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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  1,794 ratings  ·  255 reviews

Essential reading following 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

Kindle Edition, UK, 410 pages
Published April 29th 2010 by Fourth Estate (first published 2010)
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Loy Machedo
When I first read the title ‘Bounce’ by Matthew Syed, I was more intrigued with the name of the author than on what the book was about.

Mathew Syed - a British Journalist and Broadcaster was, as it turned out was born of a British Pakistani father and a Welsh mother. To his credentials he was a Five times Men’s Single Champion at the Commonwealth Table Tennis Champion and represented Great Britain for two Olympic Games.

His book Bounce thus turned out to be a book that focused on excellence in spo...more
Bounce - Matthew Syed

I read Syed got a million dollar advance for this, which made quite a few people wonder. Apparently he (or actually his agent Jonny Geller) pitched the book as the 'Freakonomics of Sport'. It got reworked along the way so it applies now to life in general, with the title getting dressed up rather late in the process. The title had listed Tiger Woods; he was dropped, and 'Bounce' was picked as a hook word for the title. I am kind of surprised they didn't decide to edit Tiger...more
Xavier Guillaume
Feb 10, 2012 Xavier Guillaume rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy reading interesting non-fiction
Shelves: non-fiction
This book redefined the way I think about talent. It breaks it down and shows how talent is derivative of countless hours of practice. In fact, with only 10,000 hours of purposeful practice you, me, or anyone can become an expert/master in whichever field they choose. Whether it's chess, archery, figure skating, or capoeira. hehe. All that practice puts the complicated processes into implicit memory. Your muscles begin to work automatically, freeing your brain to focus on expert maneuvers.

The bo...more
Syed took a lot of research carried out in the field of success, especially success in sports, and compiled it into a very readable book which is all the more interesting because its author isn't a scientist, but someone who has put the science he writes about to use: He's a Table Tennis Olympian. Syed's writing style is clear and enthusiastic, and he has a lot of personal experience to brighten up the hard facts. There's a lot of eye-opening and downright useful information in the book. It's al...more
Andrew Gray
A great book – should be compulsory reading all parents and teachers. It has changed the way I think about encouraging my children and work teammates – praising their efforts and hard work rather than their innate "skill". As an advisor to owner- managed businesses, I see the 10,000 hour/10 year experience rule being lived out in many ways. For example most professionals spend their 20s and early 30s mastering the technical aspects of their profession, and the next decade mastering management an...more
Jason Yang
Unfortunately, I really didn't like this book. Seyd tries realy hard to write a story abuot success, but it ends up being somewhere between Malcolm Gladwell and Steven Pinker - success is a combination of hard work and being fortunate with the middle ground between good nature and nurture. It's hard for me not to be biased because I've read so many of these stories that they feel like they are only rehashing the ideas of others.

I don't think success is easy, but in my own life and from the stori...more
What do all of these people have in common? They are all virtuosos, masters in their fields, whether it be sports, the arts, music, etc. Many would see them as innately talented, but Matthew Syed proposes something different. A proponent of Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that talent is learned and honed through practice (about 10,000 hours to reach the levels of the elite), Syed exposes the effort involved in becoming the top tennis player, or musician. It’s the hours that they put in that really mak...more
A truly fascinating read, where Syed rips apart the talent myth from both his own personal experience (as an Olympic table tennis player) and from surveying the world of other sports, where the idea that some "heroes" have an innate talent that cannot be learned is strongest. I guarantee that if you finish this book, and if you haven't come across any of these arguments or opinions before, then you will be looking at the world, and possibly yourself, in a different way from here on in.
What make...more
For such a short & fast read, I have a lot to say about this book. Not because the book demands or merits superabundance of personal thought, but because it touched on a few topics which I spend a great deal of thought on anyways.

Part I - I wish this was the entirety of the book. If it were, I would recommend it to every professional person, athlete, artist and student. In summary: You can achieve success in any discipline if you make it happen for yourself and put in sufficient, structured,...more

Nominated for William Hill's Sports Book of the Year in 2010, this examines the case for the hypothesis that natural talent is bunk, and practice is what makes you great. Syed is an ex table tennis player, and focuses on sport, but covers examples from anywhere he can find them, including the collapse of Enron.

This was really interesting. I basically believed in the central premise before I read it, but the amount of evidence he presents seems pretty conclusive. My favourite 'study' was a Hungar...more
Vince's review: (he should really get a Goodreads account...)
Eye popping! I finished this book nearly 2 weeks ago and still, that's
my reaction when I think back over this piece of literature. Read this
book and you'll never look at top athletes, CEOs, musicians, or any
field in the same way. I couldn't put this book down; the data flowed
like a well written story; the story read like a great conversation - if
you enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, read this book!

I have to admit, when I first start...more
Mark Speed
Hmm. Judging by the high ratings, some people were surprised to hear that the harder you work at stuff, the better you get. The surprise is that this is a surprise to some people.
Saket Mathur
BOUNCE is a great book which successfully delves into one of the great questions that everybody has around how to become a legendary sport star. It breaks the myth around what is perceived to be the reason behind being success in sports i.e. God Gift.

In very simple words Matthew has explained how "purposeful practice" can bring success to anybody who desires. The number of narratives he has provided in this book reinforces the fact that it is only sheer dedication and purposeful practice that ha...more
Steve Greenleaf
I have to say that Bounce was a bit like taking a refresher course, having already read Geoff Covlin's Talent Is Overrated, Daniel Coyle's The Talent Code, and Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, all three of which Syed acknowledges as worthy predecessors. So I didn't learn a great deal new from reading Bounce. But a refresher, with some new information added, is worthwhile, and so I found this book. (I should also note that all four books draw on the pioneering work of academic psychologist Anders Eri...more
Eddy Allen

Why have all the sprinters who have run the 100 meters in under ten seconds been black?

What's one thing Mozart, Venus Williams, and Michelangelo have in common?

Is it good to praise a child's intelligence?

Why are baseball players so superstitious?

Few things in life are more satisfying than beating a rival. We love to win and hate to lose, whether it's on the playing field or at the ballot box, in the office or in the classroom. In this bold new look at human behavior, award-winning journal...more
Sep 14, 2013 Pbvravi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sanjay
Shelves: learning
Entertaining look at 'talent' myth and how deliberate practice morphs into excellence. Although last chapters are bit drag, I would recommend this one to anyone who is interested in success through deliberate practice.
Bounce borrows from Malcolm Gladwell's “Blink” and “Outliers” and Geoff Colvin's “Talent is Overrated” and is able to synthesize something grander than the sum of its parts. Again, the thesis is that great performers are developed more than the result of their innate abilities that predestine their success.

The book contains a series of case studies that proves it main point, while making convincing counter-arguments that also supports the thesis. It does take, however, a curious tangent at the e...more
I would give the first 4/5 of the book 5 stars, but the last part seemed to move on to an almost entirely different subject and discussion. The majority of the book, however, fascinates with the discussion of nature vs. nurture insofar as great artists and sports figures. Success is analyzed (with compelling proof) as nurtured by disciplined practice and unique opportunity rather than any inborn abilities, and Syed doesn't shy away from examining some of the most brilliant people who we have his...more
Joya Martin
Having already read 'The Talent Code', by Daniel Coyle, 'Talent is Overrated' by Geoff Colvin and 'Mindset' by Carol Dweck, extensively referenced throughout 'Bounce', it is difficult for me to give this book 5 stars. I hoped there would have been more of more personal insight from the author, a ping pong champion, there wasn't much. Although most of the material is also covered beautifully and in-depth by Robert Green in 'Mastery', Syed does a good job of presenting the "champions aren't born,...more
Vikas Agarwal
Jun 21, 2014 Vikas Agarwal rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Vikas by: Nishant Chandra
Shelves: favorites
We all have seen Federer and marveled at the fluidity of his motion as he strikes the tennis ball, or stamina of Nadal or the (supposedly) superhuman ability of chess grandmasters to play multiple games at once and that too blindfolded. Have they reached this ability due to there hard work or were they gifted from birth? Today the record for high school sprint is better than record for sprint in 1920s Olympics. Does this indicate we have evolved as humans?

This book focuses on principles that dri...more
A United Kingdom table tennis champion, Matthew Syed recognizes that he succeeded not because of innate talent, but rather due to the special circumstances of his youth. He was able to learn from expert, dedicated teachers and to practice all the time. Syed knows he was fortunate and, to his credit, he worked hard to become as good as he could be. He discusses the science that demonstrates the validity of the adage, “Practice makes perfect.” He explodes the “talent myth” by presenting scientific...more
Dhara Mehta
Matthew Syed’s Bounce is about what it takes to be an athlete. To summarize in a nutshell it takes practice (10,000 hours) to perfect anything, motivation to practice that hard, and confidence to win. He cites the examples of chess grandmasters, top tennis players, genius musicians and himself a table tennis player. What he neglects to mention is 10,000 hours of practice in one area means lacks of exposure in another areas? What to you have to give up practice 10,000 hours? The chess grandmaster...more
I really enjoyed this book and found it fascinating. Matthew Syed is a journalist and world class table tennis player. In the book he focuses on debunking the "talent theory". He gives clear examples of how our society sometimes misleads human endeavors saying they are talented because they "are born with it", or "it's in their blood to be good at ______" . He gives clear examples of the best in sports, music and chess who are not good because it's in their blood but because special circumstance...more
Firstly, I have to confess that I picked up this book mainly because as a huge fan of Mozart, Federer and Picasso, I was curious to learn of Matthew Syed's opinions on the 'genius' of these three exceptional people.

Highly reminiscent of other books - Malcom Gladwell's 'Outlier', Geoff Colvin's 'Talent is Overrated', Michael Howe's 'Genius Explained', Daniel Coyle's 'The Talent Code', Carol Dweck's 'Mindset', and the likes - the key thrusts of Syed's contention in 'Bounce' mirror that of those sa...more
Really enjoyed this book. The first few chapters are a fascinating examination on the "hard work vs. talent" debate that has been written about most recently in Malcom Gladwell's "Outliers" and Geoff Colvin's "Talent is Overrated." I've read Covlin's book, and Syed references it several times throughout Bounce, but this was still a fascinating look at cultural norms, particularly our perceptions of talent in terms of race and ethnicity. The final two chapters are where Syed really takes a stand...more
David Cheshire
It's reaching the point where popular science books don't just quote arcane research, they also quote each other (e.g. Syed cites Malcolm Gladwell's The Outlier). Should this matter? Not if as in this book the author has a chunk of original stuff, in this case autobiographical stuff about how his intense and early exposure to table tennis made him a champion, a perfect illustration of his (not just his!) main thesis of the primacy of practice over talent. Champions practice more intensively and...more
Jared Barcelos
I honestly thought this book was fascinating and quite empowering, if you think about it. Syed begins the book by busting the talent myth, explaining the ways practice, knowledge, and memory play key roles in developing talent. It really makes you feel as if you could put the book down right then and begin on the road to excellence in a complex task of your choosing. The later chapters on the psychology of sports, mixed in with the mindset of students and businesspeople, was also fascinating, th...more
Mary Ann
This book is apparently available under different titles, but this is the version I read. It's an international nonfiction bestseller written in 2010.

I recommend it as a compelling look into the growth mindset of people who excel, whether they’re musicians, athletic champions, firefighters, nurses or in any other field.

The commonly held theory that it takes a “talent mindset” for success is a myth, according to author Matthew Syed, an international table-tennis champion from England. Anyone ca...more
If you've read Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" and "Blink", you may not get much more out of this book. Syed recognizes up front that "Bounce" owes a great debt to Outliers' main premise that repeated, focused practice and growing up in the right set of circumstances -- and not innate talent -- are the keys to achieving maximum success in one's competitive field, be it tennis, music, or building computers. The book doesn't acknowledge "Blink," but its sections on reflexes, choking, and overthinkin...more
Rating: 8/10

Recommended by a friend, I thought Bounce would be a interesting read about how professional sportsmen are made. Little did I know how it would challenge and encourage me in my own profession. The book is set on proving that to get anywhere with any skill, you need to put in 10,000 hours of meaningful practice or 10 years and you will be at expert level. It is not about natural ability but hard work. I found this concept absolutely awe inspiring. As a piano teacher I have always told...more
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Bounce Do you think valid argument 1 10 Jun 30, 2011 12:50PM  
  • The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ Is Wrong
  • The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Everything Else
  • Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool
  • Willful Blindness: Why we ignore the obvious at our peril
  • Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To
  • Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better
  • Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else
  • On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits
  • Smart Thinking: Three Essential Keys to Solve Problems, Innovate, and Get Things Done
  • Flipnosis: The Art of Split-Second Persuasion
  • The Winner's Brain: 8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success
  • Fascinate: Unlocking the Secret Triggers of Influence, Persuasion, and Captivation
  • The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence
  • Click: The Magic of Instant Connections
  • Overachievement: The New Science of Working Less to Accomplish More
  • The Smart Swarm: How Understanding Flocks, Schools, and Colonies Can Make Us Better at Communicating, Decision Making, and Getting Things Done
  • The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life - Master Any Skill or Challenge by Learning to Love the Process
  • Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us and How to Know When Not to Trust Them
Bounce: How Champions are Made

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