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Which of the following provides the mostreasonable summary of the passage?
Which of the following provides the bestsummary of the arguments?
Which of the following best describes thestructure of the arguments in this passage?
Which of the following best describes thestructure of the passage as a whole?
This passage is adapted fromCindi May, “The Surprising Problem of Too Much Talent.” ©2014 by ScientificAmerican.
Whetheryou're the owner of the Dallas Cowboys or
captain of the playground dodge ball team, thegoal in
picking players is the same: Get the toptalent. Hearts have
been broken, allegiances tested, and budgetsbusted as teams
contend for the best athletes. The motivationfor recruiting
peak performers are obvious—exceptional playersare the key
to team success—and this belief is shared notonly by
coaches and sports fans, but also bycorporations, investors,
and even whole industries. Everyone wants ateam of stars.
While there is no denying that exceptionalplayers can
put points on the board and enhance teamsuccess, new
research by Roderick Swaab and colleaguessuggests there is
a limit to the benefit top talents bring to ateam. Swaab and
colleagues compared the amount of individualtalent on
teams with the teams’ success, and they foundstriking
examples of more talent hurting the team.
The researchers looked at three sports:basketball, soccer,
and baseball. In each sport, they calculatedboth the
percentage of top talent on each team and theteams’ success
over several years. For example, theyidentified top NBA
talent using each player’s Estimated Wins Added(EWA), a
statistic commonly employed to capture aplayer’s overall
contribution to his team, along with selectionfor the All-Star
tournament. Once the researchers determined whothe elite
players were, they calculated top-talentpercentage at the
team level by dividing the number of starplayers on the team
by the total number of players on that team.Finally, team
performance was measured by the team's win-lossrecord
over 10 years. For both basketball and soccer,they found
that top talent did in fact predict teamsuccess, but only up to
a point. Furthermore, there was not simply apoint of
diminishing returns with respect to top talent;there was in
fact a cost. Basketball and soccer teams withthe greatest
proportion of elite athletes performed worsethan those with
more moderate proportions of top level players.
Why is too much talent a bad thing? Thinkteamwork. In
many endeavors, success requires collaborative,cooperative
work towards a goal that is beyond thecapability of any one
individual. When a team roster is flooded withindividual
talent, pursuit of personal star status mayprevent the
attainment of team goals. The basketball playerchasing a
point record, for example, may cost the team bytaking risky
shots instead of passing to a teammate who isopen and ready
Two related findings by Swaab and colleaguesindicate
that there is in fact tradeoff between toptalent and teamwork.
First, Swaab and colleagues found that thepercentage of top
talent on a team affects intrateamcoordination. For the
basketball study, teams with the highest levelsof top
performers had fewer assists and defensiverebounds, and
lower field-goal percentages. These failures instrategic,
collaborative play undermined the team’seffectiveness. The
second revealing finding is that extreme levelsof top talent
did not have the same negative effect inbaseball, which
experts have argued involves much lessinterdependent play.
In the baseball study, increasing numbers ofstars on a team
never hindered overall performance. Togetherthese findings
suggest that high levels of top talent will beharmful in
arenas that require coordinated, strategicefforts, as the quest
for the spotlight may trump the teamwork neededto get the
The lessons here extend beyond the ball fieldto any
group or endeavor that must balance competitiveand
collaborative efforts, including corporateteams, financial
research groups, and brainstorming exercises.Indeed, the
impact of too much talent is even evident inother animals:
When hen colonies have too many dominant,high-producing
chickens, conflict and hen mortality rise whileegg
production drops. So before breaking the bankto recruit
superstars, team owners and industry expertsmight want to
consider whether the goal they are trying toachieve relies on
individual talent alone, or a cooperativesynergy from the
team. If the latter, it would be wise to reignin the talent and
focus on teamwork.
Which ofthe following best describes the structure of the passage as a whole?
(A) A collection of anecdotes about sports
(B) A description of a study and its potentialimplications
(C) A set of pieces of advice for managers insports and business
(D) A series of arguments in favor of changingrecruitment methods
Which ofthe following best summarizes the passage’s interpretation of the researchers’findings?
(A) Teamwork is the most important quality forsports teams.
(B) Individual talent is the most importantquality for sports teams.
(C) Individual talent matters, but teamwork canbe a decisive factor in some sports.
(D) Although individual talent is moreimportant, very strong teamwork can make up for weak talent.