Customer Reviews: Finding Your Zone: Ten Core Lessons for Achieving Peak Performance in Sports and Life
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on December 12, 2009
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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on June 22, 2008
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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on March 30, 2010
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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on March 5, 2010
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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on June 12, 2008
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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on July 31, 2008
I survived cancer through positive thinking and a will to live. I read every book I could get my hands on with regards to having a positive influence on my life and those around me. Finding Your Zone is by far the best book I have come across for accomplishing just that. The great thing about this book is that Dr. Lardons ten core lessons can be applied in all aspects of life wether it is fighting a disease or winning your club championship.
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on June 10, 2008
I like the fact that Dr. Lardon is an MD who has spent his entire professional career studying the connection between brain chemistry and peak performance. His research findings along with his anecdotes about famous athletes makes me realize that the Zone is real and attainable by all of us. I was fascinated by how he described Tiger's practice of "instant amnesia" and have begun implementing this technique into my daily life as a businessperson, husband and father! This book is how to guide not just for athletes. I would recommend the book to everyone who want more out of life.
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on December 29, 2011
I forced myself to keep reading this book even though the advice is at best obvious (preparation is necessary for success) and at worst displays the authors general lack of knowledge regarding evolution, Zen, and physics.

I'm writing this review because I wished I had read it before I wasted my time and money on this book. This book fails:

1. There is no reference to any scientific studies. There's no evidence. What you get is the author's opinions expressed in a vague way with analogies and stories to serve as examples. Every ignorant human on earth can produce a theory and analogies and stories to serve as examples.

2. I stopped reading when I reached page 132 where the author says that life breaks the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, and therefore he believes there's a god. If you know anything about physics or evolution, you know how tired, old, and completely wrong this argument is. The author then proceeds to talk about quantum mechanics...I am thoroughly sick of authors who haven't the foggiest idea of physics, science, or QM talking about how QM backs up their philosophical drivel.

3. The author combines his ignorance of science, QM, Zen, and evolution to come up with a fairytale explanation for "the zone." It's impossible to read without rolling your eyes.

I strongly recommend instead "With Winning in Mind: The Mental Management System." This book provides a step by step process for developing mental toughness and getting into and staying in the zone. While it also fails to provide references or evidence based on scientific studies, at least this book is written by a Gold and Silver Medalist. Whatever mind tricks an Olympian uses are worth reading about.

There's only two types of non fiction books worth reading. Those that present scientific information with references, and those that present expert opinions from accomplished experts. Finding Your Zone is neither. I can only assume all the positive reviews this book has received is from the author's friends.

Feel free to ignore this review and buy my copy.
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on July 29, 2015
 "The Zone is the ability to perform at your highest level in whatever domain in life. It is not a phenomenon exclusive to sports; it exists in every endeavor in which men and women apply themselves. But most people who achieve this higher consciousness and intense level of engagement get to this state of mind by accident. And this is why so many of us assume there's something magical about being in the Zone. . . .

Through a lifetime of study, scientific research, and one-on-one work with athletes, I have repeatedly observed ten essential characteristics that the world's greatest athletes possess that not only enable them to perform at an optimal level but also allow them to transcend the distractions and everyday challenges that can potentially hinder their performance. Based on both my scientific research and personal experience, these components form both the basis of this book and the platform from which you can develop the mental acuity, the emotional power, and the skills that will help you improve your performance in whichever sphere of life you choose."

~ Michael Lardon, M.D. from Finding Your Zone

The Zone.

Sure would be nice to find it more often, eh?

That's exactly what Michael Lardon, M.D. helps us do with this great little book. Dr. Lardon is a sports psychologist and Professor at the University of California San Diego. He's spent his life studying peak performance and what enables athletes to get into the Zone.

His scientific research and work with well-known PGA, NFL and Olympic athletes led him to the ten core lessons for achieving peak performance in sports and life he covers in this book. Great stuff. Let's take a quick look at some of my favorite Big Ideas--starting with defining the Zone.

Some Big Ideas from the book:

1. What is the Zone? - The core components.
2. The Ten Lessons - For peak performance.
3. Two Scorecards - Process + results.
4. Stop Comparing Yourself - And quit unplugging.
5. Motivation - Keep it pure.

Here's to bridging that gap and living in the Zone of our potential!

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on January 2, 2013
There are many good books on the mental game, and this is one of them. The author is a psychiatrist, but in this case he is no mere academic. He was a national caliber table tennis player in his youth, and has spent many years coaching athletes, esp on the PGA tour, on how to improve their mental game. What I really like is the emphasis on hard work, preparation and improving your motivation. There are no gimmicks, pat answers or simplistic formulas for getting into the zone as the author defines it. I don't find much appeal in his emphasis on trying to analyze and even direct your own dreams ( literally dreams that you dream when asleep, not dreams as in what you hope for). But this part of the text is the only place where he doesn't hit the nail on the head, and anyone who works through this and applies it will see not only their sports performance improve, but hopefully also will see their life in general also improve, as he emphasizes applying his principles in everyday life as well. As I said, this is one of the good books on the mental game, but I think that the author's extremely realistic and practical advice sets it apart from others I have read or browsed. And that you can apply it to your daily life is a bonus of the best sort!
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