Truth Is Just Perception

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.”

The Sports Gene

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.”


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