Friday, March 18, 2011


What is is about the people who somehow manage to become the best of the best in their chosen field that enables them to get there?  There have been plenty of books written in the past few years about talent and excellence, and I've dipped into a few of them and found them fascinating.  A friend of mine, someone I've been playing tennis with for years, recommended this one (I know he read it because Federer is mentioned in the title!), even going so far as to give me the audio book to listen to, and I'm so glad I did.

The book talks about the idea that people are lucky, are somehow born with incredible talent, like Mozart and Picasso, Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters, and they achieve their excellence because they are born with a special skill that is nurtured along the way.  Syed, a world-champion table tennis player, uses his own experiences, the experiences of others who have achieved excellence in their fields, as well as scientific studies, research and expert opinions to break down excellence into its essential ingredients.  It makes a whole lot of sense, and it is utterly fascinating.

As a parent, I found the insights offered by this book to be particularly helpful, and I shared many of the things I read with my children and husband (and my husband is now listening to the audio book as well).  I have no particular ambition to raise world-class performers or champion sportswomen, but it is useful to be able to talk about the essential ingredients for success, so that if my children want to achieve in a particular area, they can approach their goal in an effective way.  I recommend this one to parents, coaches, teachers, aspiring athletes or performers - anyone who is interested in learning about the elements of being successful.  The lessons here are applicable to any area of life, not just sports, and readers are sure to walk away from this book with effective ideas for how to best approach their goals.

Bounce:  Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success by Matthew Syed; narrated by James Clamp (Harper Audio, 2010)

Also reviewed at:
Andrew Rice Golf:  "A highly recommended read. So good in fact that I am paying my sons to read portions of it."
The Science Talent Project"Bounce is not the final book on talent, even not on sports talent, but as it contains scientifically based insights that even many professional coaches are only now beginning to understand, it is a very good beginning for anyone interested in how to get the best out of him/herself and his students."


  1. Man - I wish I had seen this review before my book club meeting, this book would have been a great suggestion!

  2. VA Gal - This would be a great choice for a book club, I think - it really makes you think, and there would a lot to talk about. Maybe next month!


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