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A lesson in talent and entrepreneurship from top crime writer



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elmore leonardHe was a master story teller. Elmore Leonard, who died yesterday at the age of 87, wrote numerous bestselling novels, some of which were made into top movies. Who can forget Get Shorty which starred John Travolta and Danny De Vito? Or the sequel Be Cool. I have watched these films countless times and they intrigue me every time.

Leonard mastered whatever genre he chose to explore. His first five novels were westerns, but when the market for them began to shrink in the Sixties he turned his attention to crime fiction, starting with The Big Bounce (1969).

Elmore Leonard’s novels were notable for what he left out of them as much as what he put in. In his essay “Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing“, he wrote: “My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” And yet, paradoxically, it was this that made him a writer’s writer – praised to the skies by literary luminaries such as Saul Bellow, Martin Amis and Stephen King – as well as a global bestseller.

Now that is what I call talent. But was Leonard born with the talent for writing crime thrillers? Hardly. Instead he studied the criminal mind for years before starting to write his crime thrillers. He also used the services of researchers for themes he was not well versed in, like the Casino in Las Vegas.

The lesson here is that you can excel in your chosen field of work and business. Talent develops when you apply yourself single mindedly to learning a lot about that field, working hard and practicing so as to become the best that you can be.

There is no skill that anyone has that you cannot learn. All the people you see with good talents at one time did not have them. They learned and practiced until they were skilled. You can also learn whatever skill you need to succeed in your life and business. Your success or failure, it’s in your own hands.  You are responsible for what you get in life.

Brian Tracy wrote a special report entitled “Discovering Your Talent” that can help you take action now towards excelling and achieving your goals. You can download the report at the following link http://www.briantracy.com/files/pages/poc/optin.html


Phil Chichoni is the founder of SME BusinessLink, a community of entrepreneurs that provides insights, resources and opportunities to accelerate SMEs’ growth. You can join the community or find more information at http://smebusinesslink.com.



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