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The Greatest: The Quest for Sporting Perfection
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The Greatest: The Quest for Sporting Perfection

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  223 ratings  ·  15 reviews
What can Roger Federer teach us about the secret of longevity?

What do the All Blacks have in common with improvised jazz musicians?

What can cognitive neuroscientists tell us about what happens to the brains of sportspeople when they perform?

And why did Johan Cruyff believe that beauty was more important than winning?

Matthew Syed, the 'Sports Journalist of the Year 2016',
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 2017 by Hodder and Stoughton
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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  223 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Jason Lawless
Apr 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I loved Matthew Syed's previous books, Bounce and Black Box Thinking. Two of my favourite all-time non-fiction books. I picked the paperback version up without reading the back page blurb. I was disappointed to find it was simply a collection of articles (although very well written) he had previously published. My mistake. I was expecting to find another ground breaking work on how success works. I had read several of the articles before, so I felt somewhat disappointed. That said it is very wel ...more
Mar 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Jamie Bowen
May 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This book differs from Bounce and Black Box Thinking by using Matthew's newspaper articles to create the narrative of what makes sporting perfection. This means that it's broken down into nice bite size chunks with 5 overarching chapters. There's something about sports writing that makes it come alive and is so evocative, and this book ticks a lot of those boxes. Some great stories as well which I never knew.
David Margetts
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Not bad, and good in parts. Syed uses a number of written stories / diary entries to form a book about his observations / opinions on sport and some of the sporting heroes and anti-heroes. At times the book is revealing and insightful, at others it seems a regurgitation of previous books or 'old facts'. He talks a lot about the 'what' of the 'Greatest', but falls short on the 'why' and the how' many facts, but little in the way of instruction for others. The best parts surround the men ...more
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A book about what makes someone the greatest. What do they do that makes them stand apart from the crowd in the world of sport?

Matthew Syed's best book so far. I found this fascinating and particularly liked the interviews at the end. A lot of the knowledge Syed shares is transferable to life/other professions.

A really well structured book with some useful tips on how to make yourself the best if not better.

Paris Hadjisoteriou
Jan 27, 2019 rated it liked it
“May your hands always be busy, may your feet always be swift. May you have a strong foundation, when the winds of changes shift. May your hear always be joyful, and may your song always be sung. May you stay for ever young. “ - Bob Dylan
Karthik Ram
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Bought this for the man pictured playing Chetan Baboor in the pages of Sportstar in the early 2000s, as much as the writer. Didn't quite do it for me. Syed's knowledge of multiple sports and characters is obvious; passion (romance?) seems to be the missing ingredient.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
very good, although found it a bit repetitive with others by Matthew Syed. Enjoyed it nevertheless.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-readers
This is an interesting book, especially if you are a sports enthusiast. Pleased to have won this book in a recent Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Ironically this book is very mediocre. Dilettantism. A ping-pong player writing about boxing.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Not an origina idea in sight. The concept is gripping but other books address the topic far better and in an original way. This is a cut & paste of previous newspaper columns. Very disappointing.
Simon Fisher
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good book, particularly enjoyed the case studies.
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