This book was a really satisfying surprise – I had expected a hard read or a hard sell for a self help course but it is not like that at all. Rather it’s written in a personable style I really like and forms a wonderfully thought challenging whole by itself. Syed is just excited about what he has learnt preparing the book and let’s the research and anecdotes speak for themselves without resorting to self help and/or consultant speak.
The argument and examples quote widely from Dweck and other core sporting and musical sources, and drive home from multiple angles the key point – that talent comes from circumstance, good coaching and heaps of quality practice.
“The talent theory of expertise is not merely flawed in theory; it is insidious in practice, robbing individuals and institutions of the motivation to change themselves and society.”
Talent clusters – around enthusiastic and committed ‘teachers’
Coasting doesn’t count
Institutionalise the principles of purposeful practice
Failure is crucial to improvement (learning)
10,000 hour rule – practice enough and you will become a ‘master’
Proven to work in sports and music
Praise real effort and genuine practice, not outcome
Belief is very powerful
Is it based on proper research?
Yes. Very clearly differentiates opinion, anecdote and research.
Some Quotes from Bounce
‘The success of Silverdale Road was about the coming together of factors of a beguilingly similar kind to those that have, from time to time, elevated other tiny areas on our planet into the sporting ascendancy.’
‘The idea that natural talent determines success and failure is, today, so powerful that it is accepted without demur.’
‘The differences between expert performers and normal adults reflect a life-long persistence of deliberate effort to improve.’
‘There is absolutely no evidence of a “fast track” for high achievers.’
‘Once the opportunity for practice is in place, the prospects of high achievement take off.’
‘There are apparently no limits to improvements in memory skill with practice.’
‘Good decision-making is about compressing the informational load by decoding the meaning of patterns derived from experience.’
‘Where the motivation is internalised, children tend to regard practice not as gruelling but as fun.’
‘Mere experience, if it is not matched by deep concentration, does not translate into excellence.
In those few seconds of striving, the… is imprinted on your memory.’
‘ …purposeful practice builds new neural connections, increases the size of specific sections of the brain, and enables the expert to co-opt new areas of grey matter in the quest to improve.’
‘Great coaches are able to design practice so that feedback is embedded in the drill, leading to automatic readjustment, which in turn improves the quality of feedback, generating further improvements.’
‘Later doesn’t always come to everybody.’