The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance: Library Edition (Anglais) CD – Livre audio, 1 janvier 2014
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
"Provides a powerful and convincing analysis of how genes influence all our lives, especially the careers of elite sportsmen" (The Times)
"A fascinating, thought-provoking look at the leading edge of sports performance, written by a guy who knows the territory. David, besides being a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, was a collegiate runner for Columbia University. More to the point, he's a terrific researcher and a fine, thoughtful writer" (Dan Coyle, author of The Talent Code)
"Full credit to David Epstein, a Sports Illustrated journalist with a serious and deep knowledge of genetics and sports science, for his terrific and unblinking new book, The Sports Gene, a timely corrective to the talent-denial industry" (Ed Smith New Statesman)
"Endlessly fascinating" (John Harding Daily Mail)
"Epstein's book does not try to simplify the argument, but it does provide a welcome corrective to those who have deliberately underplayed the notion that genetic make-up is irrelevant" (Mike Atherton The Times)
"David Epstein's illuminating synthesis of the latest research into the nature v nurture debate as applied to sport" (Simon Redfern Independent)
"Provoking spirited debate about the merits of the 10,000 hour rule" (Rick Broadbent The Times) --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
Présentation de l'éditeur
*** Shortlisted for William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2013 ***
Is Usain Bolt a superhuman one-off?
Are sports stars like Paula Radcliffe and Tiger Woods born or made?
Could we all be Olympians if we trained hard enough?
And is the answer to be found by looking at Alaskan huskies?
In this ground-breaking and entertaining exploration of athletic success, award-winning writer David Epstein gets to the heart of the great nature vs. nurture debate, and explodes myths about why top sportsmen excel.
Along the way Epstein exposes the flaws in the so-called 10,000-hour rule that states that rigorous practice from a young age is the only route to success. He shows why some skills that we imagine are innate are not - like the bullet-fast reactions of a baseball player - and why other characteristics that we assume are entirely voluntary, like an athlete's will to train, might in fact have important genetic components.
Through on-the ground reports at locations ranging from below the equator to above the Arctic Circle, revealing conversations with leading scientists and Olympic champions, and interviews with athletes who have rare genetic mutations or physical traits, Epstein forces us to rethink the very nature of sport.--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
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Meilleurs commentaires des clients
What does it take to become an elite athlete? The intuitive answer for most of us is that it probably takes some lucky genes on the one hand, and a whole heck of a lot of hard work on the other. Specifically, that we may need to be blessed with a particular body type to excel at a particular sport or discipline (after all, elite marathon runners tend to look far different from elite NFL running backs, who in turn tend to look far different from elite swimmers), but that beyond this it is practice and diligence that paves the way to success. When we look at the science, though--as sports writer David Epstein does in his new book The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance--we find that the story is much more complicated than this. In general terms we find that nature and nurture interact at every step of the way in the development of an elite athlete, and that biology plays far more of a role (and in far more ways) than we may have expected.
To begin with, when it comes to physiology, we find that biology does indeed have a large role to play in influencing our height and skeletal structure (as we would expect), but that biology also influences physiology in many other ways that are important when it comes to elite sports. For example, we find that people naturally vary widely in all of the following ways: the size of our heart and lungs, and the amount of red blood cells and hemoglobin that pumps through our veins; the specific type of muscle fibers that are most prevalent in our bodies (and the specific number of each); as well as our visual acuity--and again, all of these factors play a significant role in determining just how athletic we will be (and in what sports we will excel).
Second, when it comes to training, we find that hard work is not all there is to it. For biology not only shapes our physiology, but also how our physiology responds to training (including how much muscle mass and aerobic capacity we are able to build through exercise). The fact is that we naturally vary widely in just how much we respond to exercise (to the point where some of us improve dramatically through exercise, whereas others of us respond hardly at all). And we also respond differently to different training regimens (to the point where a training regime that works for one person may in fact harm another).
And while we may wish to take credit for just how hard we train, here too biology is found to play a role. For it turns out that we differ widely in just how naturally disposed we are to push ourselves. And over and above this, biology also influences how much we experience pain, such that even among those who experience the same desire to push themselves (both in training and in competition), one may find it much easier to handle the pain involved than the other--which, of course, can have a big impact on results.
And speaking of pain, our biology even influences how easily we injure and how well we recover from our injuries--which, once again, has a significant impact on performance.
As an added bonus, Epstein not only covers which biological factors have an impact on sports performance, but the evolutionary story of these biological factors (including why different populations that have adapted to different environments have come to acquire traits that make them well-disposed to different sports and disciplines [for example, why many elite marathoners have origins in East Africa, many elite sprinters have origins in West Africa, and many elite swimmers and weight-lifters have origins in Europe]).
In short, then, biology plays much more of a role in elite athletic performance that we may have realized. Not that the point of the book is to say that athletic performance is all in our genes. Just the contrary, as mentioned above the book makes the point that genes always interact with the environment to produce athletic outcomes. Genes are essential in shaping the athlete, but just as essential is the athlete's upbringing and culture, and that they do in fact get the training that is needed to make the most of their natural talents.
This book is a triumph. I can't imagine it would be possible to cover the topic better than the author has. The science involved is thoroughly researched; the anecdotes are perfectly chosen and add both context and interest (many of them are downright inspirational); and it is all presented in a very clear and thoroughly enjoyable way. Well done Mr. Epstein. A full executive summary of the book will be available at newbooksinbrief dot com, on or before Tuesday, August 20; a podcast discussion of the book will be available shortly thereafter.
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
"The Sports Gene" is an enjoyable book that shares the latest of modern genetic research as it relates to elite athleticism. In the never-ending quest to settle the debate of nature versus nature, David Epstein takes the readers on a journey into sports and tries to answer how much does each contribute. This fascinating 352-page book includes the following sixteen chapters: 1. Beat by an Underhand Girl: The Gene-Free Model of Expertise, 2. A Tale of Two High Jumpers: (Or: 10,000 Hours Plus or Minus 10,000 Hours), 3. Major League Vision and the Greatest Child Athlete Sample Ever: The Hardware and Software Paradigm, 4. Why Men Have Nipples, 5. The Talent of Trainability, 6. Superbaby, Bully Whippets, and the Trainability of Muscle, 7. The Big Bang of Body Types, 8. The Vitruvian NBA Player, 9. We Are All Black (Sort Of): Race and Genetic Diversity, 10. The Warrior-Slave Theory of Jamaican Sprinting, 11. Malaria and Muscle Fibers, 12. Can Every Kalenjin Run?, 13. The World's Greatest Accidental (Altitudinous) Talent Sieve, 14. Sled Dogs, Ultrarunners, and Couch Potato Genes, 15. The Heartbreak Gene: Death, Injury, and Pain on the Field, and 16 The Gold Medal Mutation.
1. Well-written, well-researched book. Epstein is very engaging and keeps the science at a very accessible level.
2. Fascinating topic that sports fans will enjoy. A look at elite athleticism through the eyes of science. Sports elites. I'm there!
3. Epstein does a fantastic job of skillfully handling the very sensitive topic of race and genetics. Any minor miscue and it would have derailed the book but Epstein never lets that happen and should be commended for his utmost care.
4. There are very few books on this interesting topic and this one covers multiple sports. And behind it all is the quest to find what's behind elite athleticism, "The question for scientists is: What accounts for that variance, practice, genes, or something else?"
5. You are guaranteed to learn something new. As an avid sports fan and reader, I didn't expect to learn too many new facts but I am always humbled and pleasantly surprised when I do.
6. The importance of experience in athletics. "Studies that track the eye movements of experienced performers, whether chess players, pianists, surgeons, or athletes, have found that as experts gain experience they are quicker to sift through visual information and separate the wheat from the chaff."
7. Golfers will pick up a valuable scientific tip...I'm not going to spoil it here.
8. The 10,000 hours rule in perspective. "Studies of athletes have tended to find that the top competitors require far less than 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to reach elite status. According to the scientific literature, the average sport-specific practice hours to reach the international levels in basketball, field hockey, and wrestling are closer to 4,000, 4,000, and 6,000, respectively."
9. Understanding the importance behind visual acuity and its importance in sports like baseball. "Coincidentally, or perhaps not, twenty-nine often is the age at which visual acuity starts to deteriorate and the age when hitters, as a group, begin to decline."
10. Important lessons shared, "To this day," Woods said in 2000, "my dad has never asked me to go play golf. I ask him. It's the child's desire to play that matters, not the parent's desire to have the child play."
11. Addressing the differences in gender. "Much of sexual differentiation comes down to a single gene on the Y chromosome: the SRY gene, or "sex determining region Y" gene. Insofar as there is an "athleticism gene," the SRY gene is it." Great stuff!
12. So who was the greatest high-school athlete of all time according to ESPN? Find out.
13. The impact of the Human Genome Project as it relates to sports. The naturally fit six...
14. The science behind muscle growth. "Something that myostatin does signals muscles to cease growing. They had discovered the genetic version of a muscle stop sign. In the absence of myostatin, muscle growth explodes." A lot of good information here.
15. Discusses physical traits by sport that give the athletes innate advantages over the competition. "The height of a sprinter is often critical to his best event. The world's top competitors in the 60-meter sprint are almost always shorter than those in the 100-, 200-, and 400-meter sprints, because shorter legs and lower mass are advantageous for acceleration."
16. A cool look at the NBA. My favorite team of all time, the 95-96 Chicago Bulls (Jordan, Pippen and Rodman). Some eye-opening facts concerning wingspan.
17. Scientific observations, "Low-latitude Africans and Australian Aborigines had the proportionally longest legs and shortest torsos. So this is not strictly about ethnicity so much as geography."
18. Race and genetic diversity. "Kidd's work, along with that of other geneticists, archaeologists, and paleontologists, supports the "recent African origin" model--that essentially every modern human outside of Africa can trace his or her ancestry to a single population that resided in sub-Saharan East Africa as recently as ninety thousand years ago." Honestly, where would we be without understanding the grand theory of evolution? An excellent chapter, worth the price of the book.
19. Mind-blowing facts, " In an example particularly relevant to sports, about 10 percent of people with European ancestry have two copies of a gene variant that allows them to dope with impunity." Wow!
20. An interesting look at Jamaican sprinting and Kenyan long-term running. What's behind the success? "Consider this: seventeen American men in history have run a marathon faster than 2:10 (or a 4:58 per mile pace); thirty-two Kalenjin men did it just in October 2011." Say what?
21. The honest limitations of the young science of genetics, "Just as it is tough to find genes for height--even though we know they exist--it is extraordinarily difficult to pin down genes for even one physiological factor involved in running, let alone all of them."
22. Is motivation genetic? Interesting.
23. Genetic diseases. "According to statistics that Maron has compiled, at least one high school, college, or pro athlete with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) will drop dead somewhere in the United States every other week."
24. An excellent epilogue on the perfect athlete, "In reality, any case for sports expertise that leans entirely on either nature or nurture is a straw-man argument."
25. Notes and selected citations included.
1. Football is the most popular sports in America bar none but wasn't really given as much paper as I was hoping for; sure you get some stories about Jerome Bettis, Herschel Walker, head injuries and weight lifting...but not the treatment a sport of its magnitude would warrant.
2. The science is very basic and done so to reach a larger audience. Links or an appendix would have given curious readers more to immediately munch on.
3. At no fault of the author, the science of genetics is still too young to be able to answer the most demanding questions to a satisfactory level.
4. No formal separate bibliography...you have to surf through the notes.
5. Few links.
In summary, the perfect summer book. This was a page-turner of a book that provides us a glimpse into elite athleticism through the eyes of science. David Epstein provides sports enthusiasts with a scientific treat. One thing is perfectly clear...genetics is very complex and we are in its infancy. That being said, it's fascinating science and its increased understanding will continue to be applied to the world of sports. Epstein provides readers with an excellent appetizer of things to come; if you are interested in how genetics is being applied to extraordinary athletic performance, I highly recommend this book!
Recommendations: "Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcom Gladwell, "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" by Daniel H. Pink, "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business" by Charles Duhigg, "Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior (Vintage)" by Leonard Mlodinow, "Running Science" by Owen Anderson, "Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body" by Neil Shubin, "The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution" by Sean B. Carroll, "The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution" by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending, "Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA" by Daniel J. Fairbanks, "Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design" by Michael Shermer, "Only a Theory" by Kenneth R. Miller, "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins and, "Why Evolution Is True" by Jerry A. Coyne.
Epstein marvelously explains complex genetic processes and their effect on physiology while simultaneously discussing the influence of culture and environment on elite performance. Nature and nurture deftly described. Examples of each influence and their interplay abound, such as Albert Pujols’ inability to hit a woman pitching underhand; the trainability of a young Jim Ryan who couldn’t make his junior high track team yet became the first sub-four minute high school runner in a few short years; the remarkable sprinting of Jamaicans and the comparably astounding endurance of Kenyan and Ethiopian runners. These are just a few of the many fascinating performers highlighted in the book.
On the nature side, the author reports on the genetic research that reveals the role of genes and resulting physical capacities and/or weaknesses in areas such as visual acuity, muscle growth, limb length, fast and slow twitch muscles, aerobic capacity, oxygen usage and efficiency, energy efficiency based on body structure, testosterone, doping, and several others.
In respect to nurture, Epstein reports on studies describing the effect of geography, altitude, family, income, poverty, culture, motivation, drive, the 10,000 hours practice concept, etc. In every instance of performance there is a confluence of factors from both nature and nurture, the precise amount of each varying with individuals and being practically impossible to tease out. Researchers, however, continue to make new discoveries and fortunately there is a David Epstein reporting on and explaining the implications of this complex work.
While some gene mutations can enhance performance significantly , other mutations, as is well known, cause disease. The boundary line between these vastly different outcomes is not always or automatically clear. Epstein addresses this topic with feeling and candor as he describes sudden heart disease in young athletes, one of whom was a teammate and close friend. He also elucidates some of the genes implicated in brain insult along with injuries that result from damaged ligaments and tendons.
I had never read anything by David Epstein previously. His reporting of difficult scientific material was so clear, instructive and eminently readable that I will easily and eagerly reach for his next effort.