc.

So not only do these things help you polish your talent, but also your entire life in general.

Now the question is:

How can one become focused and sustain his focus for longer durations?

You know, you can try many things out of fascination.

But the only thing that works is:

Remove distractions from your life.

Focus is mostly about removing unproductive clutter from your life.

Want to focus on a career? Get rid of things that distract you from your career.

Want to focus on your academics? Remove the things that distract you away from it.

Yes, it’s that easy.

The harder part is to figure out what to remove and how.

Often we get too attached to distraction and build habits around it that it seems daunting to get rid of those things.

You know it, right?

When you are watching your favorite serial, it becomes difficult to do any other thing.

You are focused at that moment. But you are acting out of your instincts.

You are focused on watching the show without realizing the fact that you could be utilizing that time to do some other productive activity.

Just realize that focus is important.

And it is not impossible to focus.

You simply have to work on minimizing the distractions around you and the focus will come as a by-product.

But don’t mistakenly believe that focus will come naturally.

Focus demands deliberate attention and effort.

Focus is all about consciously getting rid of distraction.

Did you understand this properly? Awesome.

You know, without focus, talent won’t be of much help.

You may be highly talented. But if you lack focus, you won’t be able to become exceptional at the thing you are talented at.

Keep that in mind!

Also read: Grit To Great Summary

Lesson #5: Never underestimate the value of preparation before action

kids preparing for their exam

Most people stop their preparation once they see that they are born talented at a particular thing.

As we discussed, we all are talented.

But some people fail to realize their talents.

And those who do think that they don’t need to prepare.

The author says that good preparation leads to action.

Yes, preparation is a waste of time if it doesn’t push you to take action.


That’s because you get results only when you take action.

So action is inevitable if you want results.

What matters, even more, is the quality of action that you take.

You see, preparation helps you find your weaknesses.

Although the author says that you should focus more on your strengths rather than weaknesses, I believe that you should work on both.

Ignoring your weaknesses is also not great.

At the same time, you should capitalize on your strengths.

Also, remember that there is no such thing as “the end of preparation.”

Let me explain.

The legends or professionals too prepare before they play their games.

Talent is an advantage — but only when you have prepared enough.

Otherwise, you’ll be at a disadvantage.

The thing is:

People who are not talented make determination and hard work their strengths.

Let’s say you are a talented guitarist. But you don’t prepare before a concert.

You may be okay if you don’t prepare.

On the other side, your competition will work hard to beat you as they realize that they need to work harder to beat any talented person out there.

But since you are talented, you will tend to not do enough practice.

Guess who will perform better: The talented one or the prepared one?

If the talented person prepares well, then sure he will shine more than his competition. But if he relies purely on his talent, then he may or may not win.

The author also says that preparation is a process, not an event.

That means:

Preparation is an ongoing process. It changes as you grow, But it’s always there.

In the end, it becomes your strength.

So why lose out on it, right?

You might think, “If preparation is so important, then why do talented people tend to skip their preparation?”

That’s the mindset problem.

According to the author people fail to prepare because they don’t understand the value of preparation, which requires discipline.

And most people don’t have discipline.


That’s because discipline demands patience and consistency.

And if you are a good observer, you already know how patient people are these days.

According to this article, humans are now having a shorter average attention span of around 8 seconds. It has decreased from 12 seconds to 8 seconds.

So it’s natural that most people struggle to work with discipline.

That’s also the reason most people hate preparation before doing any important task.

Look, I’m not saying that people never prepare. We are talking about talented people here.

Many people prepare due to the fear of failure.

But since talented people know that they are already better than most people, they tend to become overconfident and often skip their preparation.

Of course, not all people do this. We are talking in a general sense.

Another thing that you should keep in mind is:

Preparation must never make you lose the momentum that we talked about in the previous lesson.

Preparation allows you to analyze your strengths and weakness, make plans, strategize, but ultimately it should lead you to take action, the author says.

Not taking action and preparing all the time is worse than not preparing.

Because when you do that you fool your mind into believing that work is being done. You end up having Action Bias — even when you are not moving towards your goals.

Whenever you prepare, ask yourself:

“How is my preparation going to help me move closer to my goals?”

This way, you will avoid the trap of inaction and will be able to keep your momentum going.

So never underestimate the value of preparation — no matter how talented you are.

“Talent is not everything!”

Read About Goal Setting: The One Thing by Gary Keller (Summary)

Lesson #6: Legends are made not born

legends are made not born

The author talks about why practice is so important to sharpen our talents.

Often people think that talented people get everything easily and they are the ones who are unlucky.

Well, they don’t know the full story.

Just imagine any expert or successful person.

Do you really believe that he was born that way?

We often think in stories. So we unnecessarily create big stories.

The truth is:

To become an expert you have to practice and excel at your talents.

Sure, many people get an advantage and have more opportunities than other people — just because they are born in a wealthy family.

But even then, one needs to practice and work to become truly great.

You can’t have it all by dreaming.

There are books like “Think And Grow Rich.”

But both you and I know that nobody becomes rich simply by thinking.

Success depends on a lot of factors — most of which aren’t in our control.

But how much effort you put in and what work you choose is definitely in your control.

So why not focus on that?

You want to become a legendary painter? Paint a lot.

You want to become a legendary writer? Write a lot.

Practice a lot!

If you are talented, then practice will improve the quality of your work.

And even if you are not talented — you will still be ahead of most people.

Sound cool, right?

Believe me, once you get the hang of it, practice is fun.

The process is even better than the destination — after you realize the beauty of the practice.

So practice a lot…

Who knows, you may even become a legend.

Sound unbelievable? To be honest, it is hard to become a legend.

But there is still a possibility, isn’t there?

Now the question is:

What’s the right way of doing practice?

Well, there is no fixed answer.

Some people take the help of an experienced person or a coach.

Some people do it all by themselves.

Sometimes, practice gets difficult due to a lack of the proper resources.

The key here is to put the right effort in the right direction.

You must have a clear purpose, the author says.

If you practice wrong things a thousand times, you are no better than a person who hasn’t done anything.

Bruce Lee also said once:

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

But here is a catch though…

Bruce forgot to tell one thing:

You should practice in the right way.

Do you understand?

If you practice the wrong kick 10,000 times, then you will not be exceptional.

It doesn’t mean that you are not allowed to fail.

Failures help you find your mistakes. But you should also look out for opportunities to improve yourself with every kick.

I think it’s a better approach…

It’s better to be mindful — even while doing practice.

You should also keep in mind that it’s okay to take the help of other people and it’s okay to fail. Often people feel ashamed of taking help from others.

That hurts your growth.


When you don’t take help, you tend to waste more time.

Which kills your productivity.

Moreover, becoming great doesn’t have to be a contest of EGOs.

You see, our pride doesn’t let us ask for help.

So don’t be ashamed when asking for help.

And never feel guilty if you fail.

It’s common advice, though.

But it works!

Whenever you fail, try to find out why you failed.

Fix the problem.

Then keep the momentum going.

Lesson #7: Courage helps you test your abilities

people showing courage in their fields

Talent is only a part of the puzzle.

Sooner or later, you will face obstacles.

And that’s when your courage will help you.

So one can’t give all the credit of success to mere talent.

When you hustle to achieve something, you must have enough courage to fight through all the obstacles in your path.

And courage doesn’t come easily to everyone.

Courage is developed bit by bit with patience.

The more obstacles you face, the more fearless you become.

The more fears you face, the more courage you develop.

Whether you believe it or not, fear may become a big issue if it is not handled at the right time.

For instance, you want to become a musician, but you fear public speaking. You think what other people will think of you.

In this case, unless you show courage and make more public appearances, your growth will become slower with time.

You will try to bypass golden opportunities simply because you don’t have enough courage to face the crowd.

Are you getting the point here?

Some people can fight their fears easily.

While others take more time.

It’s difficult to totally eliminate your fears. There are so many, right?

But they can be managed with practice and courage.

The author says that learning and growing require courage to take action.

That means:

If you fail to take action with courage, you will fail sooner or later.


That’s because action is part of learning.

There is hardly any learning without action.

And action demands courage to face your fears.

Learning without action is memorization.

Action can be both physical and mental. So don’t think that you only need to put physical effort to learn.

Thinking and creating something online is also an action.

But binge-watching Netflix is not an action. Because then, you are only sitting and consuming content without putting much effort for the sake of pleasure.

Even if you consider that as action, it’s still pointless. Why? Because that action isn’t aligned with your goals.

Make sense? Cool.

Where there is action and growth, there is life.

Learning and growth make you alive.

What’s weird is:

Even in simple tasks, you require a bit of willpower.

And willpower is the lowest when you have to face a big obstacle.

We want things to be simple, right?

But often the things — that are truly worth doing — aren’t easy.

So build your courage.

Fight your obstacles…

And then achieve your goals.

Even if you fail, let’s say, then have some courage to face your failures.

Be bold. Be courageous.

I know it sounds a lot.

But… it’s worth doing.

Because ultimately, it’ll help you become stronger and achieve your goals.

One thing worth noting is that:

“You don’t need to be talented to be courageous.”

Isn’t that amazing? Of course, it is.

Read about dealing with anxiety and fears: Rewire Your Anxious Brain (Summary)

Here is how you can build your skills and grow your talent

As you learned: Talent alone is never enough.

Along with talent, you also need skills to back it up.

But how can one build in-demand skills?

I’d like to introduce you to you LinkedIn Learning platform.

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The key takeaways from “Talent Is Never Enough Summary”

Talent Is Never Enough Summary Infographic

Let’s quickly recap the key ideas you learned in this summary so that you don’t get lost and overwhelmed:

  • Lesson #1: “Right beliefs help you grow your talent.”
  • Lesson #2: “Passion energizes your talent.”
  • Lesson #3: “Talent is useless without taking initiative.”
  • Lesson #4: “Focus helps you direct your talent in the right direction.”
  • Lesson #5: Never underestimate the value of preparation before action.
  • Lesson #6: Legends are made not born.
  • Lesson #7: Courage helps you test your abilities.

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Talent Is Never Enough Quotes

Here are some of the notable quotes from this book:

A winner knows how much he still has to learn, even when he is considered an expert by others. A loser wants to be considered an expert by others, before he has learned enough to know how little he knows. ~ Sydney Harris

Success is little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you are tired — you quit when the gorilla is tired. ~ Robert Strauss

He who has done his best for his own time has lived for all times. ~Johan Von Schiller

There are many things that will catch my eye, but there are only a few that catch my heart. It is those I consider to purpose. ~ Tim Redmond

Talent Is Never Enough Review

After reading this book, I’ve started enjoying reading John Maxwell.

This guy has some serious knowledge.

The author loves to stretch things a bit. But somehow I like it as it helps you to retain information better.

The author doesn’t bore the reader even when things get repetitive.

This book is overall good and worth reading.

You won’t be disappointed if you choose to read this book.

I didn’t know that one could write this much about why talent is not enough.

The approach of the author is clear:

He wants to educate the reader about other qualities like patience, practice, courage, preparation, teachability, etc. that help a lot.

Even a person who isn’t talented can achieve remarkable results in his life if he possesses such qualities.

I agree with the author too.

Life doesn’t depend on a single factor.

Talent is helpful. But it isn’t everything.

Frankly speaking, you don’t really need to read the book to understand this simple fact of life.

But the beginners, who have just started their self-improvement journey, should definitely read this book.

My Book Rating: 7.8/10

Now it’s your turn

There you have it.

I hope you enjoyed reading this book summary.

If you liked it, feel free to share it with your friends.

Thanks for reading.

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Shami Manohar

About The Author
I'm Shami Manohar, the Founder of WizBuskOut. My love and obsession of non-fiction books fueled me with the energy to create this website. I read at least one book every week on topics like business, critical thinking, mindset, psychology, and more...