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Finding Your Zone: Ten Core Lessons for Achieving Peak Performance in Sports and Life Paperback – June 3, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


“Dr. Lardon’s book is without gimmicks or motivational hyperbole. It is the dictum that true champions follow.”—Eric Heiden, five-time Olympic gold medal-winning speed skater

About the Author

Michael Lardon, M.D., is a sports psychiatrist who has worked with many well-known PGA, NFL, and Olympic athletes. He is a spokesperson for national media including CNN and MSNBC, and is currently an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Books; 1 edition (June 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039953427X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399534270
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Michael Lardon's Sport Psychiatry career was first catalyzed by his involvement in table tennis. In 1976 Michael Lardon was chosen by the United States Table Tennis Association as the country's most outstanding junior and sent to Japan to train with the World Champion. After a career of playing professionally in Europe and Asia he won a Gold Medal in the 1981 Olympic Sports Festival and subsequently retired from table tennis and focused on his academic career.

Dr. Lardon received a degree in psychology with honors from Stanford University, and received his medical degree from the University of Texas. After medical school, he completed an internship in internal medicine at UCLA. He then completed a psychiatric residency and a subsequent fellowship in psychopharmacology and psychobiology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). During this time he worked with and caddied for his brother, Brad Lardon in the finals of the PGA Tour Qualifying School. Team Lardon's quest for a fully exempt tour card was successful and this experience was well chronicled in the New York Times best seller, A Good Walk Spoiled and Golf Magazine.

In 1995, Dr. Lardon won the Judd Research Award at the UCSD for brain research on athletic peak performance. Dr. Lardon often collaborates with Dr. Eric Heiden, 1980 five-time Olympic Gold Medalist and United States Olympic Speedskating Team physician. In addition, Dr. Lardon works with a variety of Olympic, National Football League, Major League Baseball, and PGA Tour athletes. He is currently an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at University of California, San Diego and his private practice is located in San Diego, California. Please click here if you would like to see his curriculum vitae.

Dr. Lardon is a nationally recognized speaker and lectures on various topics including the Zone, Peak Performance, and Overcoming Mood Disorders. In addition to Dr. Lardon's clinical and research interests he often provides keynote speaking for large corporate groups. His lectures focus on Finding Your Zone and achieving peak performance in all domains of life with a specific interest in maximizing productivity in competitive business environments. Dr. Lardon is dedicated to educating the public about depression and anxiety disorders. He often volunteers his time in various media capacities championing this cause. He has been interviewed by the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and CNN regarding the recognition and treatment of depression among elite athletes. Most recently Dr. Lardon has worked on a de-stigmatizing depression campaign with Olympic Skeleton champion, Jim Shea, in partnership with Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceutical Company. Dr. Lardon's life-long goal is to help the general public conceptualize mental health to include not only the recognition and treatment of mental illness but the maximization of human potential.

To quote Dr. Lardon "this is a very exciting time in the field of sport psychiatry because of the tremendous advancements in neuroscience. It is the integration of research and clinical expertise that allows me to help facilitate performance in my clients. I now utilize everything from cognitive-behavioral strategies, medicine, hypnosis, psychotherapy, performance enhancement techniques and common sense. I feel very fortunate to have a profession that grew out of my life's experience and draws on the latest scientific breakthroughs in the field of neuroscience."

Dr. Lardon is married and the proud father of two girls and one boy. He lives in Del Mar, California

Visit Dr. Lardon's website at or

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Menelaus on December 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not the best on the subject. Of the four sports psychology books I have read all of them contain similar ideas. Readers respond differently to how those ideas are communicated. One style might work better than another. With that said, I did not find this book to be a good match for me. The perspective presented felt more academic and theoretical. Getting in the zone is a systematic process that can be applied over and over with a small amount of well focused effort. This book seemed to complicate that process. Obviously some people liked this book so it might work for you but I would recommend With Winning In Mind for its simplicity and razor sharp focus on the most critical elements of finding and maintaining peak performance.
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53 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Michael Fitzgerald on June 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
As an avid athlete and physician/psychiatrist myself, I found Dr. Lardon's book not only academically precise and professionally sound, but on a personal note, quite inspirational. The wealth of clinical experience he brings to his work with athletes lends a legitimacy that other so-called 'zone coaches' cannot claim. 'Finding Your Zone' is written in an easy, yet inspiring manner that will aid both the amateur and professional athlete alike, as well as anyone who cares about bringing to life their true best self. I have read much of the sport literature, and this book stands above the rest for its accessibility, its beautiful and relevant real-world examples, and Dr. Lardon's passion for his craft, which is evident from page one.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Susan Newcomb on March 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
For years I have heard athletes, motivational speakers etc use the phrase, "in the zone" but never really understood the concept much less how to get there..all that changed when I read Dr. Lardon's book. I came across his book while looking for books on how to help my daughter improve her mental game in softball. She's a pitcher and while she is very well trained...knows all the different pitches and can execute them with ease; her outcome in games was not what she wanted or expected of herself. I was not too far into the book before I realized I had "gold" in my hands that could change her game performance. She doesn't care for reading (16 yrs old) but shortly after starting the book she realized that "finding her zone" would give her the edge and was the missing link between her near perfect practices and her actual performance. With highlighter in hand, she sat down to change her world and change her world she did! She is learning to embrace her anxiety and utilize it for her benefit rather than allowing it to control her game and her outcome. Her performance has improved dramatically, her accuracy, her speed, her focus...all aspects of her game, all because she is "finding her zone" . This book gives the reader a blueprint to take their sport to a higher level, but as with any blueprint, you can't just read it, you must act on it to get your desired results. Learning to internalize and implement Dr. Lardon's ten lessons is not an overnight fix, it is a growth process that impacts all areas of your life; it is a journey well worth taking. This is not just a book for athletes; this is a book for anyone looking to change their life. Parents, if you are looking to help you child with their sports performance or any area of their life, I highly recommend this book and when you get their copy get one for it, act on it and find your own zone. Enjoy the journey!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is easy to read. It lays out what needs to be done to get into the optimal state of mind in which to do your best. Michael Lardon uses concise examples to illustrate his points, which seem to be:
* Trust and believe in your dreams;
* Prepare fully (practise a lot);
* Transform desire (expressed through dreams) into will (by harnessing direction and goals to desire);
* Keep everything as simple as possible;
* Focus on process not product goals (avoid "monkey mind" where there is a lot of distraction and not much directed effort);
* Approach emotions from different perspectives to keep things in context ("know-mind awareness);
* Be intrinsically motivated, with extrinsic (especially material) motivation only to supplement the 'pure' intrinsic motivation;
* Take action;
* Build self-confidence by a) looking to what you've done well before, b) seeing yourself do what others are doing, c) modelling behaviours of others, and d) accepting the faith others express in you.

I found the book enjoyable and intriguing, but to me it just hints at what to do to achieve the zone. This is a 162 page essay about what Lardon has observed is common to those who can get into the zone, not how to get there.

For a complemntary book that is essentially the equivalent of a gym programme for the mind, I recommend "10 Minute Toughness: The mental training programe for winning before the game begins" by Jason Selk.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Vanley on June 12, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition
An elite athlete himself, Dr.Lardon's interest in achieving peak performance was formulated as a teenager on the world table tennis circuit. Fast forward several years and we find Dr. Lardon has finished medical school and undertaken a residency in psychiatry. His special interest...studying elite athletes and what separates the great ones from the rest of the field. From his 20 years of working closely with top athletes, Dr. Lardon has put together a book of relevant and fascinating observations. I particularly like the concept of "instant amnesia".
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