From Publishers Weekly
Syed, sportswriter and columnist for the London Times, takes a hard look at performance psychology, heavily influenced by his own ego-damaging but fruitful epiphany. At the age of 24, Syed became the #1 British table tennis player, an achievement he initially attributed to his superior speed and agility. But in retrospect, he realizes that a combination of advantages—a mentor, good facilities nearby, and lots of time to hone his skills—set him up perfectly to become a star performer. He admits his argument owes a debt to Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, but he aims to move one step beyond it, drawing on cognitive neuroscience research to explain how the body and mind are transformed by specialized practice. He takes on the myth of the child prodigy, emphasizing that Mozart, the Williams sisters, Tiger Woods, and Susan Polgar, the first female grandmaster, all had live-in coaches in the form of supportive parents who put them through a ton of early practice. Cogent discussions of the neuroscience of competition, including the placebo effect of irrational optimism, self-doubt, and superstitions, all lend credence to a compelling narrative; readers who gobbled up Freakonomics and Predictably Irrational will flock to this one. (May)
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“Sport is often used as an analogy for business, education, and personal relationships. In this insightful and entertaining book, Matthew Syed takes us a step deeper into the world of sports, showing us how much we can learn about our own behavior.” (Dan Ariely, New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational)
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“A cutting edge dissectionand ultimate destructionof the myth of innate talent in the pursuit of excellence. Syed synthesizes his evidence with the precision of an academic, writes with the fluidity of a journalist, and persuades with the drive of a sportsman. Read this book.” (Mark Thomas, Professor of Evolutionary Genetics, University College London)
“Intellectually stimulating and hugely enjoyable at a stroke. . . . Challenged some of my most cherished beliefs about life and success.” (Jonathan Edwards, Olympic Gold Medal Winner in the Triple Jump)
“Compelling and, at times, exhilaratingBounce explains high achievement in sport, business, and beyond.” (Michael Sherwood, Chief Executive, Goldman Sachs International)