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What is the origin of genius? Does genius depend more on talent or deliberate practice? What is talent, anyway? Is quality of practice more important than sheer quantity of effort? What other factors are important in the cultivation of genius?

These are just some of the many questions at the heart of the genius debate. Join best-selling author David Shenk, psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz and cognitive scientists Scott Barry Kaufman, Zach Hambrick and Rex Jung as they debate the origin of genius and uncover how we can identify and nurture genius in today’s world.


Can't make it to the event? Leave your questions for our guests below, and they might be used on stage during the Q&A. Keep an eye on 92Y On Demand after the event for any video clips we might share! You might see your question used on stage.


This event is part of the 7 Days of Genius series.

7 Days of Genius receives generous support from the John Templeton Foundation.


David Shenk is the award-winning and national-bestselling author of six books, including The Genius in All of Us ("deeply interesting and important" – The New York Times), The Forgetting ("remarkable" – Los Angeles Times), Data Smog ("indispensable" – The New York Times) and The Immortal Game ("superb" – Wall Street Journal). He is a popular lecturer, a short-film director/producer and a contributor to National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Gourmet, Harper's, Spy, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic and The American Scholar. Shenk lives in Brooklyn.


Rex Jung is an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico and a practicing clinical neuropsychologist in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He studies both brain disease and what the brain does well—a field of research known as "positive neuroscience." His research is designed to relate behavioral measures, including intelligence, personality and creativity, to brain function and structure in healthy, neurological, and psychiatric subjects. He has published research articles across a wide range of disciplines, including traumatic brain injury, lupus, schizophrenia, intelligence and creativity.


Scott Barry Kaufman is a cognitive psychologist investigating the development of intelligence and creativity. He is co-founder of The Creativity Post and he writes the blog Beautiful Minds for Scientific American Mind. His most recent book is Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined.


Dr. Zach Hambrick is Professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University. Dr. Hambrick's research focuses on the contributions of training history and basic abilities and aptitudes to success in complex tasks such as music. Dr. Hambrick is the author of over forty articles and chapters, and has written about his research for The New York Times and Huffington Post. His work has been funded by the Office of Naval Research, and he currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.


Dr. Gail Saltz is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, columnist, bestselling author and television commentator who has been called “a voice of wisdom and insight in a world of confusion and contradictions” by Tom Brokaw. She is a regular health, sex and relationship contributor to "The Today Show." Saltz writes a weekly relationship column for, serves as the emotional wellness expert for and is a frequent contributor to A&E’s “Biography” programs.

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