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Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 20, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“A cutting edge dissection—and ultimate destruction—of 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, exhilarating—Bounce explains high achievement in sport, business, and beyond.” (Michael Sherwood, Chief Executive, Goldman Sachs International )
Top Customer Reviews
Syed writes in a conversational tone that is very engaging and easy to follow. He does a decent job articulating his arguments and uses scientific evidence, personal experience as a table tennis Olympian and anecdotes from famous athletes to back up his claims. Additionally, this book has plenty of good insight, for example: the amount of practice it takes on average to acquire a high level of skill in a particular activity; the difference between regular practice and purposeful practice; why certain races are falsely perceived to be "naturally" good at certain sports; how children respond when they are rewarded for talent vs. hard work; the physiology of choking during a performance and many others.
Despite the good stuff, certain parts of the book were not entirely convincing. Here is an example. Rationally, it's not too hard to buy into the idea that hard work and talent breed excellence. The problem is that this still doesn't quite explain what makes those people that start mastering a skill at a very early age gravitate towards say soccer ball vs. violin. Or why some children who are as young as two (before any meaningful parental intervention) enjoy being challenged and thrive on practicing a skill, while others shy away from it. Another interesting notion that is not discussed in this book is the speed of learning.Read more ›
Syed presents three lines of data to bolster his argument: personal anecdote from his sporting days, knowledge he has gained about athelets and their backgrounds he has gained from being a sports writer, and summaries of studies done by psychologists (many of the same ones appearing in the two above-cited books). The first chapter is largely Syed's retelling of his own ascent to the top of table-tennis, where he points out that the fact that his town produced quite a few table-tennis stars is enough to at least call into question the 'talent myth.' Later, he goes into some histories of great artists and sports stars - Mozart, Federer, the Williams sisters, Tiger Woods, the chess champion Polgar sisters - to show that it was not so much raw talent, but extraordinary dedication and deep practice that helped them succeed. By way of studies, Syed cites several by psychologist K. Anders Ericsson whose work suggests that the difference between 'good' and 'great' is better predicted by practice than most any other factor.Read more ›
Bounce is superb at demolishing the ideas of "innate talents" and "genetic endowments and "racial characteristics." Syed points out the combinations of factors that come together to allow top performance to emerge. It is usually some combination of focused and genuine enthusiasm, opportunity, certain local quirks; disciplined practice and well trained experience. The initial enthusiasm for a task has to come from within- which allows the learner to put up with the knocks and setbacks on the way to becoming good at something. He explains very well why parents can try pushing their children into something...but probably won't get great results by so doing. The proverb about leading the horse to water, but not being able to get them to drink comes to mind. This leaves open an obvious niche for a book that helps parents to recognise and go with their child's talents and abilities.
The idea of disciplined practice being necessary to get good at something is stressed throughout the book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
How do we make champions? Matthew Syed explains surprising factors that contribute to success.Published 22 days ago by Kelvin
Excellent book. Don't agree completely with all aspects, but very thought provoking.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
A little all over the place and end abruptly. Had some great examples but tended to drag on a bit in some sections.Published 2 months ago by ErnieAyon
A great book for youth coaches. Kids 11-12 years old should be able to read it and grasp the meaning. Principles in the book easily transfer to academics and careers.Published 3 months ago by Jason Cerny
Great Condition. Valuable information that all humans can achieve greatness with a positive outlook on learning.Published 6 months ago by Siete
Very well written and convincing book on the power of getting one's 10,000 hours in. Made me a believer in the possibilities of this world based on hard and focused work. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Coops