Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bounce - book overview

Syed, M. (2010). Bounce.the myth of talent and the power of practice. London, UK. Fourth Estate.

This book has an excellence in sporting achievement focus, stemming from Matthew Syed's background as a competitive table tennis player. It is along similar lines to Gladwell’s book Outliers - summarised in earlier blog, covering some similar ground but providing an update through the use of more recent work on psychology and neurology. The sports focus keeps the book tight and there is much information of relevance to trade skills development.

There are 10 chapters in 3 parts with parts 1 and 2 of most relevance.
Part one covers the ‘talent myth’ and similar to Outliers, spells out how the path to sports excellence relies on a mix of being at the right place and the right time; having connections with the right people; and possessing the discipline and diligence to engage with deliberate practice over a long period of time.

Part two brings in the ‘paradoxes of the mind’ with the role of motivation and the placebo effect. Chapter six on ‘the curse of choking and how to avoid it’ provides an interesting read of the danger of collapsing under the strains and pressures of external expectations and provides tips for the individual on how to surmount this hurdle.

All in, part one provides a good overview of the learning involved in getting to become an expert. There are summaries of current literature and good examples of application of these studies to sports training and development are provided. The book is also written in an easy to read style, explaining concepts in sports psychology with clarity. 

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