Genius or Hard Work?

What comes first, genius or hard work? Andrew Robinson's new book, Sudden Genius: The Gradual Path to Creative Breakthroughs concludes that creative genius is "the work of human grit, not the product of superhuman grace." But he rejects the theory propagated by Gladwell and created by K. Anders Ericsson, known as the 10,000 hour or 10 year rule - a theory that basically discredits genius. The author of this recent WSJ article on the topic, cites evidence to support Gladwell and Ericsson - e.g., Mozart. Mozart's father was a famous music teacher and composer and began teaching Mozart before he was four years old.

But then contradicts Gladwell and Ericsson with the example of Mozart's older sister, also a gifted pianist taught by their father, but failed to become a famous composer. He says, "What stopped her? The simplest explanation is also the most persuasive one: He [Mozart] had something to say and she didn't. Or, to put it even more bluntly, he was a genius and she wasn't."

I think he hits the right note, but what I heard is this - genius is really about having something to say and only hard work makes sure you're heard.