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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some clear thinking, 30 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: Bounce: How Champions are Made (Paperback)
Bounce by Matthew Syed is a chronicle of the growing realisation that excellence - in any complex field - is the result of many thousands of hours of purposeful practice. 'Talent' in essence, is not a consequence of birth.

Part 1 - The Talent Myth - starts with the baseline of success, his thoughts on the old ideas of 'talent', how we convince ourselves that the amazing 'talent' we see in the world owes itself to the hosts DNA. Then moves onto the child prodigy phenomena, describing what we see as a miraculous shining star of talent is infact the product of a mind bending ammount of focused practice and dedication from an even earlier age. The latter half of Part 1 explores the mental aspect of the path to excellence such as motivation, inspiration and overcoming doubt.

Part 2 - Paradoxes of the Mind - is a continuation of the latter part of part 1, delving deeper into the mental aspect of elite people. Looking into the placebo effect. What happens when someone 'chokes' - the disasterous mental block that inhibits top performers from playing at their best - and rituals and superstition, explaining why it is so common in sport.

Part 3 - Deep Reflections - goes into the more acedemic and moral aspects (of sports especially). Dealing with optical illusions, drugs in sport (the rights and wrongs). Ending with one of the more contensious issues/arguments of modern sport, are "blacks" superior runners? This final part of the book is worth the price alone.

A heartily recommended book. Fascinating.
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Initial post: 22 Sep 2011 07:17:43 BDT
Viewer says:
The reason why west africans are overrepresented in sprinting and East Africans in long distance, is contra Syed, significantly due to innate advantages. Syed mentions that similar genes occur within all groups, but omits that they occur in different frequencies, hence the group differences. For example, ACTN3:

"Few genes are known to be decisive in determining life outcomes. Nutrition, training, and other genes matter. But the evidence that this gene significantly influences athletic ability is strong.

Now look at the frequency of the R and X variants in different populations. According to data published seven years ago in Human Molecular Genetics, the relative frequency of the X allele is 0.52 in Asians, 0.42 in whites, 0.27 in African-Americans, and 0.16 in Africans. If you break out the data further, the frequency of the XX genotype is 0.25 in Asians, 0.20 in European whites, 0.13 in African-Americans, and 0.01 in African Bantu. Conversely, the frequency of RR (the genotype for speed and power) is 0.25 in Asians, 0.36 in European whites, 0.60 in African-Americans, and 0.81 in African Bantu. Among Asians, you can expect to find one RR for every XX. Among whites, you can expect nearly two RRs for every XX. Among African-Americans, you can expect more than four RRs for every XX."

http://www.slate.com/id/2206088/
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