[]
[]

The Sports Gene

Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

Epstein, David J.

(Book - 2013)
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Sports Gene
Print
We all knew a star athlete in high school. The one who made it look so easy. He was the starting quarterback and shortstop; she was the all-state point guard and high-jumper. Naturals. Or were they? The debate is as old as physical competition. Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to dominate their respective sports? Or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training? The truth is far messier than a simple dichotomy between nature and nurture. In the decade since the sequencing of the human genome, researchers have slowly begun to uncover how the relationship between biological endowments and a competitor’s training environment affects athleticism. Sports scientists have gradually entered the era of modern genetic research. In this controversial and engaging exploration of athletic success, Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein tackles the great nature vs. nurture debate and traces how far science has come in solving this great riddle. He investigates the so-called 10,000-hour rule to uncover whether rigorous and consistent practice from a young age is the only route to athletic excellence. Along the way, Epstein dispels many of our perceptions about why top athletes excel. He shows why some skills that we assume are innate, like the bullet-fast reactions of a baseball or cricket batter, are not, 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 reporting from below the equator and 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 athleticism.
Publisher: New York, New York :, Current,, [2013]
ISBN: 1591845114
9781591845119
Characteristics: xiv, 338 pages ; 24 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

Sep 26, 2013
  • ksoles rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Why, out of the 81 men who have run 100 meters in less than ten seconds, are 80 of them black? Why has a sub-Saharan African never won an Olympic weight lifting medal? And, more abstractly, what makes a great athlete?

In "The Sports Gene," Sports Illustrated senior writer Epstein begins with Malcolm Gladwell’s premise from "Outliers" (2008): success owes less to inherited ability and more to intense practice (the famous 10,000 hours) and circumstance. In lucid and accessible prose, he proceeds to apply Gladwell’s approach to athletic prowess, citing an array of scientific studies and entertaining anecdotes.

Epstein definitively concludes that "nature" contribute more to great performance than does "nurture." High jumpers benefit if born with a longer, stiffer Achilles tendon. Africans have longer legs and slimmer hips, allowing them to run faster. Caucasians are stockier, with thicker, stronger upper bodies. Of course, hours of dedicated practice help but even the will to train obsessively stems from inherited character traits.

The book provides a sometimes-overwhelming barrage of studies proving that hundreds of sports genes exist though researchers still don't understand their interactions. But ultimately, "The Sports Gene" intrigues and engages with its exploration of great athletic achievements.

Summary

Add a Summary

The Sports Gene
The Sports Gene by David Epstein is nothing but a master piece of thousands of hours’ worth of research. David Epstein is a senior writer for sports illustrated and a former college runner who tries to come to grips with what is truly, the Sports Gene. Epstein theorizes that “nature as well as nurture” are important ingredients for athletic achievement. Personally, I would give this text a good 7 out of 10. It’s definitely an above average read but after reading the text I realized the extreme diction within the text that might not translate well into younger people. This text is probably catered towards a more matured audience with a more mature vocabulary. Without the understanding of some of the diction used in the novel, it’s hard to grasp the books’ complete contents.
Epstein spends a lengthy portion of the novel explaining something that is normally impossible to explain in words. This unexplainable theory being the “sports gene”. David Epstein goes into detail on where the ‘sports gene’ comes from, how to obtain it, and how it enhances professional athlete’s ability to excel. Epstein combines storytelling and facts to not only bring his point across but also excite readers. What Epstein also does a great job of grasp the common knowledge and opinions of readers and explain them in a more thorough fashion. That’s why, even with the diction barrier the book provides, I still consider it a pretty good read for anyone with a decent knowledge of sports or even someone without a decent knowledge of sports. The opportunity to learn and be entertained is what this book brings to the table.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Notices

Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at SMCL

  Loading...

Powered by BiblioCommons.
app14 Version musli Last updated 2015/02/24 14:10