Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success
By Matthew Syed
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780061723759, 320pp.)
Publication Date: May 2010
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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 journalist and Olympian Matthew Syed explores the truth about our competitive naturewhy we win, why we don't, and how we really play the game of life. Bounce reveals how competitionthe most vivid, primal, and dramatic of human pursuitsprovides vital insight into many of the most controversial issues of our time, from biology and economics, to psychology and culture, to genetics and race, to sports and politics.
Backed by cutting-edge scientific research and case studies, Syed shatters long-held myths about meritocracy, talent, performance, and the mind. He explains why some people thrive under pressure and others choke, and weighs the value of innate ability against that of practice, hard work, and will. From sex to math, from the motivation of children to the culture of big business, Bounce shows how competition provides a master key with which to unlock the mysteries of the world.
A two-time Olympian and a graduate of Oxford University, Matthew Syed is a columnist for The Times (London), a commentator for the BBC, and a recipient of the British Press Award for Sports Journalist of the Year, and was named British Sports Feature Writer of the Year by the Sports Journalists' Association.
“A cutting edge dissection—and ultimate destruction—of the myth of innate talent in the pursuit of excellence. Syed synthesizes his evidence with the precision of an academic, writes with the fluidity of a journalist, and persuades with the drive of a sportsman. Read this book.”
-Mark Thomas, Professor of Evolutionary Genetics, University College London
“Intellectually stimulating and hugely enjoyable at a stroke. . . . Challenged some of my most cherished beliefs about life and success.”
-Jonathan Edwards, Olympic Gold Medal Winner in the Triple Jump
“Compelling and, at times, exhilarating—Bounce explains high achievement in sport, business, and beyond.”
-Michael Sherwood, Chief Executive, Goldman Sachs International
“Sport is often used as an analogy for business, education, and personal relationships. In this insightful and entertaining book, Matthew Syed takes us a step deeper into the world of sports, showing us how much we can learn about our own behavior.”
-Dan Ariely, New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational