They say, "write what you know." Malcolm Gladwell spoke to a conference of pychologists about precociousness, prodigies, and how bunk it is to use Mozart and even Einstein as justification for what amounts to a misguided obsession with childhood achievement:
We think of precociousness as an early form of adult achievement, and, according to Gladwell, that concept is much of the problem. “What a gifted child is, in many ways, is a gifted learner. And what a gifted adult is, is a gifted doer. And those are quite separate domains of achievement.”Einstein's early "gifts" were not intelligence at all, Gladwell went on, but things that don't get mentioned on the DVD box, things like "curiosity, doggedness, and determinedness."
Yet Gladwell deftly debunked the Mozart myth. “First of all, the music he composes at four isn’t any good,” he stated bluntly. “They’re basically arrangements of works by other composers. And also, rather suspiciously, they’re written down by his father. … And Leopold, it must be clear, is the 18th-century equivalent of a little league father.”
Also unmentioned: genius hair.
The Myth of Prodigy and Why it Matters [aps observer via kottke]
Related: Albert Einstein on a Onesie or a kid's t-shirt, $19 from Reckon [etsy.com]