The Inheritance of Greatness
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Application of the terms "great" and "greatness" is dependent on the perspective and subjective judgements of those who apply them. Historically, in Europe , rulers were sometimes given the attribute "the Great", as in Alexander the Great , Frederick the Great , and Catherine the Great. The English language uses the Latin term magnum opus , literally "great work" to describe certain works of art and literature. Since the publication of Francis Galton 's Hereditary Genius in , and especially with the accelerated development of intelligence tests in the early s, there has been a vast amount of social scientific research published relative to the question of greatness.
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Much of this research does not actually use the term great in describing itself, preferring terms such as eminence , genius , exceptional achievement , etc. The early research had a strong genetic emphasis and focused on intelligence as the driving force behind greatness. Those at the very top end of the range, i. Galton then calculated the odds of eminent people having eminent relations, taking into account the closeness of the biological connection e.
His findings were as anticipated: the more famous the parent i. Using the method that her mentor, Stanford Psychology Professor Lewis Terman , had developed for differentiating children in terms of intelligence, Cox coded records of childhood and adolescent achievements of historic eminent leaders and creators to estimate what their IQs would have been on the basis of intellectual level of such achievements relative to the age at which they were accomplished. For example, John Stuart Mill reportedly studied Greek at 3, read Plato at 7, and learned calculus at As such, what he was doing at 5, the average person couldn't do until 9 years, 6 months of age, giving Mill an estimated IQ of Cox found that the perceived eminence of those with the highest IQs was higher than that of those attaining lower IQ estimates, and that those with higher IQs also exhibited more versatility in their achievements.
For example, da Vinci , Michelangelo , Descartes , Benjamin Franklin , Goethe , and others with IQs in the mid s or above were superior in their versatility to those attaining lower scores, such as George Washington , Palestrina , or Philip Sheridan.
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Both Cox and Galton have been criticized for failing to take account of the role of nurture, or more specifically socio-economic and educational advantage, in the achievements of these historical greats. There was one major anthropological study of genius, and it was triggered specifically by the author's contentions with Galton's work. Recent research is consistent with these explanations;  but many aspects of the developmental process from birth to the attainment of greatness remain unaccounted for by Kroeber's anthropological approach.
Retrospective studies, involving extensive interviews with individuals who have attained eminence, or at least exceptional levels of achievement, have added much to our understanding of the developmental process. Two studies in particular stand out.
Her findings on the first topic are briefly overviewed in the Wikipedia article regarding the Nobel Prize. In relation to the question of the career development of the scientific elite Zuckerman uses the phrase "accumulation of advantage" to describe her findings. To the extent that these scientists are as competent as the rest or more so, they ultimately will do far better in terms of both role performance and reward… rewards which can be transformed into resources for further work.. She also interviewed forty-one Nobel laureates extensively about their "apprenticeships" to "master" scientists while they were doing their doctoral research, and other aspects of their career development related to the above topics.
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Eysenck's assessment of his overall argument is as follows: "There is no hint that the theory is more than a suggestion of how many disparate facts and hypotheses can be pulled together into a causal chain, explaining… the apogee of human endeavour - genius. If the theory has one point in its favour it is that every step can be tested experimentally, and that many steps have already received positive support from such testing. These include the role of chance over the course of development, the importance of the development of unique personal characteristics to achieving greatness, and the influence of changes in the wider worlds surrounding the person - from interpersonal to societal - on the course of an individual's development.
Dorris argues that there are four types of matching processes which occur over the course of such development. These refer to matches between the developmental needs of the person and the opportunities and resources essential to engaging in problem solving activities that stimulate further development of those aspects of intelligence, personality, and self which eventually become key characteristics. Two of these matching processes are covered extensively in the existing research literature: continuous matching and cumulative matching.
The other two of the matching processes described by Dorris are completely new to this book: catalytic matching and chaotic matching.
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He uses his passion to minister hope to all he encounters. He has facilitated Leadership Universities, taught life skills courses in prisons, and hosted conferences for the advancement of God's Kingdom. He is married to his wife Brittanie and they have three sons. Average Review.
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