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As far as I know, there’s only one Hungarian educator with magic powers, and (like all good wizards) his secrets are maddeningly hard to find.
Laszlo Polgar studied intelligence in university, and decided he had discovered the basic principles behind raising any child to be a genius.
I still think arguing about this is unnecessary thanks to the points below.] On the other hand, I’m not sure Levitt’s right.
Chess champion Gary Kasparov actually sat and took an IQ test for the magazine Der Spiegel, and his IQ was 135.
It’s unclear if the Polgars deserve extra points for overcoming whatever factor usually keeps women out of the highest levels of chess.) But I’m actually still not sure this suffices as an explanation.
According to Wikipedia: Polgár began teaching his eldest daughter, Susan, to play chess when she was four years old.
Also they spoke seven languages, including Esperanto.
Their immense success suggests that education can have a major effect even on such traditional genius-requiring domains as chess ability.
But it seems more important to consider a less silly argument – that practice is one of many factors, and that enough of it can make up for a lack of the others. This study showing that amount of practice only explains 12% of the variance in skill level at various tasks, and is often summarized as “practice doesn’t matter much”.
Robert Howard has a paper Does High-Level Performance Depend On Practice Alone?
Debunking The Polgar Sisters Case in which he argues against the strong version of Gladwell’s thesis.
He wrote a book called Bring Up Genius and recruited an interested woman to marry him so they could test his philosophy by raising children together.
He said a bunch of stuff on how ‘natural talent’ was meaningless and so any child could become a prodigy with the right upbringing.