Gladwell posits that it’s not necessarily better to be a prodigy than a late bloomer. In fact, the way each approaches his or her craft is entirely different. It comes easier to a prodigy, perhaps, but the payoff for a late bloomer—someone who has to really work at it—can be just as great. In the article, he explores various fields, looking at the work styles of both a wunderkind and someone who paid his dues, sometimes for decades. It’s really interesting reading.
(And just for fun: in this episode of “This American Life”, Gladwell tells a tall tale about his first job and a “perverse and often baffling” competition he and a coworker created.)