"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)
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.
fascinating look at the influences of nature and nurture in athletics. Epstein's writing is fluid and compelling. his reading pace was perfect except for his occasional attempts to mimic accents, which were usually not quite right, but I liked that he tried. I only wish there were more.
Extremely interesting overview and in depth examination of sports performance excellence. Fascinating analysis, told through the stories of athletes and scientists, of what it takes to be the best swimmer, marathon runner, baseball hitter, etc.
Born in Ohio, lived in California, Alaska, and now Texas
A really well written book that explains the influence of genetics, training, and adaption on athletic performance. I'm a marathon runner and am really into exercise physiology, but even if you're not, I think you'll find the author's explanations interesting, informative, and easy to understand.
Very interesting book. The narrator thought it was a good idea to try and do impressions throughout the entire read, which was comical to the point of being irritating. I made it through.
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