"In high school, I wondered whether the Jamaican Americans who made our track team so successful might carry some special speed gene from their tiny island. In college, I ran against Kenyans, and wondered whether endurance genes might have traveled with them from East Africa. At the same time, I began to notice that a training group on my team could consist of five men who run next to one another, stride for stride, day after day, and nonetheless turn out five entirely different runners. How could this be?"
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.
©2013 David Epstein (P)2013 Gildan Media LLC
"Step by surprising step, David Epstein takes our hand, grips our mind, and leads us deeper and deeper into the fascinating jungle of sports and genetics... until we finally begin to see the miracle we've been watching in our stadiums and on our TV screens all our lives.” (Gary Smith, Sports Illustrated writer and four-time National Magazine Award winner)
Goes deep into facts and stories of athletes and also provides great details of research as to a possible "why" athletes were successful or could be. Leaves you thinking that you could be an outlier that can be a super athlete in the right fit sport.
really interesting content but the performance was awful - epstein's accents were borderline offensive! i wish id read this myself rather than listened.
The Sports Gene is organized, scientific, and engaging. It artfully avoids the traps of racism by sticking to the facts and biology of extreme sports and related genetic studies.
Unfortunately, the narrator used voices to imitate various scientists and characters from other countries that he presumed were average affected accents. This was so peculiar as to be distracting. He would have been better off to have read the book straight and spent more time on the rhythm and melody of his tone.
Great for everyone mildly interested in sports.
The writing was superb, the narration equally as good.
In the end it is both nurture and nature that accounts for world class top athletic performance, but the trip to this conclusion is worth the hours of listening.
A must read for any member of the human race curious about the capabilities and limitations of our bodies and minds.
I really enjoyed the content but wished that the narrator would stop using accents what quoting. Any accent that wasn't North American was cringe worthy.
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