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#485416 - 11/30/07 06:45 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Quote
Originally posted by Opus_Maximus:
IMO, the truest statement regarding this topic :

“Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.”
-Mozart
Easy to say when you're a "genius" wink

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#485417 - 11/30/07 07:34 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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hmmmm....this is one of those topics in which no real solution is present...but can be fun to indulge in.

Personally, I don't believe in "talent". Life is too nuanced and varied for generic, general titles to be applied in these types of arguments. Everything is the result of a combination of elements, not just one. I'm going to invent a scenario that will help support my statement:

A girl who has been playing piano since age seven. She is very good at many things. Lives a well - rounded, life. Get's straight A's. Does sports. Plays piano. Plays very well. Has a very quick memory, and nice sound.  Practices about 1-2 hrs every day. Leaves time her day for piano, studying, spending time with her boyfriend, etc. She is preparing a Mozart sonata for a recital.

A boy, who has been playing piano since age ten. Generally, someone who has had a hard time in school, both academically and socially. Girls tend not to like him, and despite his efforts in school, things are difficult for him.  But he really falls in love with music, and sees it as a sort of refuge from the troubles of life. Becomes a piano-nerd. Has initial trouble in the beginning reading music because he started late and his technique is bad and his sight reading could improve. But so deep is his love for his instrument and for music, that it becomes is life, and other things suffer from it, but he practices 6 hours a day out of sheer love and determiatnion to express himself musically. Goes go concerts, listen es to recordings, so these help develop his imagination and musical sense.

At age 18, many years later, this boy and this girl meet together at an audition. The girl, being very well rounded, and intelligent plays a delicate movement of a Haydn Sonata. Her playing is well balanced with a few slips, because she has been very busy and not had time to practice.  The boy then plays a technically perfect, passionate, brilliant account of Schumann's first sonata. Ideas are original, and the passage work is flawless.
This is because for the past years, music has been more than just another thing he did as an extracurricular activity, but it was why he lived, it was something that he loved so much that drove him to voluntarily practice six hours a day for all his teen years, and he choose his music at the sacrifice above all else.

Who would those in the audience consider more talented?? The boy  If we went back in time 6 years and both kids where given a test of sigh-reading and basic musical skills, given both their situations at that time, who do think would THEN be considered more talented? The girl.

So, everything is really subject to situation and perspective. It's about priorities and ambition. The girl, naturally being more suited toward doing things well in life - as so many people are - would probably be considered more "talented".  But what about passionate desire? If that is what really made the boy play well, than it's very important - but can we really say it's "talent"?

And that brings me back to the Mozart quote. Whatever one loves more than anything else in the world is going to manifest itself strongest in their life, weather it be love for music, another person, a stress-free life, animals,etc. Perhaps this love is not something you can acquire, but if you didn't have it, then you would not be so bothered by not being able to accomplish it. And if you have enough of it, there would be no reason not to accomplish it. As Pogorelich put it, if "You really really want something, you can't help yourself from having it, it just comes."

I know that this post is filled with cliches and my scenario was an extreme one, but I hope if gets across.

#485418 - 11/30/07 10:32 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Akira said: "I wish I were talented, but I'm not. Hard work will just have to do."

You know I have a different take on how we make progress using any natural talent we have - not just musical talent - combined with "working easy" - NOT "working hard".

Working easy to me is getting ourselves out of the way as obstacles to ourselves, and learning to do "enough" when we play to build what we are learning, retrieve what we know, and polish what we have chosen to memorize or perform or bring to an accomplished state of our satisfaction.

With keenness of mind, decision making, management skills (time and task) it is achievable.

Make your musical activities pleasurable and you will make faster progress.

Just be and do at the piano. Be who you are as a musician at this present moment - this is you. At future moments, with "enough" you will be a better musician, and with diligence and perseverance, your efforts (let's replace that word!) INVESTMENT! (aha!) will pay off.

We are often victims of how we say things to ourselves, and our brain is quite literal in interpreting what we are saying.

#485419 - 11/30/07 10:34 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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What a mess. I thought bitwrangle's 'Firstly, the statement itself is so vague as to nearly be meaningless.' said it all. Then there's a big food fight! White coats splattered with ketchup. Help I'm writing like btb!


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#485420 - 11/30/07 10:43 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Quote
Originally posted by Akira:


I think talent is only 'potential talent,' until it is brought out, developed, nurtured and allowed to grow. How much of this potential is eventually realized is dependent upon training, time, persistence and hard work.


I wish I were talented, but I'm not. Hard work will just have to do.
How do you know till your's is 'brought out' (the original Greek meaning of the word education)?

Isn't it strange, the assumption that only two qualities - hard work or talent - get you there. I can think of at least two other more important ones.


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#485421 - 11/30/07 11:21 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Quote
Originally posted by keyboardklutz
Isn't it strange, the assumption that only two qualities - hard work or talent - get you there. I can think of at least two other more important ones.
One that I can think of is competent guidance.

#485422 - 11/30/07 11:52 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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I've only read the Key Concepts so far, but the first and third points are pretty much exact reflections of my childhood. I was constantly praised by my parents and teachers for having talent or intelligence, and didn't have to work that hard alot of the time. Then, things would become overwhelming when I couldn't work them out with my "natural talent" or "intelligence."

Thank you very much for posting this =)


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#485423 - 12/01/07 12:04 AM Re: Training beats Talent  
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I can't resist an anecdote. When I was in high school everything came easy. I only ever attended 2 or 3 days week and still got high grades. I remember once having several weeks off for no particular reason. When I got to my first maths class they'd started a new topic and I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND! I sat there thinking - my god, this is the feeling so many others have EVERY maths class, how sad it must be for them. It was a real revelation.


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#485424 - 12/01/07 01:02 AM Re: Training beats Talent  
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I agree completely with the article. The bottom line is that the growth-mindset is useful because it's motivating, which leads to effort and we can all agree that effort = improvement.

I don't care to bother myself with quantifying anything, speculating about 'truth' or anything that's beyond control. If I'm born with 17 units of talent or 2 why would I care? All that matters is to improve.

#485425 - 12/01/07 02:54 AM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Quote
Originally posted by 1RC:
I don't care to bother myself with quantifying anything, speculating about 'truth' or anything that's beyond control. If I'm born with 17 units of talent or 2 why would I care? All that matters is to improve.
The point is the article purports to be social science. If there is no quantifying or 'truth' then where is the science bit?


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#485426 - 12/01/07 10:35 AM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Quote
Originally posted by Monica K.:

Kreisler, I tried hard to champion the "hard work" side in the talent vs. hard work thread, but the talent side appears to have won out. I guess I'm still convinced that hard work is by far the more important ingredient.
Hi Monica,
well hopefully neither "side" is winning because it's the interaction of the two (aptitude AND hard work) that is probably the most important ingredient.

I'd even guess that hard work is probably the essential ingredient for developing into a competent player but the X factor of talent is needed to get to the very highest levels.

I've been reading about lives of famous pianists and it's hard not to think there is something intrinsically different about people like Freire (makes debut at age 4!!!) and de Larrocha (a relative late bloomer, making debut at age 5!) no matter how many hours their little hands may have logged at that point in their lives. And did they study and work incredibly hard to get where they are today? I'm sure.

#485427 - 12/01/07 03:12 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Quote
Originally posted by sophial:
well hopefully neither "side" is winning because it's the interaction of the two (aptitude AND hard work) that is probably the most important ingredient.

I'd even guess that hard work is probably the essential ingredient for developing into a competent player but the X factor of talent is needed to get to the very highest levels.
Thank you, Sophia, for managing to capture in a few short sentences the essence (and dare I say resolution?) of the issue. I agree with you completely!


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#485428 - 12/01/07 03:34 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Quote
Originally posted by Monica K.:
Quote
Originally posted by sophial:
[b] well hopefully neither "side" is winning because it's the interaction of the two (aptitude AND hard work) that is probably the most important ingredient.

I'd even guess that hard work is probably the essential ingredient for developing into a competent player but the X factor of talent is needed to get to the very highest levels.
Thank you, Sophia, for managing to capture in a few short sentences the essence (and dare I say resolution?) of the issue. I agree with you completely! [/b]
So, Sophia says you don't need talent and that's that?! And that's a discourse?


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#485429 - 12/01/07 03:44 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Thanks for the link Kreisler.

This is a very interesting article.

#485430 - 12/01/07 03:47 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Quote
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Sophia says you don't need talent and that's that?! And that's a discourse?
Sophia didn't say that. This is what she said:
Quote
well hopefully neither "side" is winning because it's the interaction of the two (aptitude AND hard work) that is probably the most important ingredient.

I'd even guess that hard work is probably the essential ingredient for developing into a competent player but the X factor of talent is needed to get to the very highest levels.
I don't see how one can argue with that.


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
#485431 - 12/01/07 03:49 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Quote
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Quote
Originally posted by sophial:
I'd even guess that hard work is probably the essential ingredient for developing into a competent player but the X factor of talent is needed to get to the very highest levels.
So, Sophia says you don't need talent and that's that?! And that's a discourse?
I'm confused. Where did Sophia say you don't need talent?

I'll certainly agree that hard work will result in being a very competent player, as long as the definition of "competent" (by itself) doesn't imply playing the Chopin Etudes effortlessly and musically. That's where the "X" factor kicks in...


Jason
#485432 - 12/01/07 03:55 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Quote
I'd even guess that hard work is probably the essential ingredient for developing into a competent player but the X factor of talent is needed to get to the very highest levels.
hard work is the essential ingredient (meaning the only ingredient that can't be left out)

talent is only essential for 'very highest levels.'

And Jason, WHY do you agree? That should be the object of this particular discourse.

p.s. We may also have different definitions of 'competent'.


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#485433 - 12/01/07 05:36 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Something I'm noticing about this discussion:

Many people seem to think it's an either/or and black/white proposition.

Talent OR Hard Work
Having OR Not Having Talent
Working Hard OR Not Working Hard

All of these come in shades of grey. Nobody has All or Zero Talent. Nobody is 100% Lazy or 100% industrious. People come in all different shades of grey and combinations.

Also, keep in mind that the research was a study in attitudes. Some of you are reading it as if there were an operational definition of "talent" and "work" used in the study. Read it again. Quibbling over definitions misses the point entirely. The point of the research was to figure out how people's attitudes affected outcomes. The result - attitude does affect outcome, and perception of intellect is key.


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#485434 - 12/01/07 05:41 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Quote
Originally posted by Opus_Maximus:
IMO, the truest statement regarding this topic :

“Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.”
-Mozart
This is a very popular saying, but have read that it is just another example of someone putting words into a famous someone's mouth.


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Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
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#485435 - 12/01/07 06:45 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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I broadly agree with Kreisler's assessment of these matters, but I would extend what he says to the nature of "success" itself, as well as to the subjective and external perceptions about ourselves.

I have verifiably meagre measurable musical talent. Were I to take tests of such, the sort of thing they probably give for admission to universities and music schools, I would completely fail; of this I am quite certain. Nonetheless I have produced many hundreds of compositions and improvisations over four decades and I am spending more and more time working at it and I am enjoying it with increasing fervour and purpose.

How can this be ? Either genuinely creative facility is more independent of measurable talent than is commonly thought, or I am simply a sort of William McGonagall or Louis Wain of piano music. Obviously I would prefer the former to be true but do not see the issue as life threatening.

Yet I am perceived by most people I know as a disgusting waste of musical talent and a grossly lazy under-achiever. Why don't I "do something" with my "talent". Why don't I become professional ? Why don't I sell CDs ? Why don't I perform ? Why don't I teach ? Why don't I do this, that or the other ? I have had all this since I was a kid. As far as work goes, depite my frequently cavalier opinions, I am slowly realising that, compared to many musicians, even professional ones, I have actually done a heck of a lot of work on my music, and seem to do more as I get older.

So, in addition to the valid issues raised by Kreisler (especially the "either/or" fallacy - that's a real killer of progress. Try substituting "both" - in any activity in life), there seems often to exist a gulf between actual work and talent and perceived work and talent.

This makes the whole subject so complicated I usually don't bother thinking about it. I just carry on and do what I feel I have to do musically, in the only ways I know how, before I peg out. That's all anybody can do, in the end, isn't it ?


"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley
#485436 - 12/01/07 09:45 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Quote
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Quote
I'd even guess that hard work is probably the essential ingredient for developing into a competent player but the X factor of talent is needed to get to the very highest levels.
hard work is the essential ingredient (meaning the only ingredient that can't be left out)

talent is only essential for 'very highest levels.'

And Jason, WHY do you agree? That should be the object of this particular discourse.

p.s. We may also have different definitions of 'competent'.
I'd better clarify what I meant! I was trying to say that to achieve a reasonable level of competence, hard work in a person of average (not zero) ability will probably get you there. To achieve more than that, especially to get to the highest levels of pianism, the presence of talent becomes more important and is essential at the elite level. Let me reiterate that I think the interaction of innate ability ("talent") and focused hard work are what ultimately produces achievement. Does that help?

Sophia

#485437 - 12/01/07 11:07 PM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Quote
Originally posted by sophial:
I was trying to say that to achieve a reasonable level of competence, hard work in a person of average (not zero) ability will probably get you there. To achieve more than that, especially to get to the highest levels of pianism, the presence of talent becomes more important and is essential at the elite level. Let me reiterate that I think the interaction of innate ability ("talent") and focused hard work are what ultimately produces achievement. Does that help?
Sophia, I don't disagree with you. Currently my concern is with Monica, who -by the tenor of her posts as I read them- feels that hard work is all there is to it, and that the "talent" card only really applies to the parnassus -Einstein's speed of light- of Horowitz or Argerich.

I just don't think it is that simple. Earlier it was pointed out that no one is either totally without talent or totally unable to muster hard work. Fair enough.

But I have seen pianists play much better with talent (and little inclination for hard work), than pianists with no talent (and a large inclination for hard work.) Too many instances for the multiple piano teachers on this board (of which I'm certainly not) to tell me that I'm full of it.

Sorry, I just call 'em as I see 'em. I may be relatively young, but I've been around the block complete with shattered dreams. I almost "made it", so don't give me any cr*p about not working hard enough.


Jason
#485438 - 12/02/07 12:46 AM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Jason,
There is much merit to what you're saying. I think of hard work as a multiplier of talent but talent as an exponential (power)function. If either one is zero, you probably don't get anywhere. With slight talent, slow but noticeable progress occurs, and with "normal" talent,better progress, but in the presence of a high degree of talent, the progress explodes exponentially (i.e. the difference between raising something to a power of 10 compared to multiplying by 10).

Sophia

#485439 - 12/02/07 01:46 AM Re: Training beats Talent  
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Folks, we are stuck in Social Science's fatal flaw, as bitwrangler began to elude to: You may not (I would say CANNOT) be able to convert qualitive to quantitive. Statements like: of average (not zero) ability, highest levels of pianism, meagre measurable musical talent, are likely to be nonsense statements. Posting about AMOUNTS of talent or hard work is a no-brainer.

Thanks Kreisler, for trying to bring us back in line:
Quote
The point of the research was to figure out how people's attitudes affected outcomes. The result - attitude does affect outcome, and perception of intellect is key.
But I must disagree. The conclusion is: the perception of a work ethic is the key in an environment which rewards work effort.

Can we PLEASE stay away from quantitive judgements? Please?

p.s. Good morning Jason, sorry about your career stalling. I'm sure concert pianizing was never much of a rose garden anyway. It's what YOU make of music that matters.


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#485440 - 12/02/07 02:44 AM Re: Training beats Talent  
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All of this lollygagging will produce absolutely no concensus. It makes for wonderful diatribes of academic insignificance. What I seem to see a REAL lack of though is any anecdotal evidence. Any of us that have spent countless hours in the hallowed halls are WELL AWARE of the differences in talent and the relationship between work and talent. There is no way to guarantee an outcome of a pianist of the first magnitude by sheer force of will along with a smathering of talent and long hours. Though conditioning plays a role here, it is painfully obvious to any of us that have spent time working around others doing the same thing, that innate talent plays an incredible role. Sorry folks, if I could have practiced 24 hours a day with great instruction and the talent I was born with, I still couldn't play like Horowitz. Goodness knows I tried...and still do. There is not one pianist that I know that doesn't believe that we are what we are out of the box. You can tinker around the edges, but we will all have certain limitations, getting back to my 1% versus .01 %. So once again I side with Sophia that says it most concisely in her most recent post. The bottom line is that you can't substitute work for "genius". I realize that this flies in the face of the egalitarian PC world that we presently find ourselves in, but that's just the way it is! It doesn't mean that our aspirations shouldn't keep us motivated however.

For that matter any of us that have raised children to adulthood can see that even with an incredible amount of "nurturing" going on "nature" in the form of genetics will supply us with some of our biggest battles as parents.

#485441 - 12/02/07 05:09 AM Re: Training beats Talent  
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I am just now reading some Samuil Feinberg transcripts - a genius I had not heard of. He quotes Pushkin's 'Mozart and Salieri' (remember this is FICTION):

Quote
Where is the justice when a sacred gift,When immortal genius does not reward
An ardent love, self-sacrifice,
Labour, diligence and prayers,
But shines instead upon a madman,
An idle reveller?...
Feinberg: "But there is one thing Salieri cannot understand: the fact that as a person he is immeasurably inferior to Mozart. Mozart, though, is profoundly gifted - he is kindly and trusting, a man of radiant spirit, open to genuine inspiration.

Quote
And yet could he be right,
And am I not a genius? Genius and villany
Are two things incompatible.
is the final conclusion Salieri reaches.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#485442 - 12/02/07 08:40 AM Re: Training beats Talent  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,896
rocket88 Offline
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rocket88  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,896
Quote
Originally posted by sophial:
Jason,
There is much merit to what you're saying. I think of hard work as a multiplier of talent but talent as an exponential (power)function. If either one is zero, you probably don't get anywhere. With slight talent, slow but noticeable progress occurs, and with "normal" talent,better progress, but in the presence of a high degree of talent, the progress explodes exponentially (i.e. the difference between raising something to a power of 10 compared to multiplying by 10).

Sophia
This is the answer.


Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
#485443 - 12/02/07 10:10 AM Re: Training beats Talent  
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keyboardklutz  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
London, UK (though if it's Aug...
If you're an accountant.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#485444 - 12/02/07 11:56 AM Re: Training beats Talent  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 4,264
btb Offline
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btb  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 4,264
Pretoria South Africa
The “talent/training” issue is ... IMHO not an EITHER/OR.

Training should culminate in a skill confidence ... once acquired, the dullness of hard work is alleviated ... liking what you are doing always makes things look easy ... the magic elixir of confidence.

And so, if proper training provides the catalyst skill to drudge-less progress ... it would appear that talent is the product of a furtherence of this progress ... and no more than an individual perception of “a natural aptitude or ability” (Collins) ... of a chappie happy in his work.

However, keyboard music has a major stumbling- block ... unresolved mastery of sight-reading is the secret bogey which blights the surefootedness of most ... if no amount of training can undo this weakness ... the question of talent is therefore not under consideration ... and a genetic aural skill should not misleadingly be seen as a talent ... merely a short-lived way of easing the tribulations of sight-reading.

#485445 - 12/02/07 11:56 AM Re: Training beats Talent  
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,618
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
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PoStTeNeBrAsLuX  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,618
Geneva, Switzerland
kk:
If you're an accountant.

Not that there anything wrong in that of course. I often put a lot of personal interpretation and artistic feeling into monthly management reports, often in quite a talented fashion apparently wink

-Michael B.


There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.
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