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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three (Very Big) Steps to Greatness, January 23, 2012
This review is from: The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How. (Hardcover)
The main theme of "The Talent Code" is that anybody can be great, but what not everybody can do is take the three steps to greatness: "deep practice", find "ignition" and enjoy the benefits of "master coaching". It is not exactly a simple formula for success, but after 10,000 hours of practice with like-minded peers and under the supervision of qualified coaches the chance for true greatness multiply. Other books have covered this subject before, but Coyle brings a unique perspective and style of storytelling that makes for a terrific read.

Coyle, a contributing editor to "Outside" magazine, explains how the composers of nineteenth-century Vienna, writers of Shakespearean England and artists of the Italian Renaissance all achieved remarkable success and why other areas of the world did not. These "hotbeds" of talent have many explanations, the first of which is deep practice.

It is through this process of deep practice that we build skill and at the same time build myelin, which Coyle calls, "the holy grail of acquiring skill". Much like wrapping tape around a leaky hose, myelin makes us stronger at the skill we are practicing. Offering the three rules of deep practice - chunk it up, repeat it and learn to feel it - we get our first glimpse into what makes the talented talented.

The second part of Coyle's talent code argument is ignition. Ignition is "the moments that lead us to say that is who I want to be" according to Coyle, and he uses examples such as the boom in female South Korean golfers after the victories of Se Ri Pak and the similar explosion in Russian female tennis players after Anna Kournikova reached the Wimbledon semifinals. Correlation does not equal causation, but Coyle provides compelling evidence for his theory using such disperse examples as Curaçao baseball players and the KIPP education program in inner-city schools.

Coyle finally looks at Master Coaching or "the talent whisperers". From expert bank robbers, John Wooden and Tom Brady's little-known quarterback coach, Coyle lays out a blueprint of coaching greatness that includes "The Matrix", "Perceptiveness", "The GPS Reflex" and "Theatrical Honesty".

In short, Coyle seeks to explain how people have "cracked the talent code" and uses his theory of three parts - deep practice, ignition and master coaching - to explain not only how greatness happens, but in my opinion how to borrow some of these concepts in our own lives. Coyle is clearly not a scientist writing about greatness, but rather a writer writing about the science of greatness. This does not diminish the arguments he makes or the impact of his story. Rather he has taken a very complex subject and distilled it to its essence and provided us all a valuable primer on greatness and where it comes from.
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