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

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  6,224 ratings  ·  546 reviews
A New York Times bestselling author explores cutting-edge brain science to learn where talent comes from, how it grows—and how we can make ourselves smarter.

How does a penniless Russian tennis club with one indoor court create more top 20 women players than the entire United States? How did a small town in rural Italy produce the dozens of painters and sculptors who ignite
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Published April 28th 2009 by HighBridge Company (first published 2009)
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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. Tha ...more
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 w
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 w ...more
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 le
*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 my
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 ...more
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 hom ...more
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 sub
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 o
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, bas ...more
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 skil ...more
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, pai ...more
In “The Talent Code”, Daniel Coyle argues that talent isn’t necessarily something you are born with, but rather something that can be cultivated through practice practice practice. He traveled the world to visit “talent hotbeds” that have a reputation for consistently cranking out extraordinary talent and attempts to find a common denominator in their activities. Bottom line – you can get really good at something if you practice intensely and often – “deep practice” as he calls it. Seems pretty ...more
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 ...more
This is a great book for anyone. If you are a teacher, a professor, or a coach, it is a must. The basic premise is that world class talent is the function of proven steps - ignition (motivation with vision - externally or self-induced), deep practice (slow, deliberate, repetition, error-focused), and master coaching (individualized, information-specific). Suprisingly Dan Coyle proves that skill is physically visible and the result of a natural occurring material called myelin which wraps the neu ...more
Ekaterina Kachalina
The only curious thing that can be found in this book is a weird idea about what good coaching is. Look at this: “The way I look at it, everybody's life is a bowl of whipped cream and shit, and my job is to even things out. If a kid's got a lot of shit in his life, I'm going to stir in some whipped cream. If a kid's life is pure whipped cream, then I'm going to stir in some shit.” So, this is probably a book about not less than the newest incarnation. Oh, and also about zombies — children in the ...more
Kareem Gamal
Daniel Coyle is an author and explorer. Coyle starts the story by telling the events that always happen with him before every expedition he takes. Coyle stated how he talks deeply to himself about if he fails, he can stand up again because nothing is impossible. Later, Coyle speaks about people who failed then stood up again. He had given an example of a Brazilian kid living beside him and saw the boy doing a dribbling maneuver named elastico. When Coyle was watching, he realized that the boy ke ...more
كيف من الممكن أن تملك البرازيل هذا الكم من لاعبي كرة القدم المحترفين؟
ما أصل الموهبة؟

.الجواب المختصر هو أن الموهبة تُبنى و لا تولد

الكتاب يوضح سر اكتشاف عازل عصبي يسمى "المايلين" الذي يعتبر العامل الأول لاكتساب المهارة، دور المايلين هو أن يلف على الألياف العصبية فكلما تتدربت أكثر (أو بعمق) كلما زاد لديك المايلين و زادت مهارتك

(التدريب يصنع المايلين، و المايلين يصنع الكمال)

القسم الأول من الكتاب يتحدث عن التدريب العميق الذي يعتمد على ارتكاب الأخطاء و الخروج المستمر من منطقة الراحة.

القسم الثاني عن
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 sk
Drew Johnson
This is a great book for anyone wanting to understand the basic science behind skill development in an easy to follow read. It describes the underlying mechanics of what we typically refer to as muscle memory or automaticity in some fun and interesting case studies of talent development. It covers everything from Russian tennis players, Brazilian soccer players, the Bronte Sisters, to violinists. It also looks at bursts of development in Athens, Florence and London. The basic premise is talent i ...more
Carter Richardson
Its interesting. The author travels around the world to find talent "hotspots". A talent hotpot is a place or time where talent is grown rapidly, this could be triggered by the activity or length of time the activity is being performed. Daniel Coyle traveled to Brazil to find a soccer talent hotspot. He uncovered that there wasn't a specific drill or place where the talent is made, but the usage of a small heavy ball rapidly increases the skill in the player. This is called futsal. Futsal, wide ...more
1/30 in 2011.

Alaskan author
I heard his interview on "Line One, Your Health Connection" on public radio

How can I use this book? Maybe it would help if I choose an activity to improve my abilities.
Method is most useful for low creativity action, such as sports and music playing.
Coyle identifies three keys to “cracking” the talent code; what he calls deep practice, ignition, and master coaching.

Deep Practice:

**Slow, ch
This book was interesting for someone looking to make it to the olympic, or pro level in sports mainly, but he includes other things like, music profession, or just regular things like getting your baby to walk earlier than most. His main premiss is that you must have the passion to practice deeply (slowly, making mistakes and correcting them, being highly disciplined along with perfected execution of your sports movements doing all this for approx. 10,000 hrs to get to the pro level.
He reveals
David B
Citing recent discoveries in neuroscience regarding the importance of myelin, Daniel Coyle makes a persuasive case for what many of us already knew: many hours of dedicated practice under the tutelage of a teacher or coach who can individualize instruction allows a student to reach their fullest potential. As a teacher, I appreciate the validation, but Coyle's approach seems a little like utilizing a new branch of mathematics to prove that the Earth is round.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book and
This book discusses the theory of myelin being "wired" by repetitive practice (minimum duration approx 10,000 hours for a difficult learned task). In the book, the author outlines techniques used by master coaches and teachers, like "learning in chunks" while gradually increasing the difficulty while providing positive feedback.

Excerpt from Wikipedia on myelin:
"Myelin is a dielectric (electrically insulating) material that forms a layer, the myelin sheath, usually around only the axon of a neur
An interesting book that as it's title suggests talks about how talent is created; scientifically speaking how myelin wraps around nerves.
Coyle believes that all skills (playing music, playing football, being a genius in math or reading, even being sociable......) are just a set of instructions stored in our brains, and the more they're practiced, the more their respective circuits fire, and that is how those skills become natural to us.
The book also explains in simple scientific terms a number
James Criswell
I really found this book fascinating. I'm fascinated by how the brain works and, while I'm not knowledgable enough to speak about the importance or myelin in everything he says, but the practical advise I found both true when I've done it in my own life and matched up with common sense. I'm not typically big on psychology, but to the degree this book looks at psychology connected to physiology I think it is worthwhile.

One of the big applications to daily life is that the right kind of failure, w
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 ingrain
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
It has an interesting take on talent, but it basically breaks down into the regular "practice makes you better" kind of idea. However, he modifies it to be "deep practice produces talent."

As far as the writing goes, it's not bad. He gives good illustrations of his points and spells things out fairly clearly. I never felt the writing get dull.

I do have two gripes about the book. One is the title - is this playing off of a Dan Brown title to sell more?

The other problem is that he ignores the thoug
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Author of the New York Times bestseller Lance Armstrong’s War, Hardball: A Season in the Projects, Waking Samuel, and most recently The Talent Code. Coyle has written for Sports Illustrated, Play, and the New York Times Magazine. His work has appeared multiple times in Best American Sports Writing, and he is a two-time National Magazine Award finalist. He lives in Homer, Alaska, with his wife Jen ...more
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“The sweet spot: that productive, uncomfortable terrain located just beyond our current abilities, where our reach exceeds our grasp. Deep practice is not simply about struggling; it's about seeking a particular struggle, which involves a cycle of distinct actions.” 12 likes
“Although talent feels and looks predestined, in fact we have a good deal of control over what skills we develop, and we have more potential than we might ever presume to guess.” 7 likes
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