Only in the light of specific theoretical frameworks for the development of superior performance can we productively ask to what extent that performance is due to controllable external factors and thus could potentially be engineered or 'created'. The popular view of talent acknowledges that instruction and practice are necessary but not sufficient for the attainment of elite performance. With extensive practice individuals are assumed to achieve all possible modification through learning, so that the ultimate level of performance is a function of the components that cannot be modified and are thus presumably innate. However, recent research shows that improvements in performance are possible even after extensive experience in a domain, and that performance at an international level requires over ten years of intense preparation. Furthermore, research has failed to specify and measure talent factors that predict performance. An alternative framework has been proposed on the basis of the amount of deliberate activities aimed at improving performance. The amount of deliberate practice accumulated during many years of preparation is found to be related closely to performance, even at the highest levels. This framework accounts for expert performance in terms of acquired characteristics and identifies new and different constraints on its attainment.