Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success” as Want to Read:
Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  7,082 ratings  ·  577 reviews
In the vein of the international bestselling Freakonomics, award-winning journalist Matthew Syed reveals the hidden clues to success—in sports, business, school, and just about anything else that you’d want to be great at. Fans of Predictably Irrational and Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point will find many interesting and helpful insights in Bounce.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 20th 2010 by Harper
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bounce, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Eoin Coleman
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,082 ratings  ·  577 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a thoroughly enjoyable book; it appears to be the first of two books written by Matthew Syed. He is a champion table tennis player. He combines his own experience in his climb to champion status with the experiences of other champion sportsmen and celebrities, to come to some very interesting conclusions about what allows someone to excel to the top in a field. The secret, if there is one, is that circumstances arise that allow someone to start practicing and developing from a relatively ...more
Mark Speed
Feb 06, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Loy Machedo
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 18, 2010 added it
Shelves: recent-reads
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
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Says much about me I’m sure, that I much preferred the kiddies version: you are awesome!

Still a fantastic read, and this time with the science only briefly covered in the previous. As an educator, I found the first half far more interesting and relevant, whilst the second half on placebo and genetics merely ... interesting!

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
Sheldon Fernandez
Passionate, compelling and…misleading

What is the genesis of world class achievement in sports and other endeavours such as art?

Observers usually nominate two variables, exemplified by the following news excerpts about the 2012 Wimbledon final:

"Talent does what it can. Genius does what it must. The old Edward Bulwer-Lytton aphorism smacked Andy Murray round the head in his first Wimbledon final, his fourth in grand slam tournaments overall. Murray was as good as he could be. Federer was the mast
Jason Yang
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Mario Tomic
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Love this book! It goes deep into the process of mastering a skill from a perspective of a world class table tennis pro who presents a mix of personal experience and scientific research. The book will teach you what form of practice actually works and what is required to achieve elite world class levels in sports, business, music, driving and pretty much anything! Besides purposeful practice the book breaks down other aspects of success such as: having quality feedback, learning from failure, en ...more
Regurgitation of Colvin and Coyle--

With a heavy spin on sports - unfortunately.

It focuses on the topic of sports without delving deep into the fascinating topic of deliberate practice and its applications in wider areas.

The first half of the book consists of direct quotes from and regurgitation of Colvin and Coyle's books and says nothing new about the alleged main subject of the book.

The only difference is that the author makes a foray into the topic of sports more than his predecessors but I f
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read, superstars are a result of endless hours of purposeful practice. Don't take failure personally, see it as a challenge. The placebo effect is very real, use it to your advantage. ...more
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really great audio book.
For anyone interested it sports psychology it must be the most
interesting book on the subject.
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who Think They Can't
It all comes down to this: Nature VS Nurture.

צפו בסיקור בוידאו! :-)

In the everlasting fight between Nature and Nurture, Matthew
proves that it's not GENES that determines success, no, it's what
you DO with what you have and how strongly you want
it, that makes you a success.

Matthew starts off with examples from his career as a table tennis champion.
He explain that opportunities, determination, passion and
a lot of time was the factor that has distinguished him from other
table-tennis players, not ta
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Xavier Guillaume
Nov 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
John Ege
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book covers a lot of areas, same research that you'd find in other books like Outliers, Talent is Overrated, etc. but still found it a really good read. The author is an athlete (tabletop tennis Olympian), details how hard work, purposeful practice and incredible amount of time (and luck that he had a regulation tabletop in his house) contributed to his own success.

He covers familiar territory discrediting the talent myth, but also goes into how the talent myth can actually impede success
Mukesh Emes
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't write a small review. There are some many takeaways that you can get from this book that I had to write an entire post! Or, maybe I'm too talkative :). Thing is, if I had to write this review in a super summarized way, I'd say: The major takeaway for me was to learn that we should praise effort, not talent - this totally makes sense. That failures are opportunities to learn, and that abilities can be transformed through applications. (my complete review here). ...more
Jian Hou
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Another book on the science of mastery and high performance. Matthew Syed expounds on principles that have been repeated in earlier works like The Talent Code and Outliers. What I like about his version is that he discusses themes like "choking" and placebo effects that are - but not exclusively - seen in sports. Worth a read if you have not gone through other books on skill improvement or just for the chapters on the aforementioned themes. ...more
Apr 30, 2012 rated it liked it
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, qua
May 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Aurélien Thomas
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
What set great achievers and successful people apart from the rest? Simple: hard work and practice.

Simple as and, yet, it still is baffling to see how many still believe in 'talent' or 'genius' that is, inner and innate capabilities that one either has or doesn't! Debunking many prejudices, from child prodigies to so called sparks of creative genius, Matthew Syed here shows that success and achievement have nothing to do with genetic predispositions (talent, then) but, are down to hard work, me
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: better-me, plus4
I could not resist a book written by a British ping-pong champion, you don't get many opportunities like that.

The book does a great job of putting forward the "10,000 hours or useful practice will make you good at just about anything" idea.

The surprise is there are people resist the idea.

The idea of the "natural talent" seems to have sprung from some Victorian relative of Charles Darwin.

Now why would an English upper class toff sitting atop an empire want to put forward the idea that some people
Eddy Allen
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it

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
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Brilliant book yet inconclusive.
Overall, it is pure pleasure to read as Syed, a sportsman in his own right speaks of numerous ideas and common beliefs in sports, business and life in general and dismisses the idea that talent is imperative in excellence. With the help of brilliant examples, the author dismisses this myth and advocates the scientific work of Ericsson that excellence is not reserved to the very few but is within the reach of any one of us. It centres around the famous 10,000 hours
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book. Well written and deeply researched. To be honest, at first I thought it was merely a clone of Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. The main premise of the book being that expertise is not derived from genetics or innate ability, but rather from practice and lots of it. In fact 10,000 hours of it. I was happy to see rather quickly that the author quickly and thoroughly acknowledges Gladwell's work. This story I thought took a rather different direction and added to the conversation of what s ...more
May 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Bounce Do you think valid argument 1 16 Jun 30, 2011 12:50PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Chimp Paradox: The Acclaimed Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness
  • Legacy: What the All Blacks Can Teach Us About the Business of Life
  • The Art of Resilience
  • The Barcelona Way: Unlocking the DNA of a Winning Culture
  • Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else
  • Gold Mine Effect: Crack the Secrets of High Performance
  • The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills
  • Notes from a Friend: A Quick and Simple Guide to Taking Control of Your Life
  • The Jersey: The All Blacks: The Secrets Behind the World's Most Successful Team
  • The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Everything Else
  • Leading: Learning from Life and My Years at Manchester United
  • The Autobiography
  • The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance
  • On Fire: My Story of England's Summer to Remember
  • Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise
  • Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong
  • Open Side: The Official Autobiography
  • Barça: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World
See similar books…
Matthew Syed is an author and highly acclaimed speaker in the field of high performance. He has written six bestselling books on the subject of mindset and high performance – Rebel Ideas, Bounce, Black Box Thinking, The Greatest, and his celebrated children’s books, You Are Awesome and The You Are Awesome Journal – and has worked with many leading organisations to build a mindset of continuous im ...more

Related Articles

  Luvvie Ajayi Jones—author, cultural critic, digital entrepreneur—might be best described as a professional truthteller. Her crazily popular...
20 likes · 0 comments
“Well, it doesn’t work. Lowering standards just leads to poorly educated students who feel entitled to easy work and lavish praise.” 10 likes
“Child prodigies amaze us because we compare them not with other performers who have practiced for the same length of time, but with children of the same age who have not dedicated their lives in the same way. We delude ourselves into thinking they possess miraculous talents because we assess their skills in a context that misses the essential point. We see their little bodies and cute faces and forget that, hidden within their skulls, their brains have been sculpted—and their knowledge deepened—by practice that few people accumulate until well into adulthood, if then. Had the six-year-old Mozart been compared with musicians who had clocked up 3,500 hours of practice, rather than with other children of the same age, he would not have seemed exceptional at all.” 4 likes
More quotes…