- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (April 28, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 055380684X
- ISBN-13: 978-0553806847
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 690 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How. Hardcover – April 28, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Journalist Coyle travels the world to discover the truth about talent in this fascinating account that studies how individuals can unlock their full potential and bring their talents to light. The discoveries put forth by Coyle come down to three main elements: coaching, motivation and practice. While these hardly seem like breakthroughs, Coyle's discovery process proves fascinating. Providing detailed examples from a variety of different sources, Coyle's work becomes as motivational as the stories he presents. John Farrell reads with a voice that is at once firm yet highly identifiable. The resulting recording serves as a fine instructional guide for those searching for how to fulfill their dreams. A Bantam hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 6). (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
"I only wish I'd never before used the words 'breakthrough' or 'breathtaking' or 'magisterial' or 'stunning achievement' or 'your world will never be the same after you read this book.' Then I could be using them for the first and only time as I describe my reaction to Daniel Coyle's The Talent Code. I am even willing to 'guarantee' that you will not read a more important and useful book in 2009, or pretty much any other year. And if all that's not enough, it's also 'a helluva good read.'"—Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence
"This is a remarkable—even inspiring—book. Daniel Coyle has woven observations from brain research, behavioral research, and real-world training into a conceptual tapestry of genuine importance. What emerges is both a testament to the remarkable potential we all have to learn and perform and an indictment of any idea that our individual capacities and limitations are fixed at birth."—Dr. Robert Bjork, Distinguished Professor and Chair of Psychology, UCLA
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The "Talent Code" explains the neurological process by which talent develops--every signal produced by "deep practice" adds a sheath of myelin to the brain's neural pathway for the signal, increasing the speed and strength of the transmissions across many myelin sheathed pathways. Master coaches reinforce the construction of these pathways by giving their charges large volumes of targeted, relevant information rather than praise or criticism--the information and the deep practice work together in a feedback loop until "talent" emerges at the macro level in the form of, say, a Lance Armstrong or a Michael Jordan. The success of one person from a given context (a city, a country, or a school, for example) will then ignite the passions of others similarly situated ("if she can do it, I can do it better"), which results in the emergence of the "talent hotbeds" that Coyle describes.
One take home concept for me is the idea that organizations that systematically identify and fix problems are more likely to succeed in the market place than those that do not. The poster child for this idea is Toyota, which has successfully implemented "kaizen" (continuous improvement) as a strategy. Kaizen is the process of finding and fixing small problems--no magic bullets, just one incremental improvement at a time, over and over again. Any employee is empowered to stop the Toyota assembly line if he or she spots a problem, and most of the company's solutions come from employees. Thousands of improvements over many years add up, and Toyota is now the largest auto maker in the world while the the Detroit Three teeter in and out of bankrupcty.
In a book of this length, of course, there's always a certain "just so" quality to the argument. We hear of all the examples of "talent hotbeds" and processes that tend to support the author's thesis, and we're left to wonder about how much contrary evidence might be out there. I'm sure that point will be well-debated in the years to come--in the meantime, the "Talent Code" will make me consider how I and the organizations I work with can become more "talented."
On a whim, I tried Hard mode. I failed miserably. However when I went back to Easy it seemed too easy. I went to Medium and did reasonably well. How could I have gotten better so quickly, just from one partial game at Hard level?
_The Talent Code_ explains why.
The key is to play at a level that's challenging, observe your mistakes, and figure out how to improve. I think we've known this for a while. But this book tells the tale well, and also ties it into three other topics: how skills show up in the brain (myelin), passion, and coaching. So for me it was both enjoyable and inspiring. It's not an academic book that you'll refer to a decade from now but it's something to read on the airplane or on a nice lazy afternoon.
The first thing is the introduction to myelin. We all know that to master any topic, the level of difficulty needs to be progressively increased and practice s much as possible . . But if you want to know what it does to your brain cells , read this book and probably one would start to make oneself uncomfortable by choice. (Remember who moved my cheese ). While Daniel gives evidences of how this impacts formation of myelin, but the overall discussion on myelin remains limited and narrow
This book also gave me some key insights on efficacy of longer study schedule versus shorter study schedule and frequent testing. And also the role of commitment in learning progress. The need to adapt coaching methodology (suzuki violin method to GPS method) highlighted the different ways in which the brain looks at various skills.
The methodology around KIPP was also interesting. While Malcolm Gladwell had introduced us to it in his book 'Outliers ' , but Daniel gives us a good DNA of the same.
But the bottomline which Daniel wants to drive is that greatness is not a matter of genetics. It arises from a development of commitment (how that is triggered is still an enigma in this book) and practice. And if one is lucky enough to get a master coaching (like Ms Mary ) , a talent would be borne.
Some the ironies in the book (or maybe in life) was the approach of some of the masters towards prediction of individuals. While Jensen says it is difficult to say how an individual will end up, Linda Septien and for that matter even Mertinez feel that they can size up the talent pretty fast (like 20 seconds !!). The approach of Martinez to chat with the family to get a sense of commitment was interesting, but could be controversial. It would take a real master to separate the wheat from the chaff from such interaction.
My personal take away from this book is about the appropriate language and approach for motivation- as a mentor to team and as a parent.