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The Talent Code: Greatness isn't born. It's grown par [Coyle, Daniel]
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The Talent Code: Greatness isn't born. It's grown Format Kindle

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Longueur : 258 pages Word Wise: Activé Composition améliorée: Activé
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The Girl Who Did a Month's Worth of Practice in Six Minutes

Every journey begins with questions, and here are three: How does a penniless Russian tennis club with one indoor court create more top-twenty women players than the entire United States?

How does a humble storefront music school in Dallas, Texas, produce Jessica Simpson, Demi Lovato, and a succession of pop music phenoms?

How does a poor, scantily educated British family in a remote village turn out three world-class writers?

Talent hotbeds are mysterious places, and the most mysterious thing about them is that they bloom without warning. The first baseball players from the tiny island of the Dominican Republic arrived in the major leagues in the 1950s; they now account for one in nine big-league players. The first South Korean woman golfer won a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tournament in 1998; now there are fortyfive on the LPGA Tour, including eight of the top twenty money winners. In 1991 there was only one Chinese entry in the Van Cliburn piano competition; the most recent competition featured eight, a proportional leap reflected in top symphony orchestras around the world.

Media coverage tends to treat each hotbed as a singular phenomenon, but in truth they are all part of a larger, older pattern. Consider the composers of nineteenth-century Vienna, the writers of Shakespearean England, or the artists of the Italian Renaissance, during which the sleepy city of Florence, population 70,000, suddenly produced an explosion of genius that has never been seen before or since. In each case, the identical questions echo: Where does this extraordinary talent come from? How does it grow?

The answer could begin with a remarkable piece of video showing a freckle-faced thirteen-year-old girl named Clarissa. Clarissa (not her real name) was part of a study by Australian music psychologists Gary McPherson and James Renwick that tracked her progress at the clarinet for several years. Officially, the video's title is, but it should have been called The Girl Who Did a Month's Worth of Practice in Six Minutes.

On screen, Clarissa does not look particularly talented. She wears a blue hooded sweatshirt, gym shorts, and an expression of sleepy indifference. In fact, until the six minutes captured on the video, Clarissa had been classified as a musical mediocrity. According to McPherson's aptitude tests and the testimony of her teacher, her parents, and herself, Clarissa possessed no musical gifts. She lacked a good ear; her sense of rhythm was average, her motivation subpar. (In the study's written section, she marked “because I'm supposed to” as her strongest reason for practicing.) Nonetheless, Clarissa had become famous in music-science circles. Because on an average morning McPherson's camera captured this average kid doing something distinctly un-average. In five minutes and fifty-four seconds, she accelerated her learning speed by ten times, according to McPherson's calculations. What was more, she didn't even notice.

McPherson sets up the clip for us: It's morning, Clarissa's customary time for practice, a day after her weekly lesson. She is working on a new song entitled “Golden Wedding,” a 1941 tune by jazz clarinetist Woody Herman. She's listened to the song a few times. She likes it. Now she's going to try to play it.

Clarissa draws a breath and plays two notes. Then she stops. She pulls the clarinet from her lips and stares at the paper. Her eyes narrow. She plays seven notes, the song's opening phrase. She misses the last note and immediately stops, fairly jerking the clarinet from her lips. She squints again at the music and sings the phrase softly. “Dah dah dum dah,” she says. She starts over and plays the riff from the beginning, making it a few notes farther into the song this time, missing the last note, backtracking, patching in the fix. The opening is beginning to snap together-the notes have verve and feeling. When she's finished with this phrase, she stops again for six long seconds, seeming to replay it in her mind, fingering the clarinet as she thinks. She leans forward, takes a breath, and starts again.

It sounds pretty bad. It's not music; it's a broken-up, fitful, slow-motion batch of notes riddled with stops and misses. Common sense would lead us to believe that Clarissa is failing.

But in this case common sense would be dead wrong. “This is amazing stuff,” McPherson says. “Every time I watch this, I see new things, incredibly subtle, powerful things. This is how a professional musician would practice on Wednesday for a Saturday performance.”

On screen Clarissa leans into the sheet music, puzzling out a G-sharp that she 's never played before. She looks at her hand, then at the music, then at her hand again. She hums the riff. Clarissa's posture is tilted forward; she looks as though she is walking into a chilly wind; her sweetly freckled face tightens into a squint. She plays the phrase again and again.

Each time she adds a layer of spirit, rhythm, swing. “Look at that!” McPherson says. “She 's got a blueprint in her mind she 's constantly comparing herself to. She 's working in phrases, complete thoughts. She 's not ignoring errors, she's hearing them, fixing them. She 's fitting small parts into the whole, drawing the lens in and out all the time, scaffolding herself to a higher level.”

This is not ordinary practice. This is something else: a highly targeted, error-focused process. Something is growing, being built. The song begins to emerge, and with it, a new quality within Clarissa.

The video rolls on. After practicing “Golden Wedding,” Clarissa goes on to work on her next piece, “The Blue Danube.” But this time she plays it in one go, without stopping. Absent of jarring stops, the tune tumbles out in tuneful, recognizable form, albeit with the occasional squeak.

McPherson groans.“She just plays it, like she 's on a moving sidewalk,” he says. “It's completely awful. She's not thinking, not learning, not building, just wasting time. She goes from worse than normal to brilliant and then back again, and she has no idea she 's doing it.”

After a few moments McPherson can't take it anymore. He rewinds to watch Clarissa practice “Golden Wedding” again. He wants to watch it for the same reason I do. This is not a picture of talent created by genes; it's something far more interesting.

It is six minutes of an average person entering a magically productive zone, one where more skill is created with each passing second.

“Good God,” McPherson says wistfully. “If somebody could bottle this, it'd be worth millions.” This book is about a simple idea: Clarissa and the talent hotbeds are doing the same thing. They have tapped into a neurological mechanism in which certain patterns of targeted practice build skill. Without realizing it, they have entered a zone of accelerated learning that, while it can't quite be bottled, can be accessed by those who know how. In short, they've cracked the talent code.

The talent code is built on revolutionary scientific discoveries involving a neural insulator called myelin, which some neurologists now consider to be the holy grail of acquiring skill. Here 's why. Every human skill, whether it's playing baseball or playing Bach, is created by chains of nerve fibers carrying a tiny electrical impulse-basically, a signal traveling through a circuit. Myelin's vital role is to wrap those nerve fibers the same way that rubber insulation wraps a copper wire, making the signal stronger and faster by preventing the electrical impulses from leaking out. When we fire our circuits in the right way-when we practice swinging that bat or playing that note-our myelin responds by wrapping layers of insulation around that neural circuit, each new layer adding a bit more skill and speed. The thicker the myelin gets, the better it insulates, and the faster and more accurate our movements and thoughts become.

Myelin is important for several reasons. It's universal: everyone can grow it, most swiftly during childhood but also throughout life. It's indiscriminate: its growth enables all manner of skills, mental and physical. It's imperceptible: we can't see it or feel it, and we can sense its increase only by its magical-seeming effects. Most of all, however, myelin is important because it provides us with a vivid new model for understanding skill. Skill is a cellular insulation that wraps neural circuits and that grows in response to certain signals. The more time and energy you put into the right kind of practice-the longer you stay in the Clarissa zone, firing the right signals through your circuits-the more skill you get, or, to put it a slightly different way, the more myelin you earn. All skill acquisitions, and therefore all talent hotbeds, operate on the same principles of action, no matter how different they may appear to us. As Dr. George Bartzokis, a UCLA neurologist and myelin researcher, put it, “All skills, all language, all music, all movements, are made of living circuits, and all circuits grow according to certain rules.”

In the coming pages we 'll see those rules in action by visiting the world's best soccer players, bank robbers, violinists, fighter pilots, artists, and skateboarders. We 'll explore some surprising talent hotbeds that are succeeding for reasons that even their inhabitants cannot guess. We 'll meet an assortment of scientists, coaches, teachers, and talent researchers who are discovering new tools for acquiring skill. Above all, we 'll explore specific ways in which these tools can make a difference in maximizing the potential in our own lives and the lives of those around us.

The idea that all skills grow by the same cellular mechanism seems strange and surprising because the skills are so dazzlingly varied. But then again, all of this planet's variety is built from shared, adaptive mechanisms; evolution could have it no other way. Redwoods differ from roses but both grow through photosynthesis. Elephants differ from amoebas but both use the same cellular mechanism to convert food into energy.

Tennis players, singers, and painters don't seem to have much in common but they all get better by gradually improving timing and speed and accuracy, by honing neural circuitry, by obeying the rules of the talent code-in short, by growing more myelin.

This book is divided into three parts-deep practice, ignition, and master coaching-which correspond to the three basic elements of the talent code. Each element is useful on its own, but their convergence is the key to creating skill.

Remove one, and the process slows. Combine them, even for six minutes, and things begin to change.

From the Hardcover edition.

Revue de presse

"I only wish I'd never before used the words 'breakthrough' or 'breathtaking' or 'magisterial' or 'stunning achievement' or 'your world will never be the same after you read this book.' Then I could be using them for the first and only time as I describe my reaction to Daniel Coyle's The Talent Code. I am even willing to 'guarantee' that you will not read a more important and useful book in 2009, or pretty much any other year. And if all that's not enough, it's also 'a helluva good read.'"—Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

"This is a remarkable—even inspiring—book. Daniel Coyle has woven observations from brain research, behavioral research, and real-world training into a conceptual tapestry of genuine importance. What emerges is both a testament to the remarkable potential we all have to learn and perform and an indictment of any idea that our individual capacities and limitations are fixed at birth."—Dr. Robert Bjork, Distinguished Professor and Chair of Psychology, UCLA

I only wish I’d never before used the words ‘breakthrough’ or ‘breathtaking’ or ‘magisterial’ or ‘stunning achievement’ or ‘your world will never be the same after you read this book.’ Then I could be using them for the first and only time as I describe my reaction to Daniel Coyle’s The Talent Code. I am even willing to guarantee that you will not read a more important and useful book in 2009, or any other year. And if all that’s not enough, it’s also a helluva good read.” —Tom Peters, coauthor of In Search of Excellence and author of Re-imagine!

“Daniel Coyle digs deep into the core of the insatiable desire to become ‘better.’ An amazing read with many practical applications for everyday life.” —Apolo Anton Ohno, Olympic gold medalist

From the Hardcover edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
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  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 258 pages
  • Editeur : Cornerstone Digital (15 décembre 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004EYSXT8
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Clair net et précis.

J'ai lu Talent Is Overrated, Mastery, Outliers et The Talent Code.
Le meilleur de ces 4 livres : The Talent Code.

Les concepts sont clairs, c'est détaillé et facile à intégrer.
On en ressort motivé pour devenir le meilleur dans son domaine.

Un des meilleurs livres que j'ai lu en 2012.

- Alexis
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Le livre est très agréable à lire, très bien documenté. Au travers d'une approche scientifique, factuelle, le talent y est décortiqué de telle façon qu'il est démystifié, qu'il en devient accessible à tous. Devant une telle vérité, vous trouvez alors la force d'y croire, de commencer, de continuer et en cela, il est bien plus efficace que bon nombre de livres sur le sujet.
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A fast paced enjoyable read that gives hope to all of us ( not just educators or parents ) that with the right mindset anyone can be great. Probably still helps to start early but
there is hope for your golf swing yet.
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...le livre de Daniel Coyle est une référence dans la matière. Le livre est bien construit et il est basé sur une excellente biographie.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x9c4b284c) étoiles sur 5 597 commentaires
470 internautes sur 494 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9c4bf4d4) étoiles sur 5 Want To Be Great? Better Get Busy! 28 avril 2009
Par Daniel L. Marler - Publié sur
Format: Relié
How do people get good at something? Wait a minute, that's the not the right question, how do people get great at something?

Well, frankly, there has been a significant amount of research on the matter of human performance and the development of skill/talent. Author, Daniel Coyle, has looked at the research and he also went on a road trip to what he calls "talent hotbeds", places where great talent has been produced out of proportion to their size and perceived stature; for example, a Russian tennis club, a music school in Dallas, a soccer field in Brazil, and others.

Coyle shares what he learned in this excellent book, "The Talent Code". The Talent Code covers three basic areas:

1) Deep practice. Practice is important to world-class performance. I guess everyone knew that already, huh? Well, sometimes, it doesn't hurt to remind of everyone of the obvious. What might be a little more helpful is the understanding of "how" to practice. What constitutes "deep practice"? This is the kind of practice that separates the great from the not-so-great.

The understanding of "deep practice" involves an understanding of a substance called "myelin". Myelin is the insulation that wraps around nerve fibers. According to Coyle, myelin turns out to be a very big deal in the development of skill. Myelin is increased through deep practice and, in turn, increased myelin affects the signal strength, speed and accuracy of the electric signals traveling through nerve fibers. This increase of myelin and its effect on neurons has more to do with skill development than had previously been realized.

2) Ignition. If a person is going to invest the amount of time and passion and concentrated, difficult practice that produces high-level skill, that person will have to be deeply motivated. This is the aspect of skill development that Coyle refers to as "ignition". Coyle writes, "Where deep practice is a cool, conscious act, ignition is a hot, mysterious burst, an awakening." This deep passion is a necessary part of the attainment of great skill.

3) Master coaching. World class talent requires help and feedback and guidance from disciplined, committed, coaches. Think of this as the wise, older sage who can tell the student what he can't tell himself. The development of great skill seems to require the help of people who have the ability to grow talent in others.

Much of the content of "The Talent Code" reminded me of the book, "Talent Is Overrated" by Geoff Colvin, they contain many of the same insights regarding the development of talent. I loved both of these books and they are both worth reading. One of the encouraging and motivating truths that these books reveal is that great skill can be attained by virtually anyone who is willing to sincerely and passionately make the necessary commitment to its development. But, as one of the lines in the book suggests . . . "Better get busy."

Dan Marler
Oak Lawn, IL
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HASH(0x9c4bf528) étoiles sur 5 Very good, but there are some frustrating contradictions 31 mai 2009
Par Viriya Taecharungroj - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
"I'm going to practice it a zillion million times," she said. "I'm going to play super good."

"The Talent Code" by Daniel Coyle is a book on how to grow talent. The author is against the wisdom that talent is natural. The book is around the belief that talent come from Myelin. Myelin is the "insulation that wrap these nerve fibers and increases signal strength, speed, and accuracy." When the certain signal is sent down the nerve system, myelin wraps around the nerve fibre. The thicker the myelin, the better the signal. Thus, "skill is myelin insulation that wraps neural circuits and that grows according to certain signals."

The book is divided into three parts of talent growing; 1. Deep Practice 2. Ignition 3. Master Coaching


Part 1: Deep Practice

Chapter 1: The Sweet Spot
This is the first chapter to familiarise us with the deep practice. Coyle wrote about Brazilian football (soccer) and why it is the world's talent hotbed. He had an amazing story of Edwin Link and how his unusual device transformed the training of the Air Force.

Chapter 2: The Deep Practice Cell
This chapter surrounds the idea of myelin and how it might be the holy grail to talent. It is very scientific. To sum it up, "deep practice x 10,000 hours = world-class skill."

Chapter 3: The Brontës, the Z-Boys, and the Renaissance
The author started with the Brontë sisters from England in the 1850s who wrote fantastic children books. He also wrote about the group of skaters by the name of Z-Boys and the guilds during the renaissance and how they produced highly talented people.

Chapter 4: The Three Rules of Deep Practice
This chapter, Coyle gives us three rules of Deep Practicing. 1. Chunk It Up 2. Repeat It 3. Learn to Feel It
Part 2: Ignition

Chapter 5: Prima Cues
It is merely things that get you interested, that excite you and bring you passion. Coyle wrote on how the success of Se Ri Pak, a Korean golfer, had an impact on the next generation of female Korean golfers and how young Russian tennis players wanted to be the new Anna. "If she can do it, why can't I?"

Chapter 6: The Curaçao Experiment
The remote Caribbean island, Curaçao, did a miraculous work at producing lots of talented baseball players because the ignition sparked when an island hero, Andruw Jones, hit a home run. However, the real success of Curaçao is that it keeps motivational fire lit, Doyle tells you how they did it.

Chapter 7: How to Ignite a Hotbed
This chapter is about KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) by Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin. The story of success of KIPP is like a miracle but the core of it is to constantly ignite the students with just a word, college. No,... "COLLEGE!!"

Part 3: Master Coaching

Chapter 8: The Talent Whisperers
Talent does not come alone, the talented people in their fields need a coach, a mentor, or a master. Coyle wrote about Herman Lamm, the originator and teacher of modern bank-robbing skill! He wrote about Hans Jansen, a cello teacher at Meadowmount Music School in Chicago and how he personalised his teaching method. There is also a wonderful story of John Wooden, a great basketball coach and his amazing coaching techniques.

Chapter 9: The Teaching Blueprint
The author elaborated the four virtues of teaching 1. The Matrix or a task-specific knowledge of the teacher (He wrote a nice story of Linda Septein who taught Jessica Simpson and Beyonce Knowles) 2. Perceptiveness - how to perceive students individually 3. The GPS Reflex - the just-in-time informative directives 4. Theatrical Honesty which is the ability to connect with students.

Chapter 10: Tom Martinez and the $60 Million Bet
This is a chapter about Tom Martinez, a retired junior college American football coach, and his teaching method on a promising young quarterback, JaMarcus Russell.


I would like to compare this book to an ideal book: a book that is easy to understand, distinct, practical, credible, insightful, and provides great reading experience.

Ease of Understanding: 8/10: The book is written in simple language albeit some scientific information. The structure is very simple with the three parts, Deep Practice, Ignition, and Master Coaching. Minor drawbacks are some uses of unnecessary ambiguous words such as Matrix, Threatrical Honesty, etc. but they are minor, though.

Distinction: 7/10: There are many books on this subject already and it reminds me of a recent book, "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell and the two have some similarities and some differences. However, The Talent Code is excellent at instilling the knowledge of Myelin making us view talent from a different perspective.

Practicality: 8/10: This book is practical especially in the field on Deep Practice. Daniel Coyle explained nicely on this issue and it is not difficult to implement it to our daily life. Chunk It Up, Repeat, and Learn to Feel It are pretty much straightforward and Deep Practice is the best part of the book because the other two, Ignition and Master Coaching are more difficult to implement.

Credibility: 3/10: Although this is a very good book, it has a major flaw. This book is like a qualitative research. It is deep in the subject and in the examples and stories in the book. However, it lacks generalisation. You might say "That's the way it is" to a story but that might not be the way the rest are. There are some contradictions in the book as well.

For example, in the Chapter 9, the author stated that teaching soccer is different from teaching violin. Teaching soccer must be free flowing because the soccer circuitry is "varied and fast, changing fluidly in response to each obstacle." So, the coach rather lets the players perform. On the other hand, the violinist has to be accurate, precise, and stable. The coach, thus, has to stop and make sure that the circuitry is correct.

The argument is convincing and sensible until we noticed the way the legendary John Wooden, a basketball coach, coached. It's undisputed that basketball is more similar to soccer than violin that it requires fluidity in the game but Coyle wrote that John Wooden constantly issuing informative corrections of movements to players. He might not stop the game but he surely keeps correcting players, not letting them flow. Coyle wrote "[The soccer coach] occasionally smiles ot laughs or says oooooooo for a close play as a fan would. But he doesn't coach in the regular sense of the term, which is to say he doesn't stop the game, teach, praise, critique, or otherwise exert any control whatsoever."

There are some other contradictions or, at least, an overlap. In the chapter 8, Coyle wrote that some coaches coach love or make the children love what they are doing. The quote from the research of Dr. Benjamin Bloom in the chapter is "Perhaps the major quality of these teachers was that they made the initial learning very pleasant and rewarding. Much of the introduction to the field was a playful activity, and the learning at the beginning of the stage was much like a game."

However, in chapter 7, regarding KIPP, the process is not really similar, if not opposite. The new students will be introduced to "discipline" from the first day on everything; how to walk, how to talk, how to sit at a desk, how to look at a teacher or classmate who's speaking, and so on. Students, on the first day, sat on the floor without a desk because "...everything here at KIPP is earned. EVERYTHING is earned. Everything is EARNED." This is a much tougher game than the piano class in Dr. Bloom's research. Likewise, at Spartak, the tennis hotbed in Russia, they did not "play" tennis - they preferred the verb borot'sya - "fight" or "struggle."

There are many minor contradictions and overlaps in this book and make it much less convincing and credible and much of them are in the parts of "Ignition" and "Master Coaching."

Insightful: 7/10: Daniel Coyle had done a very good work with his interviews in the so-called talent hotbeds around the world. Those examples are backed with stories from those involved. However, more researches with less depth would be great to confirm the findings of the deep and insightful ones.

Reading Experience: 6/10: At first, this book is very promising with the first part, "Deep Practice." It gives you intriguing knowledge and very practical methods. However, the book fades out in the later parts I discussed above. While the "Deep Practice" part is very scientific, the other parts are not as solid. The general theme of the whole book is nice but the contradictions can frustrate you.

Overall: 6.5/10: This is a good book with a different perspective on how we look at talent. It will provide you with inspiration and sufficient guidelines to make you more talented in your fields. The Deep Practice part of the book is simply invaluable. The other two parts are not bad but some unclear messages might hold you back.

(I have done this kind of review for some months; if any of you have a comment or suggestion, please do tell)
1.146 internautes sur 1.267 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9c4bf804) étoiles sur 5 Dumbed Down and Void of Original Ideas 14 novembre 2009
Par Ronald Forbes-roberts - Publié sur
Format: Relié
(This is a long review because there's a lot to say about this book--none of it good.)

The premise of The Talent Code is straightforward. Myelin is a neurological substance that wraps itself around neurons that are specifically engaged when we learn and practice skills The thicker the sheath of myelin around these neurons, the more hardwired and precise these skills become. The Talent Code examines teaching/learning methods that ostensibly hasten and maximize the process of myelin wrapping thereby radically increasing our ability to acquire, polish and hardwire complex skills quickly and efficiently. This, Coyle claims, is the key to greatness in sports, music and (possibly) academic learning.

Coyle attempts to illustrate and prove this theory with anecdotal rather than scientific evidence (although he often refers to scientific studies on myelin to validate his observations) that he has gleaned from his visits to "hotbeds of talent", as he calls them, around the globe where learning methods that stimulate myelin wrapping are used, producing (in a few cases anyway) inordinate numbers of exceptional athletes and musicians.

It's an interesting premise but Coyle's exploration of it is riddled with errors,fallacies, unproven claims, poor research, puzzling semantics and old ideas and concepts from other sources that Coyle has cobbled together and presented as cutting edge information. These problems are evident right out of the gate when Coyle presents his dumbed down description of the part myelin plays in skill acquisition and shows just how shaky his grasp of his subject is. Yes, myelin is important in the learning process but it's controlled and regulated by the neurochemical BDNF. This compound is regulated by the nucleus basilis, which is the part of the brain responsible for deep concentration and other processes pertaining to skill acquisition. But Coyle mentions neither BDNF nor the nucleus basilis though they are at least as important as myelin in this process. This is like describing the miracle of how letters end up in a mail box without mentioning the postal worker who puts them there or the post office that sorts the mail and sends it to the right address. (I would have given this book two stars just for a decent description of the myelin wrapping process but Coyle can't even get that right.)

After his botched description of the neurological process that is largely the basis of his book, the author moves on to discuss various learning/teaching concepts that he claims maximizes the myelin wrapping process. He presents these concepts as though they're groundbreaking and revolutionary discoveries: secret knowledge he has fetched from obscure sources and shared with us for our edification. Nothing could be further from the truth because while Coyle does his best to present these ideas as new and original by dressing up old concepts with new labels and jargon, they are all familiar and common place to anybody with even a passing knowledge of contemporary teaching and learning methods.

Take the specific practice method that Coyle claims maximizes myelin wrapping. This method involves breaking a skill down into small components and slowly perfecting each component before moving on to the next. Mistakes are focused on and eliminated through repetition. Coyle calls this process "deep practice" and asserts that it's a cutting edge concept known to and practiced by only a privileged few. But this method of practicing has long been common practice among serious musicians and athletes, and not just in his so called "hotbeds of talent"-- most of which have been previously documented in other books and magazine articles. Further, as other reviewers of this book have complained, Coyle never gives a step by step overview of "deep practice" strategies, which are outlined in many other books on the subject. He also never distinguishes between "practicing" and "learning", often using them interchangeably, which gives the impression that he actually believes that they're the same thing.

He goes on to reveal to us that good teachers--whom Coyle refers to as "master coaches" -- focus on a student's individual strengths and weaknesses and balance perceptive, constructive criticism with sincere compliments in their approach to teaching. This is a basic tenet of effective teaching but Coyle treats it like news of the discovery of a second moon orbiting Earth.

Then there's the startling revelation that students who are motivated through a deep interest in a particular subject tend to master that subject more quickly than those are lack motivation. Coyle calls this "ignition" rather than motivation because he is either intent on reinventing the wheel linguistically speaking or renames basic concepts in order to give his premise some semblance of originality Is anybody really surprised to learn that inspired students who jump into their studies with great passion nurtured by good teachers tend to do better than those who are apathetic about their studies? However much Coyle would have us believe otherwise, this observation is about as newsworthy as "dog bites man".

Coyle relies heavily on unsubstantiated conclusions and fallacies to support his premise. For example, he raves about a private school whose main goal to instill ("ignite"?) in its students an obsessive desire to go to college. He spends many pages enthusing about how wonderful and successful this school is in realizing this goal. But wait a minute. How many of these kids have actually reached college? Not one because the program is only a few years old and the kids haven't even reached high school yet. So we have no idea how well it does or doesn't work. But Coyle concludes that it's a wild success and bases his conclusion on...well, actually, he never says. (He also never says how these children, most of whom come from low income homes, are going to pay the tuition for the university of their choice) He's just sure it works like a hot damn: no proof needed beyond his completely subjective enthusiasm for the school and it's approach. Then there's Coyle's claim that one of his alleged "hotbeds of talent", Meadow Mount Music Camp, "produced" Yo Yo Ma and Izhtak Perlman. This is pure rubbish. Both musicians received only an infinitesimal part of their many years of intensive music training at this 7 week camp. And what about the thousands of other musicians who attended MM? Are they as great as Perlman? Coyle tends to avoid addressing questions like this. He also makes much of the amount of myelin found in Einsten's brain but never explains how this relates to his premise. Are we meant to assume that "deep practice" was responsible for Einstein's genius and the large amount of myelin in his brain? True to form, Coyle doesn't say directly but of course we're supposed to infer the connection. In fact, although Coyle implies several times that "deep practice" of academic pursuits can lead to greatness, he steadfastly skirts the issue of how this might be done and offers no evidence that it may be possible. The reader has to take it on blind faith that it's so. The book is full of this sort of transparently fallacious content that is indicative of the worst kind of shabby, shallow pop journalism.

Even Coyle's notion of what constitutes "greatness" is highly questionable. Let's say that his premise is right, that if we spend 10,000 hours of "deep practice" at a particular activity, we will acquire incredible technical skills. (The "10,000 hours of practice" theory which Coyle refers to constantly is the hypothesis of Dr. KA Ericcson whom Coyle doesn't credit in the body of the book although he does in the bibliography.) Let's say we spend these 10,000 hours practicing music and develop phenomenal technical music skills that allow us to perfectly navigate a difficult piece of music at warp speed. Is this greatness? No, it's an impressive feat to be sure. But it isn't greatness and no knowledgeable musician would ever say it was. Great musicians--all great artists for that matter--aren't just about technical skill. They have other crucial aptitudes--creative intelligence, sensitivity, emotional expression, imagination, a penchant for original thought and risk taking, etc.--that don't develop simply by spending endless hours repeating the same movements over and over until mistakes are eliminated and the myelin sheath enveloping their neurons is as thick as Mike Tyson's forearm. What does Coyle make of the fact that many principal violinists in major orchestras have the same (or greater) technical skills as celebrated violin virtuoso Joshua Bell but will never achieve his greatness because they don't possess the aforementioned qualities that move a technically excellent performer into the realm of true greatness, which Bell inhabits? And how would he explain the greatness of artists like Picasso, Van Gogh, Kandinski, Maria Kallas, Bob Dylan, Frank Lloyd Wright or countless other true greats whose brilliance had little or nothing to do with technique and everything to do with original thought and creative expression? That Coyle never addresses this conundrum indicates that the arts in general is a realm far beyond his ken.

For Coyle, fame and fortune are the most important indicators of what is truly great For example, he gushes on endlessly about the brilliance of Jessica Williams' (yes!) vocal teacher who has managed to get several of her students on Pop Idol by enabling them to sound like everybody else in the genre and gain recognition in a world that celebrates and rewards mediocrity and formula. Not that becoming an entrant on Pop Idol is any small feat: it requires some talent and work. It just has nothing to do with greatness. The same could be said for The Talent Code itself, a book that is the literary equivalent of Pop Idol: while some serious work went into writing it, it's derivative (as hard as he tries, Coyle is no Malcolm Gladwell), mediocre and shallow--slickly designed and marketed to sell a prodigious number of units to hopeful consumers who infer from the title that the book contains precepts that will lead them to greatness. Much is promised: little or nothing of substance is actually delivered. Coyle is simply shilling the kind of power of positive thinking pap that has become an enormous American sub-industry by trying to sell the absurd idea that anyone can become another Einstein or Beethoven or Tiger Woods or, heaven forbid, Jessica Williams, if they'll just plunk down 20 bucks for fluff like The Talent Code.

The concepts presented in The Talent Code as revelatory jaw dropping epiphanies are nothing more than facets of a time honored, well worn truism: seek out sincere experienced instructors who believe in you, work hard, practice regularly, patiently and carefully with discipline and passion and as your skills improve, consistently aim higher. You'll unquestionably improve, attain at least some level of mastery in your area and perhaps even excel. It's ever been and always will be thus, (long before myelin was discovered). Will these things alone make you one of the greats? No, because true greatness involves many attributes that can't always be gained through tens (or hundreds) of thousands of hours of practice or instruction from the greatest teachers. But they'll get you a lot further than reading this compilation of second hand, poorly communicated ideas, cliches and unsupported claims marketed as original earth shattering insights and wrapped in sloppily presented scientific semi-truths to give it the facade of legitimacy.

If you're looking for well-written, helpful books on how we learn most effectively and what part the brain plays in the process of skill acquisition ,skip this mess and try The Practicing Mind, The Brain That Changes Itself, The Art of Practicing, The Outliers, This is Your Brain on Music, Practice Made Perfect, Effortless Mastery by the great jazz pianist Kenny Werner who actually presents detailed strategies for effective practicing, This is Your Brain on Music etc. All of these books contain far more insightful perspectives on how we learn most effectively than the Talent Code and none have the arrogance to suggest that they have some simplistic formula or "Code" for attaining greatness like this dud does.
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HASH(0x9c4bfd2c) étoiles sur 5 hit and miss 6 mai 2009
Par shoshidge - Publié sur
Format: Relié
In spite of the cringe-inducing title,(it seems, after Dan Brown, any hack wanting to get a book published names it The '_____' Code), I mostly liked this book.

Coyle's premise is brilliant in it's simplicity, explore places which generate a disproportionate amount of greatness in arts, athletics or scholarship and figure out what, if anything, they have in common.

His conclusions regarding the importance of specific practice habits, motivational experiences and coaching techniques seem bang-on, and, in hindsight, obvious once you've read about his insights while visiting an assortment of young over-acheivers.

It's a fun read, but he loses me on two points.
Firstly, Coyle is too eager to dismiss the idea of inborn talent.
While he rightly points out that the acquisition of skill is the result of deep practice, the degree of improvement still varies between individuals who share the same practice habits. Something more must be going on.

Secondly in his giddy enthusiasm over myelin building, he potentially paints himself in a corner should we discover that the ability to build myelin has any genetic correlation,(which a recent UCLA study seems to suggest).

In the end, he succeeds in winning me back by making satisfying digs against two of my most despised modern parenting practices, namely, Baby Einstein videos and the tendency to dish out un-earned praise in the name of esteem building.

good read.
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HASH(0x9c4bfd44) étoiles sur 5 It'll work if you try it 16 août 2009
Par Herman Jackson - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
With 34 reviews already written for this book I can only justify writing another if I think I have something to say that hasn't been said by other reviewers.

I have spent most of my adult life teaching, in universities and in industry. Through it all I have always sought better ways to perform the task of getting a concept or a bit of understanding from my head into that of someone else. And I've also often struggled with getting it into my own head, and many times I have struggled with getting from the novice stage to one of mastery of a concept or skill.

Bear with me as I attempt to set the stage for your understanding what I am trying to say. Being a scientist I'll approach the topic from the viewpoint of a scientist. In science research, or the organization of existing research, is usually done either to (a) support (i.e. to "prove") a hypothesis or (b) to disprove a hypothesis. Coyle's approach in "The Talent Code" is the former - he is assembling evidence in an attempt to prove that myelin is the "key" to developing talent. That's fine, but what I am most interested in is that he has assembled a large amount of data concerning development of talent. We don't have to accept his hypothesis to make use of his data.

The myelin sheath effectively makes some neuronal connections more effective than others; that is undeniable. Thus it is unarguably an important factor in speed of transmission. That, along with details of the chemistry of neurotransmitters, neuronal connections, the function of glial cells, and an infinitude of factors unknown collectively make up the "key" to developing talent.

I'm heading toward a strong recommendation of this book. How can I get there when I've just buried the author's theory, the basis for the book, in a pile of other factors that I consider to be of potentially equal or greater importance? The answer is simple. Coyle has assembled a sequence of steps that he argues does lead to maximization of talent. And he backs up that assemblage of steps with enough examples to leave little doubt about the general "correctness" of his argument. Whether one accepts or rejects Coyle's explanation the steps that he argues leads to talent development clearly work.

Who will benefit from reading this book, and why? If you are a teacher or a learner you can benefit greatly in the direct application of his observations to your daily work. If you want or need to develop a talent in yourself Coyle gives a blueprint for how to do that. If you are interested in the "myelin viewpoint" you'll get a reasonably complete view of that. If you want to know the "answer" to the question of the biology/chemistry of how talent is developed, this isn't the place to find it though you'll see one such hypothesis developed in some detail.

In short, I recommend reading the book with the mindset that if you follow the prescription you'll get the desired results. If he's correct in that myelin is the magic ingredient so be it. If he's wrong, you'll still have the results, and that's nothing to sneeze at.
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