Summary of The Sports Gene

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The Sports Gene book summary


9 Overall

7 Applicability

9 Innovation

9 Style


Can Malcolm Gladwell’s famed “10,000-hour rule” – which defines the length of time a person needs to master a skill – explain Donald Thomas? He’s the world champion Bahamian high jumper who triumphed despite his lack of experience, his indifference to training and his rough technique. As sports journalist David Epstein writes in this fascinating study, athletic success turns out to be a complex stew of genetic and cultural factors. That’s why Thomas, an unknown, could defeat an Olympic champion who devoted his life to perfecting his high jump technique. Epstein, an informed, engaging guide to sports science, argues convincingly that the 10,000-hour rule is a vague guideline, not a road map. He doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable discussions of race in sports; he addresses this touchy topic and others in a tactful, respectful way. A writer at Sports Illustrated, Epstein clearly conveys complex technical concepts, and he offers a view of performance and training, which managers in other fields may find illuminating. getAbstract recommends his study to supervisors, coaches and parents seeking insight into athletic success.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How elite athletes are both born and made,
  • Why the 10,000-hour rule isn’t always true, and
  • Why some surprising athletes excel and Jamaicans dominate the sprints.

About the Author

David Epstein is an award-winning writer at Sports Illustrated. He ran on Columbia University’s track team.



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    Jeff Ostrowski 2 years ago
    Great read.
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    Golden Helen 3 years ago
    Never heard of 10,000 hour rule before. But it would make since. To break habits they say work on it for 30 days straight and it is supposed to get easier to accomplish. Good reading and infomation.
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    Sheila Forde 3 years ago
    A sporting perspective on the Nature-Nurture debate that will get you thinking.

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