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Richard Branson's Secret: Talent or Skills?

This week, British entrepreneur Richard Branson unveiled his latest gadget: a winged submarine that he and others will pilot to the deepest parts of the world's oceans, including the Marinas Trench. And earlier today, he became the first person to truthfully tweet, "My other ride's a spaceship." An enviable life, to say the least, which leaves aspiring entrepreneurs asking: is entrepreneurship a natural or acquired ability?

Innate, says Olmo Silva of the London School of Economics. In a study of Italian entrepreneurs, Silva found that entrepreneurs did "tend to be experienced in a wider variety of fields," and that each additional field an individual worked in increased the probability of becoming an entrepreneur by 15%. However, Silva also noted that the actual roles held in those various fields did not affect the probability of becoming an entrepreneur, whether the role was a "top managerial" role, or a "basic blue collars role, with no decisional requirements." Silva concludes that, though a talent for multiple fields plays role in becoming an entrepreneur, "it does so as an innate ability."

For more research on what’s in the news, check out the rest of TNR’s newest blog, The Study.