Bloomberg, weighs in on Nature vs. Nurture (my emphasis):
The research does not suggest that genes are dominant and training is
irrelevant; instead, it says that the benefit from training is
partially driven by genetics, so that a combination is required for top
Consider professional baseball players. A batter
needs years of practice to recognize subtle clues about pitches and
thereby have a better chance of hitting them. This is why even the best
baseball players tend not to hit well when they face softball pitchers; their accumulated clues are of little use.
professional batters also tend to have extremely good vision -- they
can see the small nuances in a pitcher’s delivery to begin with. One
study of minor and major league baseball players found that their
average vision measures 20/13, which means they can read a letter at 20
feet that a normal person could make out only at 13 feet. To see how
rare this is, consider that, in a large sample of eye tests from China, vision better than 20/17 occurred in only 1 in 200 people.
What Orszag doesn't talk about is whether or not an individual's propensity to work hard at something is also gene-based. I would argue that it is.