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On Talent vs. Genius...


Talent and genius are so often compared they have a section all to themselves. So what’s the difference? Read on...

See also

artists, children, education, experts, genius*, knowledge, mind, potential, talent*, thinking


Talent isn’t genius and no amount of energy can make it so.’

Louisa May Alcott

‘It takes people a long time to learn the difference between talent and genius, especially ambitious young men and women.’

Louisa May Alcott

‘Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius.’

Henri-Frédéric Amiel

Common sense is only a modification of talent. Genius is an exaltation of it. The difference is, therefore, in degree, not nature.’

Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

Talent, lying in the understanding, is often inherited; genius, being the action of reason or imagination, rarely or never.’

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

‘Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.’

Arthur Conan Doyle

Talent is the capacity of doing anything that depends on application and industry; it is a voluntary power, while genius is involuntary.’

William Hazlitt

‘The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms. Very often it does not know what to do with genius.’

Oliver Wendell Holmes

‘Sometimes, indeed, there is such a discrepancy between the genius and his human qualities that one has to ask oneself whether a little less talent might not have been better.’

Carl Gustav Jung

Talent is that which is in man’s power. Genius is that whose power a man is.’

James Russell Lowell

Genius does what it must and talent does what it can.’

Edward Robert Bullwer-Lytton

Talent is full of thoughts, Genius is thought. Talent is a cistern, Genius a fountain.’

Edwin Percy Whipple

Talent jogs to conclusions to which Genius takes giant leaps.’

Edwin Percy Whipple

‘I have put my genius into my life; all I’ve put into my work is my talent.’

Oscar Wilde



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