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The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Everything Else

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What is the secret of talent? How do we unlock it? In this groundbreaking work, journalist and New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle provides parents, teachers, coaches, businesspeople—and everyone else—with tools they can use to maximize potential in themselves and others. Whether you're coaching soccer or teaching a child to play the piano, writing a novel or What is the secret of talent? How do we unlock it? In this groundbreaking work, journalist and New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle provides parents, teachers, coaches, businesspeople—and everyone else—with tools they can use to maximize potential in themselves and others. Whether you're coaching soccer or teaching a child to play the piano, writing a novel or trying to improve your golf swing, this revolutionary book shows you how to grow talent by tapping into a newly discovered brain mechanism. Drawing on cutting-edge neurology and firsthand research gathered on journeys to nine of the world's talent hotbeds—from the baseball fields of the Caribbean to a classical-music academy in upstate New York—Coyle identifies the three key elements that will allow you to develop your gifts and optimize your performance in sports, art, music, math, or just about anything. • Deep Practice--Everyone knows that practice is a key to success. What everyone doesn't know is that specific kinds of practice can increase skill up to ten times faster than conventional practice. • Ignition--We all need a little motivation to get started. But what separates truly high achievers from the rest of the pack? A higher level of commitment—call it passion—born out of our deepest unconscious desires and triggered by certain primal cues. Understanding how these signals work can help you ignite passion and catalyze skill development. • Master Coaching--What are the secrets of the world's most effective teachers, trainers, and coaches? Discover the four virtues that enable these "talent whisperers" to fuel passion, inspire deep practice, and bring out the best in their students. These three elements work together within your brain to form myelin, a microscopic neural substance that adds vast amounts of speed and accuracy to your movements and thoughts. Scientists have discovered that myelin might just be the holy grail: the foundation of all forms of greatness, from Michelangelo's to Michael Jordan's. The good news about myelin is that it isn't fixed at birth; to the contrary, it grows, and like anything that grows, it can be cultivated and nourished. Combining revelatory analysis with illuminating examples of regular people who have achieved greatness, this book will not only change the way you think about talent, but equip you to reach your own highest potential.


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What is the secret of talent? How do we unlock it? In this groundbreaking work, journalist and New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle provides parents, teachers, coaches, businesspeople—and everyone else—with tools they can use to maximize potential in themselves and others. Whether you're coaching soccer or teaching a child to play the piano, writing a novel or What is the secret of talent? How do we unlock it? In this groundbreaking work, journalist and New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle provides parents, teachers, coaches, businesspeople—and everyone else—with tools they can use to maximize potential in themselves and others. Whether you're coaching soccer or teaching a child to play the piano, writing a novel or trying to improve your golf swing, this revolutionary book shows you how to grow talent by tapping into a newly discovered brain mechanism. Drawing on cutting-edge neurology and firsthand research gathered on journeys to nine of the world's talent hotbeds—from the baseball fields of the Caribbean to a classical-music academy in upstate New York—Coyle identifies the three key elements that will allow you to develop your gifts and optimize your performance in sports, art, music, math, or just about anything. • Deep Practice--Everyone knows that practice is a key to success. What everyone doesn't know is that specific kinds of practice can increase skill up to ten times faster than conventional practice. • Ignition--We all need a little motivation to get started. But what separates truly high achievers from the rest of the pack? A higher level of commitment—call it passion—born out of our deepest unconscious desires and triggered by certain primal cues. Understanding how these signals work can help you ignite passion and catalyze skill development. • Master Coaching--What are the secrets of the world's most effective teachers, trainers, and coaches? Discover the four virtues that enable these "talent whisperers" to fuel passion, inspire deep practice, and bring out the best in their students. These three elements work together within your brain to form myelin, a microscopic neural substance that adds vast amounts of speed and accuracy to your movements and thoughts. Scientists have discovered that myelin might just be the holy grail: the foundation of all forms of greatness, from Michelangelo's to Michael Jordan's. The good news about myelin is that it isn't fixed at birth; to the contrary, it grows, and like anything that grows, it can be cultivated and nourished. Combining revelatory analysis with illuminating examples of regular people who have achieved greatness, this book will not only change the way you think about talent, but equip you to reach your own highest potential.

30 review for The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Everything Else

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hans

    This book is first and foremost a cultural myth-buster. There are so many dangerous collectively held beliefs about human potential and its limits. One of the greatest insults that we can say to someone who is talented is that they came by it naturally. When we label people as naturally talented, or smart it is a back-handed compliment that tries to downplay their efforts while excusing our own laziness. Everyone who is talented or gifted came by it the hard way, through dedicated hard-work. This book is first and foremost a cultural myth-buster. There are so many dangerous collectively held beliefs about human potential and its limits. One of the greatest insults that we can say to someone who is talented is that they came by it naturally. When we label people as naturally talented, or smart it is a back-handed compliment that tries to downplay their efforts while excusing our own laziness. Everyone who is talented or gifted came by it the hard way, through dedicated hard-work. That is the thesis of this book, that according to new neuroscience research the difference between talented and mediocrity is the layers of Myelin wrapped around the neurons in the brain. This increased Myelin allows for increased "bandwidth" or speed of firing neurons. The more a neuron is fired the more insulation it demands hence the increased wrapping of myelin. Repetition is how we repeatedly fire those neurons making them faster and faster. This increased speed is what makes talented people look like everything they do is so fluid and easy. The secret to talent is focused practice with the aim of correcting mistakes one at a time. Breaking down a difficult task into its component parts and slowly learning each one until it all comes together. To get started we all need an ignition or trigger that gives us enough forward momentum to start moving in the direction of our desired goal. These triggers can come from anywhere, but once set off it is our job to find ways to keep that fire burning because the destination is a long journey that takes time. Effort, self-discipline and openness to feedback are the critical elements to perfecting our abilities. Failure is a teacher and friend that shouldn't be feared but seen for what it is a way of spotlighting the areas where we could use improvement. This book helped shore up my own belief in human potential and that it rests with the individual not on luck but hard-work. Intelligence has a stronger correlation to self-discipline than IQ scores.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amir Tesla

    There exist a zone of accelerated learning, in which you learn super fast, and retain a lot more. Prodigies like Mozart, Davinci, etc., were only lucky enough to know how to enter that zone deliberately. In other words, they had cracked the talent code. In this review, I will share with you this life-altering secret. What you will learn in this book: -What really is talent, and how it is grown? -How you can drastically speed up acquiring a talent using deep practice -How you can create the There exist a zone of accelerated learning, in which you learn super fast, and retain a lot more. Prodigies like Mozart, Davinci, etc., were only lucky enough to know how to enter that zone deliberately. In other words, they had cracked the talent code. In this review, I will share with you this life-altering secret. What you will learn in this book: -What really is talent, and how it is grown? -How you can drastically speed up acquiring a talent using deep practice -How you can create the motivation that pushes you forward. -A new mindset that literally changes you into believing if it is humanly possible, it is within your reach as well. By far, this is one of the most impactful books I have ever read and it makes an amazing companion to the book: "Mindset". For me, before this book, I believed that innate talent has always been a major element of success and extraordinary achievement. From that decisive and brilliant leader who makes accurate snap judgments to those kids who solve the Rubik under 10 seconds, I always used to think, gosh, they’re so lucky to be so talented. But I was wrong, terribly wrong. This is quite limiting and prevents you from even trying. Luckily for me, I stumbled on this amazing book which literally debunks lots of dangerous and self-limiting myths about talent and achievement. What really is talent? What we refer to as talent, as scientists have discovered, involves a neural insulator called myelin and is now considered to be the holy grail of cultivating skills. From the simplest skill, such as flipping a coin, or riding a bike, to complex ones such as programming, proving a mathematical formula, playing the piano, etc., each human skill involves chains of nerve fibers and neural circuits that carry tiny electrical impulses. Simply put, each skill involves traveling of signals through specific circuits of neurons. Myelin critical role is to wrap around those nerve fibers and circuits. Think of it in the way rubber is wrapped around a copper wire. The more myelin is wrapped around those fibers, the faster and stronger those tiny signal travel through the circuits. Hence, you become faster and better at the task. In addition, this myelination and insulation of fibers make you more accurate by preventing the electrical signals from leaking out. But how are these myelins created? If more myelination means becoming faster, better and more accurate, you would definitely want to know how it is created, and how we can influence it. Let’s see how it is created in the first place. Imagine you want to try to swing a bat or play a note. If you do it correctly, your brain responds by wrapping myelin around the involving circuits (the circuits that successfully led to your desired outcome). Each time you repeat the task successfully another thin layer of myelin is added to the involving circuits, making you even faster and better. Although everyone can grow myelin, however, there are certain rules about practicing, that makes its growth much faster (you can learn about the techniques here). And those prodigies that you see (from Michelangelo to Michael Jordan) are following those specific rules while they practice. In fact, success or mediocrity depends most on the way you practice, not the brain already at your disposition. Next, I will cast the light on these rules, and share with you the means of learning super fast. You can read the rest of the review here

  3. 4 out of 5

    Simmoril

    One of the most often-quoted facts regarding talent, which I first heard in Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers", is that becoming an expert in a given field takes on average about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. However, that term 'deliberate practice' can seem somewhat vague: what exactly is supposed to happen during those 10,000 hours? Coyle's book is the definitive answer to that question. In his book, Coyle explores this notion of deliberate practice from all angles. To begin, he starts out One of the most often-quoted facts regarding talent, which I first heard in Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers", is that becoming an expert in a given field takes on average about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. However, that term 'deliberate practice' can seem somewhat vague: what exactly is supposed to happen during those 10,000 hours? Coyle's book is the definitive answer to that question. In his book, Coyle explores this notion of deliberate practice from all angles. To begin, he starts out with what, in my opinion, is the single most important aspect of this book: a medical explanation for what is happening in your brain when you learn. Building upon this foundation, Coyle then walks through the different parts of deep learning, along the way introducing a varied cast of writers, skateboarders, painters, musicians, teachers and football players that help emphasize the important aspects of the process. Through their stories, Coyle also helps drive home the point that these people were not born great, they worked at it. And in the end, there really is no silver bullet: talent takes a great deal of time and effort. But by spending that time putting in the right kind of effort, you can achieve some pretty amazing things. As my book list might reflect, I have a very strong interest in the study of talent, geniuses, and what I like to call meta-learning (learning how to learn), and this book is definitely one of the best books I've read on the subject. Honestly, I wish I could give it six stars, but since I can't I'll settle for encouraging you to put this book at the top of your reading list.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jim Razinha

    Coyle asks, "...why does it take people so long to learn complex tasks?" Um...because they're complex? Any time someone opens up with how they'll reveal "revolutionary scientific discoveries", the best advice is to run away. I didn't take my own advice and stubbornly slogged through this collection of anecdotes about "hotbeds" (he loves that term) in which he reaches far, contradicts himself, incredibly co-opts the Tom Sawyer fence whitewashing story to his means (really...guy tosses thousands Coyle asks, "...why does it take people so long to learn complex tasks?" Um...because they're complex? Any time someone opens up with how they'll reveal "revolutionary scientific discoveries", the best advice is to run away. I didn't take my own advice and stubbornly slogged through this collection of anecdotes about "hotbeds" (he loves that term) in which he reaches far, contradicts himself, incredibly co-opts the Tom Sawyer fence whitewashing story to his means (really...guy tosses thousands of years of human psychology for a fad theory), ignores concentrations of "signals" that don't fit his model for hotbed generation... Coyle is a sports writer proposing a theory that he masquerades as science, but it's mostly pop-psychology BS. It's sad that this nonsense is published, sadder that people buy into it. Why did I read it? A colleague - psychologist - thought I'd really like the "fascinating" book he was listening to on CD. I am continually amazed at the lack of critical thought among PhDs...less so among the soft sciences...even less in the liberal arts, if the dissertations I've read recently are any indication. The logical fallacies in this book are rampant, and the anecdotes too obviously cherry-picked in order to support the pseudo-theory for this to be taken seriously.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emeline

    I'm on the fence about this book. The subject matter is riveting, but it's the writing that throw it all off for me. It's too catchy, to commercial. The author has a penchant for grand claims which I don't think sits well when trying to write a book rooted in science. He is passionate, I'll give him that. I always feel I am being actively sold something, and talked down to as if I were a child, his little riddle about myelin production got on my nerves pretty quickly, as did all the endless case I'm on the fence about this book. The subject matter is riveting, but it's the writing that throw it all off for me. It's too catchy, to commercial. The author has a penchant for grand claims which I don't think sits well when trying to write a book rooted in science. He is passionate, I'll give him that. I always feel I am being actively sold something, and talked down to as if I were a child, his little riddle about myelin production got on my nerves pretty quickly, as did all the endless case scenarios, each more predictable than the next. The tone was a bit too trivial ("here's a comment about this person", "here's a little joke", "here is my own life experience"! Maybe I'm too fresh out of college, but I was sorely put off by the lack of citations *grins*. They are at the end.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    There is so much to be gained from what this book teaches. This is one of my favorite books so far from 2012. What makes talent? Is is born or made? The theory behind this book is that talent is made. The way this is done is by "deep practice". Deep practice isn't just about practicing something over and over again--it is about practicing in a certain system of doing, messing up, and doing over again until you get it right. What I love about this theory is that to be talented you must fail and There is so much to be gained from what this book teaches. This is one of my favorite books so far from 2012. What makes talent? Is is born or made? The theory behind this book is that talent is made. The way this is done is by "deep practice". Deep practice isn't just about practicing something over and over again--it is about practicing in a certain system of doing, messing up, and doing over again until you get it right. What I love about this theory is that to be talented you must fail and learn from the failure. Failing is key. In other words the author explains that you have to be good at being bad before having talent. For this to work you have to love to fail, knowing you are actually gaining the entire time. This reminds me of a famous quote by Thomas Edison who, before inventing the lightbulb, failed over 10,000 times. Except Edison's viewpoint wasn't that he failed 10,000 times in the quest for the lightbulb--he instead found 10,000 ways that did not work. This is the premise of the theory of this book. The author points out that those who are truly talented started off as terrible and then became good. What may look like an overnight success is really hours and hours of practice before mastery. The science behind this (your brain and it's mylein proteins that are formed when you actively "do" something) will please those who are into logical facts and the myraid of famous stories of famous people from history and life will satisfy history buffs and self development seekers. This book is truly recommended for all to get a glimpse into theory on what talent is really about.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Y

    The Talent Code is a book about talent and skill, and how they are developed. It explains why we see bursts of talented people, Russian tennis players, Brazilian football players, Italian artists, and others. It is based on a simple but powerful idea once you truly understand it. It's not very different from "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell, but it is more researched, more accurate, and simply more entertaining than Gladwell's book. Plus, Gladwell ends his book by trying (and failing) to explain The Talent Code is a book about talent and skill, and how they are developed. It explains why we see bursts of talented people, Russian tennis players, Brazilian football players, Italian artists, and others. It is based on a simple but powerful idea once you truly understand it. It's not very different from "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell, but it is more researched, more accurate, and simply more entertaining than Gladwell's book. Plus, Gladwell ends his book by trying (and failing) to explain why Chinese students are good at math. I think the ideas behind The Talent Code gives the right explanation for this phenomenon (although it's not explicitly mentioned). I loved this book, there's no reason why you won't love it too :)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Isaac Yuen

    I checked this out based on a recommendation from my professor, a lifelong educator who’s deeply immersed in the field of leadership and organizational development. He stated, on no uncertain terms, that this was one of the best reads out there on talent development. Not just talent in one area, ALL talent. The central premise, which is repeated for effect throughout the book, is that “skill is insulation that wraps neural circuits and grows according to certain signals.” That insulation is a I checked this out based on a recommendation from my professor, a lifelong educator who’s deeply immersed in the field of leadership and organizational development. He stated, on no uncertain terms, that this was one of the best reads out there on talent development. Not just talent in one area, ALL talent. The central premise, which is repeated for effect throughout the book, is that “skill is insulation that wraps neural circuits and grows according to certain signals.” That insulation is a substance we learned in high-school biology called myelin. Building myelin allows impulse circuits to fire more precisely, more quickly, and more consistently, all of which contribute to skill improvement. Practice and repetition are crucial to this increase in myelination activity. Instead of focusing on genetic and environmental factors, Coyle proposes that we think of skill development as a muscle and an exercise in building myelin. The book focuses on three crucial elements that allow people to develop their skills and become experts in a wide range of fields, from sports to music and art: Deep Practice - Repetition is important, but Coyle explores what it means to practice effectively - through focusing both on the small details and the big picture, and by actively utilizing failure as an opportunity to improve. One of the best examples in the book is provided early on, dubbed the Girl Who Did a Month’s Worth of Practice in Six Minutes. Just like a baby taking its first steps and falling, skills are developed much more quickly through doing and failing, attending to mistakes, and trying again. A really good quote in this section from Samuel Beckett: “Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better.” Ignition - The fuel necessary for the repetition required for skill development. Coyle scours the world for examples of talent hotbeds and teases out some primal cues that stirs the fires necessary for the commitment necessary towards being world experts. One interesting finding is that effort-based language (eg. you are working hard) is more effective for igniting than intelligence based language (eg. you are really smart) because it speaks to the very core of the learning experience (by building myelin and improving circuits). Master Coaching - The guidance necessary to cultivate world class talent. Coyle interviews various sports and talent coaches and learns that good coaches generally have a toolset of depth of knowledge, perceptiveness of personalities, directly instructive communication skills, and an innate sense of empathy for their students. Not surprisingly, these qualities of master coaching are also a result of years of practice and myelin building. Overall, the book was a great, quick read. Coyle litters the book with interesting anecdotes while keeping the pacing lean and the content organized. That’s tough to do. I learned a few things that could be beneficial to my own personal development, which is always nice. Some of his findings and statements sound a little too definitive, but it does make for a persuasive piece of writing. If you’re looking for a detailed exploration of the connections between myelination and skill development, this is not the book for you. Otherwise, I highly recommend it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sunny

    Brilliant book about talent and how to nurture, ignite, coach and essentially spot it in individuals. As the father of 2 little boys who I coach in both boxing and football (sock-her) there were about 5/6 really interesting leadership / coaching techniques that I picked up from the book that I have already started to implement into their training and my own. One of the differentiators of this book was the introduction, into my vernacular at least, of this substance called myelin. Myelin sounds Brilliant book about talent and how to nurture, ignite, coach and essentially spot it in individuals. As the father of 2 little boys who I coach in both boxing and football (sock-her) there were about 5/6 really interesting leadership / coaching techniques that I picked up from the book that I have already started to implement into their training and my own. One of the differentiators of this book was the introduction, into my vernacular at least, of this substance called myelin. Myelin sounds like a wizard from lord of the rings but it’s not. It’s a white substance that grows over the long part of a neuron. Its acts as an insulator. As you grow old this insulator like substance (think of an electricity wire that slowly has its covering worn away so you can see the metal wiring inside) slowly wears away and you can’t function as well. The link with talent that Coyle proffers is that you can almost speed up the growth of this insulation by physically doing stuff again and again. He talks about something called deep practise where you break down the composite parts of any action such as a tennis stroke, the perfect right hand punch, a golf swing, a piano piece, and a dance move. etc and when you have perfected these parts you chunk it all together and execute the holistic action. The book talks about the 10,000 hour rule for world class excellence but says that the exceptionals have done that and used deep practise also. The book also talks about key events that really ignited the imagination of a young child and made him her realise what he she really wanted to be. That could have been a Eureka moment or witnessing a baseball player for example hitting a home run against all odds. The book also talks about some of the master coaches the world has seen and tells some really interesting stories about them. This combination of ignition, master coaching and then deep learning all combine to create talent, Coyle proffers. The book also spoke about some of the best coaches in the world, how futsal was introduced to the UK and the Bronte sisters! Best bits from the book were: • In one experiment the author tested to see how well kids performed on a musical instrument. The group had all started out at the same time so were starting from the same playing field but the assessor asked them one fundamental question and based on the answer to that the results were incredible. It was discovered that those who had stated and intended to play the instrument for a long time scored higher than those that stated that they were only going to play the instrument for a short period of time. Those that fared better had made the conscious decision that they would become musicians and that was all there was to it. They were going to practise and put all they had into it. • A clinical psychologist called Michael Eisenstadt also did some research on successful people and found out that some of the most successful had lost a parent very early in their life and the average age was around 14. Here are some individuals who had lost a father, in particular, early in life and the age at which they lost that parent: Caesar 15, Napoleon 15, Washington 11, Jefferson 14, Lenin 15, Hitler 13, Ghandi 15, Stalin 11, Copernicus 10, Emerson 8, Melville 12, and Nietzsche 4. “Losing a parent is a primal cue: you are not safe. You don't have to be a psychologist to appreciate the massive outpouring of energy that can be created by a lack of safety. This signal can alter the child’s relationship to the world, redefine his identity and energize and orient his mind to address the dangers and possibilities of life … such adverse events nurture the development of a personality robust enough to overcome the many obstacles and frustrations standing in the path of achievement” • “In Finland a teacher is regarded as the social equivalent of a doctor or a lawyer and is compensated accordingly … this is linked to the fact that we really believe we live in an information age, so it is respected to be in such a key information profession as teaching.” As a result Finland has one of the best education standards in the world.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    The Talent Code is a fascinating study of success, the success of groups or clusters of people in widely separated parts of the globe and in many different fields of endeavour. Contrary to common thought talent is not born it is gained through deep focused practice. This is the current revelation discovered by Daniel Coyle and other social scientists. What he discovered are talent hot beds. These are specific towns where the winners, the most successful in a skill, are coming from. The myelin The Talent Code is a fascinating study of success, the success of groups or clusters of people in widely separated parts of the globe and in many different fields of endeavour. Contrary to common thought talent is not born it is gained through deep focused practice. This is the current revelation discovered by Daniel Coyle and other social scientists. What he discovered are talent hot beds. These are specific towns where the winners, the most successful in a skill, are coming from. The myelin which forms around neurons which have performed an activity repeatedly is the magic substance required to achieve excellence. Usually a knowledgeable coach is part of the equation. The concept incorporates the 10,000 hour theory explained in the Outliers taking Glaswell’s study to another level. Intriguing examples are given, among them exceptional novelists, artists, golfers, soccer players and tennis champions. Often the circumstances are ideal for the teaching of the sport, the art or other skill. Such a circumstance might be the artist guilds organized in Italy or the soccer camps in Peru which gives the person the advantage of being in the right place at the right time in the right apprenticeship program with the right teacher doing the right exercises, developing myelin. An important part of learning a skill is breaking the skill down to chunks and learning each chunk absolutely correctly and very slowly. In this way the person learns the internal blueprints of the skill, the shape and rhythm of the interlocking skill circuits. A master coach follows a teaching system of explanation, demonstration, imitation, correction and repetition. Another factor in success is ignition, having a role model preferably from your home town. This seems to be especially true in areas of poverty. A star baseball player or other highly paid athlete will spur on many other hopefuls to also advance to a professional level. The coaches in these hotbeds praised effort rather than complimenting the participant's intelligence. Hard work and slow progress were the keys to success. Something I found interesting was that in Finland a teacher is paid as well as a doctor and is considered of equal importance to society. Finnish students rank far above American students in math, science and reading. Also, wisdom comes with age because the circuits are fully insulated.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Glenda

    This is a must-read for teachers, particularly those who believe all students can learn. Daniel Coyle speaks to the value of hard work, appropriate mentors, and effective motivation (which he calls ignition) in developing talent. I particularly like Coyle's acknowledgment that experience and expertise matter. In fact, he claims that it takes one ten years and/or 10,000 hours of "deep practice" to become an expert in one's chosen profession or avocation. Take that, Bill Gates. Coyle also pays This is a must-read for teachers, particularly those who believe all students can learn. Daniel Coyle speaks to the value of hard work, appropriate mentors, and effective motivation (which he calls ignition) in developing talent. I particularly like Coyle's acknowledgment that experience and expertise matter. In fact, he claims that it takes one ten years and/or 10,000 hours of "deep practice" to become an expert in one's chosen profession or avocation. Take that, Bill Gates. Coyle also pays homage to the best coaches and teachers, whom he says typically have 30-40 years of experience. That's validating in this day of ageism and youth-obsession. Coyle's description of the disciplined and, arguably, regimented KIPP academies reminds me of my own elementary school experience, which surely resembled a typical Catholic school education. I like that Coyle emphasizes the importance of discipline in the details, which promote excellence and discipline in the really important things in life. I just can't say enough good things about this book, which validates so much of what I've believed about education the past thirty years.

  12. 4 out of 5

    David

    The thesis of this excellent book is that talent is developed by the right kind of practice. This practice repeatedly fires the correct neurons, which develops the myelin sheaths that surround these neurons; a positive feedback ensues, further strengthening the neuron connections. Brute repetition is not the type of practice that the author recommends; he discusses a "deep" practice that breaks down a complex skill into component parts, and repeats the parts until they become perfect and The thesis of this excellent book is that talent is developed by the right kind of practice. This practice repeatedly fires the correct neurons, which develops the myelin sheaths that surround these neurons; a positive feedback ensues, further strengthening the neuron connections. Brute repetition is not the type of practice that the author recommends; he discusses a "deep" practice that breaks down a complex skill into component parts, and repeats the parts until they become perfect and ingrained. The right type of coach can enormously speed up the process, and help one to learn from one's mistakes. The most interesting part of the book are the visits the author makes to so-called "talent hot-beds". These are places that where skills are built with extraordinary results, all out of proportion to their size, or the quality of their environment or facilities. Well worth reading!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

    I like that Coyle actually went out and visited "talent hotbeds" and tried to synthesize ways they practice, motivate and coach rather than just citing other studies and books. I'd never heard of myelin so that was interesting, though his miracle drug description of it is ridiculous. The thirty second takeaway: practice in chunks, breaking up music to measures, bringing sports to a smaller scale--practice in a way that lets you fail and correct often. Stay motivated by taking a genuine interest I like that Coyle actually went out and visited "talent hotbeds" and tried to synthesize ways they practice, motivate and coach rather than just citing other studies and books. I'd never heard of myelin so that was interesting, though his miracle drug description of it is ridiculous. The thirty second takeaway: practice in chunks, breaking up music to measures, bringing sports to a smaller scale--practice in a way that lets you fail and correct often. Stay motivated by taking a genuine interest in the subject, group motivation is also helpful. Coach dynamically by giving short queues. Limit praise and criticism and focus on practical suggestions. Coach efficiently taking every second of practice time into account and coach everything from how socks are put on to how they leave the field.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    Totally forgettable and just like every other book in this genre. Coyle is a better writer than most so that's a bonus. I really liked his culture code book, but this one is just a rehash of books I've already read about deliberative practice, grit (eye roll), growth mindset (eye roll), etc.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    4.5 stars and absolutely fascinating

  16. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    *Talent de-coded* Now, if this book isn't a display of remarkable talent, I don't know what is! Not only does Daniel Coyle de-code talent, but he uses his own to brilliantly weave the story behind greatness. Clearly, he's honed his writing talent. (And, after reading this book, you'll understand the neurological processes enabling that growth!) The book tells the story of the three components of the talent-code: deep practice, ignition, and master coaching. The protagonist of the talent story is *Talent de-coded* Now, if this book isn't a display of remarkable talent, I don't know what is! Not only does Daniel Coyle de-code talent, but he uses his own to brilliantly weave the story behind greatness. Clearly, he's honed his writing talent. (And, after reading this book, you'll understand the neurological processes enabling that growth!) The book tells the story of the three components of the talent-code: deep practice, ignition, and master coaching. The protagonist of the talent story is myelin--our brain's insulation that responds to neural firing and wraps skill circuits. It is these tightly wrapped circuits that are the building blocks of talent. The plot of the talent story thickens (literally, from a myelin-perspective) as master coaches combine the forces of deep practice and ignition to grow talent in others. I'm pretty much blown away by this book. (Reading the previous reviews I see I'm not alone in this department!) Ever since I have read it, I've seen endless possibilities on how this unlocked code has the power to unlock human potential in all areas from education, to sports, to therapy, to parenting, and everything in between. _The Talent Code_ is certainly one of those books that has the power to help you maximize your potential--and that of those around you.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rick Davis

    The premise of this book is interesting, and I enjoyed learning about myelin. I think that there are some good ideas about techniques for practicing and perfecting skills as well. However, the writing is kind of all over the place. (I can only take so many mixed metaphors.) Also the application in the last couple of chapters and the epilogue shows the tendency to favor skill building as an end in itself in opposition to theory. This sort of results-oriented, pragmatic approach generally rubs me The premise of this book is interesting, and I enjoyed learning about myelin. I think that there are some good ideas about techniques for practicing and perfecting skills as well. However, the writing is kind of all over the place. (I can only take so many mixed metaphors.) Also the application in the last couple of chapters and the epilogue shows the tendency to favor skill building as an end in itself in opposition to theory. This sort of results-oriented, pragmatic approach generally rubs me the wrong way. I'd prefer to know *why* I should do something rather than *how* to do it. Both are important of course, but without answering the first question, the second question is pointless. (For example, the author lauds the ability to use these techniques to train girls to be pop-singers rather than classically trained singers, but doesn't consider whether being a pop-singer rather than a classically trained singer is something to aim for. He praises a program that trains shy people to interact better socially without having to talk about their pasts or explore what causes shyness, but he doesn't consider that the self-knowledge of the latter method may be just as valuable as the practical benefit of the former. I was also frustrated by the KIPP program which assumes that college attendance is the be-all, end-all goal of education.)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Konnie

    What a fascinating read! Daniel Coyle spent two years visiting talent "hotbeds," like Brazil with it's soccer factory, Russia's tennis training ground, and the Z-Boys in California. He studied the practicing, the coaches, and the environmental factors that contribute to these bundles of genius or greatness. He connects what he finds to the latest research and conclusions about how skills and talent grow at the brain level. His conclusions about growing talent are widely applicable, and the many What a fascinating read! Daniel Coyle spent two years visiting talent "hotbeds," like Brazil with it's soccer factory, Russia's tennis training ground, and the Z-Boys in California. He studied the practicing, the coaches, and the environmental factors that contribute to these bundles of genius or greatness. He connects what he finds to the latest research and conclusions about how skills and talent grow at the brain level. His conclusions about growing talent are widely applicable, and the many anecdotes make the book a pleasure to read. What I found in the book makes me want to go learn a new language or instrument! My approach to helping my children practice new skills--even the way I compliment them for their effort is different now. I highly recommend this book to everyone who has children, everyone actively learning new skills (certainly everyone in school), and everyone concerned about keeping previously developed skills. Maybe to anyone concerned about taking care of their brain. I wish someone would create a children's book using this information.

  19. 5 out of 5

    AJ (Andrea) Nolan

    Interesting and fast read. Touches on some of the same studies as other books of this type, and is a bit extroverted biased, but takes an interesting look at the role of myelin in creating talent, i.e. how forming the myelin coating on our neurons, we develop our talents, and thus the oft cited 10,000 hours mark to reach mastery at something - it takes 10,000 hours to fully develop a thick coating of myelin, and the thicker the coating, the faster the synapses fire, and the more ingrained a Interesting and fast read. Touches on some of the same studies as other books of this type, and is a bit extroverted biased, but takes an interesting look at the role of myelin in creating talent, i.e. how forming the myelin coating on our neurons, we develop our talents, and thus the oft cited 10,000 hours mark to reach mastery at something - it takes 10,000 hours to fully develop a thick coating of myelin, and the thicker the coating, the faster the synapses fire, and the more ingrained a skill becomes. So, for the information on myelin alone, it is an interesting read. But, due to the variety of examples that Coyle looks at, and the rather slim size of the book, his focus on his examples is necessarily cursory and directed only at one objective, so I take his conclusions with a grain of salt (as I do with all popular market science writing, because that writing doesn't need to acknowledge the peer review process and inquiry of academic writing).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    An eye opener. Greatness is not born, it's grown. Great talents are cultivated in a step by step way. The book teaches you about 'deep practice', the way to help grow myelin, the substance that acts as an insulation around your neuron fibers to make them act like broadband circuits. Myelin coating helps build up your character, your skills and sharpen your talents. The author gives interesting examples to illustrate this point, picking sample personalities from fields of arts, music, soccer, An eye opener. Greatness is not born, it's grown. Great talents are cultivated in a step by step way. The book teaches you about 'deep practice', the way to help grow myelin, the substance that acts as an insulation around your neuron fibers to make them act like broadband circuits. Myelin coating helps build up your character, your skills and sharpen your talents. The author gives interesting examples to illustrate this point, picking sample personalities from fields of arts, music, soccer, basket ball and other sports, the way how they developed their skill in the respective fields. The book explores and unravels the 'Talent Code', a scientific explanation to great skills. You get enlightened with ideas of teaching how to grow up mechanisms to nurture skills and talents, and you get an excellent understanding about the theory behind applying the right techniques to achieve the objective. An excellent hand book and guide to teachers and students, and obviously parents.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nelson Zagalo

    Brilliant short book on the origins of human talent and skill development. This is a book that anyone working with creativity will want to read. Also it makes a kind of obligatory read for any teacher. For parents, if you're of the type that makes kids go through piano, ballet, football, etc. courses because you're worried about opening new possibilities for them, please read this book. Coyle spent years researching talent hotbeds, and what he found and demonstrates throughout this book is at Brilliant short book on the origins of human talent and skill development. This is a book that anyone working with creativity will want to read. Also it makes a kind of obligatory read for any teacher. For parents, if you're of the type that makes kids go through piano, ballet, football, etc. courses because you're worried about opening new possibilities for them, please read this book. Coyle spent years researching talent hotbeds, and what he found and demonstrates throughout this book is at sometimes jaw-dropping. Central ideias area not new, but when presented with clear and real examples from all over the world, it becomes really hard to not believe in it. Complete review in my Blog, in Portuguese: https://virtual-illusion.blogspot.com...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeana

    This book was recommended to me by Bianca's viola teacher. It's a great book that makes you rethink the way we perceive "naturals" or people born with "talent." I learned so much about "deep practice" and the way that's best to encourage kids with our words ("I can tell you're working so hard" as opposed to "sounds good"). I really think every parent should read this book. It's not that a person has a knack for something to be good at it. It opens up the world to anyone willing to work hard, This book was recommended to me by Bianca's viola teacher. It's a great book that makes you rethink the way we perceive "naturals" or people born with "talent." I learned so much about "deep practice" and the way that's best to encourage kids with our words ("I can tell you're working so hard" as opposed to "sounds good"). I really think every parent should read this book. It's not that a person has a knack for something to be good at it. It opens up the world to anyone willing to work hard, paired with internal motivation and a great teacher!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Key

    I learned about myelin a few years ago, this book really "myelinates" the concept of myelin. You'll understand very clearly what makes a brain good at something, and how to replicate it. Three other books I recommend to supplement this one: "A Mind For Numbers", "Peak Performance", and "The Art of Learning"

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dan Connors

    Imagine yourself locked in a small room with millions of buttons sitting in front of you, each one firing impulses that could make the difference between success and failure. How would you know which button to push? This, in a nutshell, is the dilemma that the brain faces every day when it needs to learn something new. Coyle uses brain science to decode the processes that need to happen for great skill and expertise to emerge. It all starts with individual nerve fibers and myelin. As we fire Imagine yourself locked in a small room with millions of buttons sitting in front of you, each one firing impulses that could make the difference between success and failure. How would you know which button to push? This, in a nutshell, is the dilemma that the brain faces every day when it needs to learn something new. Coyle uses brain science to decode the processes that need to happen for great skill and expertise to emerge. It all starts with individual nerve fibers and myelin. As we fire and use nerve fibers repeatedly, we wrap the wonderful insulation of myelin around the nerves that need to get used the most. This makes the firing of those neurons faster and more powerful. As we learn a skill, myelin builds up around the requisite nerves and stays there to indicate mastery. As we age, the myelin slowly breaks down and the skills fade away, but there is good news that it can be rebuilt even in old age with the proper efforts. The author visited what he calls talent hotbeds all over the world- in Brazil, Russia, Curacao, and elsewhere to see where some of the most interesting sports surprises emerged from. He details some of the people he met and comes up with a formula for attaining top talent. First- he recommends something he calls deep practice, where you get in the zone between what you can do and what you want to do. Trial and error fine tunes the right actions and myelin builds up as skills build up. His teachers and their hotbeds show how taking in the whole, then chunking the skills into manageable portions gets students on the path to mastery. They repeat these chunks until they feel right, and then move on to the next chunk. Second- he talks about something called ignition, without which people give up before they can get there. The right kind of igniters, which he calls primal cues, can inspire people deep down and light a fire that entire nations can utilize. If you don't care, or don't think something is possible, you don't go through the painstaking trial and error phase. Once you have a vision and a purpose, you have what it takes. Thus talent isn't always about what you're born with. It needs to be inspired and nurtured. Third- the author recommends master coaching, which is easier to say than find. He points out some fantastic coaches who knew what each student needed and gave it to them at just the right time. This chapter is valuable for teachers at all levels. There are plenty of real-world examples, including an entire chapter on the KIPP charter school movement, and lots to think about for both students and would-be teachers. All in all, a good book on how to become more talented in whatever you choose to pursue.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marissa

    So if I've got this right, there's this stuff called myelin in your brain, and it insulates the circuits involved in the skills you develop (everything from motor skills to music or language), increasing speed and efficiency in response to the continued firing of these circuits. This was both a fascinating and inspiring read. Fascinating, to look back on the "gifted program" I was put into in elementary school and the classical music training of my teenage years and see myelin played a role and So if I've got this right, there's this stuff called myelin in your brain, and it insulates the circuits involved in the skills you develop (everything from motor skills to music or language), increasing speed and efficiency in response to the continued firing of these circuits. This was both a fascinating and inspiring read. Fascinating, to look back on the "gifted program" I was put into in elementary school and the classical music training of my teenage years and see myelin played a role and was harnessed --or not-- in different ways. Inspiring, because with all the Gibson stories my girlhood friends and I wrote, there is apparently no reason why we can't pick up where we left off and become the next Bronte sisters. ;) This would be an excellent read for teachers, parents, or just any ol person working on developing a skillset

  26. 4 out of 5

    David Msomba

    Fascinating!!!! Pick a skill you want to master,find a motivation and apply deep practice.....again deep practice....some more deep practice.....make a mistake,correct your mistake....continue deep practicing......one day,voila you a have talent on your hand. Is not easy but not impossible. By the way this method of forming a habit and hence a talent,is deeply supported by the neuroscience of the brain.

  27. 5 out of 5

    John de' Medici

    This one kept popping up in many of my favorite reads, thought it was about time I went through it. Overall, I found it a delightfully insightful read. In it, the author visits several talent hotbeds across different fields in an attempt to uncover what can be learnt about talent and what it means to be talented...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Moore

    Coyle's premise is that the notion that people are born with natural talents is a myth. Talents are developed by hard work and deep practice. Coyle argues that the development of skills can be traced to the development of myelin, a wrapping of insulation around our neurons. The thicker the myelin, the more efficient the circuit. “All skills, all language, all music, all movements, are made of living circuits, and all circuits grow according to certain rules.” (The Talent Code, pg 6) To develop Coyle's premise is that the notion that people are born with natural talents is a myth. Talents are developed by hard work and deep practice. Coyle argues that the development of skills can be traced to the development of myelin, a wrapping of insulation around our neurons. The thicker the myelin, the more efficient the circuit. “All skills, all language, all music, all movements, are made of living circuits, and all circuits grow according to certain rules.” (The Talent Code, pg 6) To develop skill operate at the edge of your ability. Make mistakes. Slow down. Correct errors. Try again. Deep practice is the process of repetition, chunking, and 'learning to feel it.' He encourages readers to try to practice in that zone just beyond comfort where mistakes are common and even welcome. While you want to focus on the struggle you must go deeper than that. You need to be deliberate about struggling. The pattern Coyle recommends is: 1. Pick a target. 2. Reach for it. 3. Evaluate the gap between the target and the reach. 4. Return to step one. “There is, biologically speaking, no substitute for attentive repetition. Nothing you can do—talking, thinking, reading, imagining—is more effective in building skill than executing the action, firing the impulse down the nerve fiber, fixing errors, honing the circuit.” The Talent Code, page 87 The other two primary factors Coyle argues for are Ignition and Master Coaching. These are helpful concepts, but I'll focus my reflections on what was most helpful for me, Deep Practice. I found Coyle's presentation of this material helpful. Its in the vein of Outliers: The Story of Success and in my opinion a helpful follow-up. While I'm in no position to evaluate Coyle's scientific claims I got the impression that he is far from an expert on myelin and its importance in skill development. Though this is a book written for a popular, non-scientific audience I'd be interested to hear from his critics. What's so helpful about this book is that it removes all excuses for good old fashioned, hard work. You want to get better at something. Just shut up and Practice, deeply. There's really something to be said for that, especially in a world where it seems like nearly everyone around you is incredibly talented in something you are not. My primary criticism of this book is that he focused mainly on skill development. The application of these principles is easily made to learning a any physical ability such as playing a musical instrument or playing a sport. But what about mastering history or chemistry? Most of our professions are a combination of skill and complex interactions with a vast body of information. Perhaps this is beyond the scope of his book, but he left me hungry for more. A good read. I'm going to read Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning next.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brad Revell

    We all have various definitions and theories on what talent really is. Coyle sees talent as the combination of deep practice, ignition and master coaching; this builds myelin which is the major focus of this book. In most articles or books I have read, the nervous system focuses on the synapse. Think of a synapse as the connection between the nerves and myelin as the insulation around the nerve. The greater the insulation around the nerve the more effective you can fire it and the faster it will We all have various definitions and theories on what talent really is. Coyle sees talent as the combination of deep practice, ignition and master coaching; this builds myelin which is the major focus of this book. In most articles or books I have read, the nervous system focuses on the synapse. Think of a synapse as the connection between the nerves and myelin as the insulation around the nerve. The greater the insulation around the nerve the more effective you can fire it and the faster it will travel to complete its task. You can build myelin in all tasks we do whether it is physical or mental. Coyle takes you on a journey on how to build, leverage and maintain myelin with many case studies such as athletes, musicians and business leaders. I was recommended this book by Tony Robbins. Robbins views myelin as one of the greater scientific discoveries of late and is attempting at accelerating the myelin build process in his own body. Knowing what I know about Robbins, this provides significant weight on how important this discovery is for humans. I would have liked to have read more on the science of myelin in this book. Other than that this is a worthwhile book to read! Three key takeaways from the book: 1. Skill is myelin insulation that wraps neural circuits and that grows according to certain signals. Written differently: practice makes myelin and myelin makes perfect. 2. Future belonging is a primal cue: a simple and direct signal that activates our built-in motivational triggers, funneling our energy and attention toward a goal. If you can leverage primal cues (e.g. future belonging, survival, hunger, thirst etc.) in achieving goals you have a much more likely chance of success. Talent requires deep practice, deep practice requires vast amounts of energy and primal cues trigger massive outpourings of energy. 3. In a study, measuring self-discipline is twice as accurate as IQ in predicting a student's grade point average.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Elzburg)

    I think that The Talent Code is a book that should be read by everyone who is a current or aspiring coach/teacher. It's a book full of scientifically backed and field-tested information on the cultivation of skill. Now, if you’re not interested in being able to effectively pass these concepts onto others (aka you’re not a coach/teacher) then this book will also be useful to you, because the science is self-applicable. It's just that it's also extremely useful information for people in those I think that The Talent Code is a book that should be read by everyone who is a current or aspiring coach/teacher. It's a book full of scientifically backed and field-tested information on the cultivation of skill. Now, if you’re not interested in being able to effectively pass these concepts onto others (aka you’re not a coach/teacher) then this book will also be useful to you, because the science is self-applicable. It's just that it's also extremely useful information for people in those positions. This book walks you through each of the crucial components of the acquisition of skill through the author's journeys around the world as he was finding out these things himself. You join Daniel Coyle as he travels to numerous “talent hotbeds”--places that see enormous levels of skill growth--and talks with the people there, researchers, scientists, and psychologists, to find out exactly what makes the people in these hotbeds so successful. Along the way the answer becomes more and more apparent, and as a reader you start seeing how the concepts apply to your own everyday life, and your own goals and skills. And this is something I encourage--Take notes and connect while you’re reading, so that you can actually apply these findings to your everyday life.

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