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Publisher's Summary

Why have all the sprinters who have run the 100 meters in under 10 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 nature: why we win, why we don't, and how we really play the game of life.
Bounce reveals how competition - the most vivid, primal, and dramatic of human pursuits - provides 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.
©2010 Matthew Syed (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

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By Joao Coelho on 06-14-10

Very eye opening

Very eye opening, especially if you're new to the talent versus effort debate. The book started being a bit too close to Malcom Gladwell's "Outliers", which it quotes several times, but the 1st person experiences from the author bring a very good perspective and great examples. Very well narrated as well. Highly recommend.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful


By Andy on 05-25-10

takes us beyond Outliers

Fabulous narration. Matthew Syed does a deeper dive into what drives talent, beyond where Gladwell took us. Well researched insights are worth plowing through some familiar ground to get there.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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By Judy Corstjens on 09-06-12

Bad start and end - good middle

As I started listening I thought the book was a disaster because it seemed to be a rehash of Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. But then it offered rather more compelling evidence that Gladwell - such as the huge proportion of top British table tennis players coming out of Reading (one small town) and interesting take on the placebo effect (including religion) in sport. The end was a disappointing treatment of genetic influences in sporting prowess (Syed is keen to deny their existence completely), but he seemed to have forgotten that in just the previous chapter he was tentatively arguing for allowing athletes (and other humans) to experiment with genetic enhancements, such as resistance to cold viruses and raising intelligence. He does not offer any convincing explanation as to why certain groups of east africans dominate endurance races, and Jamaican do the same for sprints. It is facile to say that statements such as 'generally blacks are superior at sport' are false. Of course they are. But there is something to explain when only one white man (Lemaitre) has run 100m in under 10 secs. Syed's answer is 'stereotyping'. Hmm. Still, well worth reading.

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9 of 10 people found this review helpful


By Mr. R. D. Cox on 06-20-11

so much more than the title suggests

I saw Matthew Syed first when interviewed after Rory McRoy meltdown at Augusta Georgia. I researched his book and it certainly looked worth reading given his background as a top table tennis player who had his own meltdown at the Olympics.

But this book goes well beyond what the title suggests. This book brings together a great deal of research which suggests that the notion of talent does not exist. As in another title called the talent myth there is a tremendous amount of research to suggest that hard work beats everything and talent is a myth created by people who play down the amount of effort they have put into achieving success.

Having read this book and lead me on to a great many other similar piece of work which is definitely changing the way I think.

being heavily dyslexic means I have had to work harder than most to achieve results, and this book has helped improve my self-esteem.

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11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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By SJ on 02-09-16

Good but should have been more elaborate

Narrator was good. Author should have elaborated more on kind of practice n fitness depending on the sport.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Tiberio Martinez A on 07-07-17

Great book

This book views the outperformers in a new and interesting way.

At the end tends to focus perhaps too much in sports but the principles can be applicable to other areas.

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