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The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

The Talent Code

In The Talent Code, award-winning journalist Daniel Coyle draws on cutting-edge research to reveal that, far from being some abstract mystical power fixed at birth, ability really can be created and nurtured.

In the process, he considers talent at work in venues as diverse as a music school in Dallas and a tennis academy near Moscow to demostrate how the wiring of our brains can be transformed by the way we approach particular tasks. He explains what is really going on when apparently unremarkable people suddenly make a major leap forward.

He reveals why some teaching methods are so much more effective than others. Above all, he shows how all of us can achieve our full potential if we set about training our brains in the right way.

We love this book, and it describes methods that are astonishingly close to what we doing with SkiA - breaking down complex skills into their component parts, and promoting deep practice for lasting results. 

"When you're practicing deeply, the world's usual rules are suspended. You use time more efficiently. Your small efforts produce big, lasting results. You have positioned yourself at a place where you can capture failure and turn it into skill. The trick is to find a skill just beyond your current abilities, to target the struggle. Thrashing blindly doesn't help. Reaching does. It's all about finding the Sweetspot. There's an optimal gap between what you know and what you're trying to do. When you find that sweetspot, learning takes off"

"Deep practice is not simply about struggling: it's about seeking out a particular struggle, which involves a cycle of distinct actions:

1. Pick a target

2 Reach for it

3 Evaluate the gap

4 Return to step 1"

"Of all the images that communicate the sensation of deep practice, my favourite is the staggering babies...a study to see what made babies improve at walking. The key factor wasn't height or weight or age or brain development or any innate trait but rather (surprise!) the amount of time they spent firing their circuits, learning to walk. This paints a vivid picture of what deep practice looks like. It's the feeling of being a staggering baby, of intently lurching towards a goal and toppling over. It's a wobbly, discomfiting sensation that any person would sensibly seek to avoid. Yet the longer the babies remained in that state - the more wiliing they were to endure it, and to permit themselves to fail - the more myelin they built, and the more skill they earned. The staggering babies embody the deepest truth about deep practice: to get good, it's helpful to be willing, or even enthusiastic, about being bad. Baby steps are the royal road to skill"

if you're interested in improving your own skills, or the skills of kids or clients, this book is a great read!

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