26 January 2015 | Book Reviews, Book Reviews 2015 | By Christophe Lachnitt
Book Review: “The Sports Gene: Talent, Practice And The Truth About Success” By David Epstein (2013, 352 Pages)
If you have a body, you are an athlete.
David Epstein is an investigative reporter at ProPublica.
“The Sports Gene” explores the nature vs. nurture debate in sports performance. It covers a range of examples in many sports (track and field, football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, triathlon, soccer, tennis, golf, swimming…).
David Epstein concludes that:
“In simple tasks, practice brings people closer together, but in complex ones, it often pulls them apart – the individual differences go up, not down, with practice.
Even at the most basic level, it’s always a hardware and software story. The hardware is useless without the software, just as the reverse is true. Sport skill acquisition does not happen without both specific genes and a specific environment, and often the genes and the environment must coincide at a specific time. Superior hardware is speeding the download of sports-skill software.”
I read to learn new things and I did learn a lot of interesting information in this book. It presents compelling case studies and is very well-researched.
The downside is that “The Sports Gene” is really for sports junkies because the author often doesn’t know when to stop. As Voltaire said, “the secret of being a bore is to tell everything.”