One of the great mysteries in life is how to become really good at something. Some people believe that you are either born with talent or you aren’t. But if you emerged from the womb unable to play piano concertos, Daniel Coyle has good news. THE TALENT CODE is fascinating. His subtitle, Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How., pretty much sums it up.
If you by any chance spent countless hours in your youth aiming at the backboard in your driveway, testing out various elbow and wrist angles in an effort to figure out how to make 100% of your free throws, you will definitely be able to relate to at least one aspect of this book. Coyle talks about the need for Deep Practice—not just logging hours, but logging PURPOSEFUL hours—making mistakes and learning from them.
Citing an array of brain-based research, he focuses on recent discoveries about the importance of myelin, which insulates neurons and synapses and can be accumulated in ways that benefit the user in the same way that broadband is better than dial-up.
He explains how to ignite the inclination to develop skills, providing examples as diverse as South Korean golfers and Brazilian soccer players to violinists and students at KIPP schools. He also touches on what makes master coaches effective. If you’ve ever had a great coach, you will suddenly realize things about this person that you never did before. And if you WANT to become a great coach, the tips are helpful.
In short, this book offers great soup for any educator to slurp down. But I don’t want to give too much away. Plus I need to go work on my free throws.