The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice

    • 4.2 • 203 Ratings
    • £2.99
    • £2.99

Publisher Description

From the author of You Are Awesome: Find Your Confidence and Dare to be Brilliant at (Almost) Anything

Essential reading for an astounding summer of sport; If you’ve ever wondered what makes a champion, Bounce has the answer.

This edition does not include illustrations.

What are the real secrets of sporting success, and what lessons do they offer about life? 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.

Two-time Olympian and sports writer and broadcaster Matthew Syed draws on the latest in neuroscience and psychology to uncover the secrets of our top athletes and introduces us to an extraordinary cast of characters, including the East German athlete who became a man, and her husband – and the three Hungarian sisters who are all chess grandmasters. Bounce is crammed with fascinating stories and statistics.

Looking at controversial questions such as whether talent is more important than practice, drugs in sport (and life) and whether black people really are faster runners, the mind-bending Bounce is a must-read for the hardened sports nut or brand new convert.


‘A gripping examination of the hidden forces that come together in the making of a champion.' Michael Atherton, former England cricket captain

'A fascinating subject and Syed is a dazzling writer.' Owen Slot, The Times

'I love this book. A must-read if you have ever wondered what sets the super-achievers and the rest of us apart – in any field, not just in sport. I only wish I had read it when I was fifteen.' Gabby Logan, BBC presenter and former international gymnast

'Intellectually stimulating and hugely enjoyable at a stroke … challenged some of my most cherished beliefs about life and success.' Jonathan Edwards, triple jump world record holder

About the author

Matthew Syed is an award-winning journalist for The Times, writing for both the sports pages and the comment pages.
He is a three-time Commonwealth table-tennis champion and competed in two Olympics. He was a contributor to the BBC coverage of London 2012. He studied PPE at Balliol College Oxford where he was awarded a prize-winning first class degree.

Sports & Outdoors
29 April
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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