Figured it was the time for annual lists and this topic came up over the holidays a few times so wanted to jot this down…
The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. Coyle studies how talent is grown and developed by examining the training and coaching methods used in seemingly unrelated “talent hotbeds”, from a tennis club outside Moscow to a cellist camp in upstate New York. This book literally blew me away – many of the lessons resonated with things I’d picked up or observed as a student, athlete, and parent. And mostly it just appealed to my love of a good, steep, exciting learning curve – whether it’s playing the Wii with my kids, doing drills on the tennis court, or watching my son improve at chess. The concept of “chunking”, the power of repeating a motion slowly to most completely understand it… Very cool stuff.
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. The best novel I’ve read in a couple years. A pretty tough critique of modern America but also illuminating. I also found it oddly hopeful. And it is hilarious. I loved The Corrections, and this was better.
Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi. It wouldn’t have surprised me to learn that Agassi had a love/hate thing with the game of tennis. But he didn’t – it was hate/hate. And he overcame this only when he found purpose in his life beyond the court, late in his career. His telling of his life is insightful and remarkably candid, and it takes a lot of guts to bare his weaknesses and the many mistakes he’s made along the way. A unique journey of self-discovery and ultimately transformation… and along the way he rose to the top (and bottom and top again) of his sport and profession.
If you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to read your comments…
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