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Publisher Description

Originally published as BOUNCE: How Champions Are Made

The ‘Freakonomics of Sport’…

What are the real secrets of sporting success, and what lessons do they offer about life in general? Why doesn’t Tiger Woods “choke”? Why are the best figure skaters those that have fallen over the most and why has one small street in Reading produced more top table tennis players than the rest of the country put together.

As a three-time Commonwealth table-tennis champion and two-time Olympian, Matthew Syed is perfectly placed to show what it takes to get to the top in any discipline. And as an award-winning writer for the sports and comment pages of the Times – and holder of a prize-winning degree from Oxford University – he knows the facts, the science and the personalities better than anyone.

In his book Matt overturns myths and outdated thinking to show “why it is that top sportsmen seem to perceive faster, smarter and deeper than the rest of us.” He draws on the latest in neuroscience and psychology to discover why so many top athletes are superstitious, and meets the Hungarian man who turned his daughters into three of the best chess players in history – and explains how.

Along the way, he introduces an extraordinary cast of footballers, cricketers, baseball players, speedskaters, scientists and experts – and interviews the East German athlete who became a man, and her husband. Matthew’s book is crammed full of fascinating stories and telling studies, insights and statistics, all brought together to make a wonderfully thought-provoking read.

Matthew’s book is not simply the Freakonomics of sport though – it looks at big questions such as the nature of talent, what kind of practice actually works, how to achieve motivation, drugs in sport (and life) and whether black people really are faster runners. Fresh, ground-breaking and tackling subjects with wide appeal, Matthew’s book is sure to be one of the most talked-about of the year.

Sports & Outdoors
April 29
Fourth Estate

Customer Reviews

Robertoo912 ,


Very informative and well written with great examples , evidence and quotations from world class athletes to world renowned academics scientists and philosophers. This book completely blows apart the theory that only a select few of society can excel in life I.e talented people , this book has a recurring theme - all people who reach the top have got there by years of not just practice but progressive practice pushing themselves further and further each time.Talent is a myth there is nothing to hold us back but ourselves. Matthew syed I salute you.

Spurs 123 ,

The book for success!!!

I'm 16 and having heard Matthew do a speech in an awards evening for my school about "talent" and the idea that anyone can do anything I went out and bought this book. Having 2 weeks on my holiday I found it a fascinating read and not only time consuming but also the spark to any mature conversation I could have with someone. It showed me that with hard work I can do anything. You can do anything. These sportsman such as Tiger Woods and David Beckham are not there by luck or genetic advantage but the work that they have put into there field and desire is why they are there. If you want to be motivated, If you are doubting your ability to do something, or if you just find the phycology behind sports and success intriguing then I can think of no better alternative. Amazing and very thought provoking. 5 STARS.

JaapieB ,


Fascinating book - great for lively debate! Especially the nature versus nurture and 10000hrs of purposeful practice! The experiments and examples are compelling. Being a golfer the sections on implicit/"chunking" versus explicit and how competitors can simply unravel under pressure was fascinating. Every coach in every sport should read this book - it can propel their charges to the next level of performance.

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