Customer Reviews for

The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 12 of 13 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2013

    Rather than shying away from complexity, this book embraces it.

    Rather than shying away from complexity, this book embraces it. It seems there is nothing in the 10 years that the human genome has been sequenced that you can't find in this book, but all related to sports. I'm not a huge sports fan, but interested in science books. My wife bought this for me, and I thought I might be bored by the sports tales, but I absolutely couldn't put it down. They adventures of the scientists are as compelling as the pro athletes, and the material is so new and accessible, you can't help but walk away feeling smarter. I highly recommend this, even for non-sports fans.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2013

    This book is an amazing combination of accessibility and complex

    This book is an amazing combination of accessibility and complexity on a fascinating topic that will sustain many great debates and conversations with friends. Even if you are not on for sports/science topics, the writing style makes the subject matter sing and engenders interest. Kudos.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Unless you have no interest in body performance then you should

    Unless you have no interest in body performance then you should read this book. Parents of children in gym class, golfers, bowlers, gun shooters, dog owners, yes dog owners everyone should read it. I could not put it down. I read it in 2 days in spite of shoveling 7 inches of snow and all day football watching. I then bought a copy for my son in law. Fascinating truths/discoveries between the covers. I will give you one spoiler from the book: I learned from the long distance runner genetic studies that the reason I cannot and never could run any length is because I have too large of calf muscles. Lots of good stuff.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2013

    *A full executive summary of this book will be available at newb

    *A full executive summary of this book will be available at newbooksinbrief dot com, on or before Tuesday, August 20, 2013.

    What does it take to become an elite athlete? The intuitive answer for most of us is that it probably takes some lucky genes on the one hand, and a whole heck of a lot of hard work on the other. Specifically, that we may need to be blessed with a particular body type to excel at a particular sport or discipline, (after all, elite marathon runners tend to look far different from elite NFL running backs, who in turn tend to look far different from elite swimmers), but that beyond this it is practice and diligence that paves the way to success. When we look at the science, though--as sports writer David Epstein does in his new book The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance--we find that the story is much more complicated than this. In general terms we find that nature and nurture interact at every step of the way in the development of an elite athlete, and that biology plays far more of a role (and in far more ways) than we may have expected.

    To begin with, when it comes to physiology, we find that biology does indeed have a large role to play in influencing our height and skeletal structure (as we would expect), but that biology also influences physiology in many other ways that are important when it comes to elite sports. For example, we find that people naturally vary widely in all of the following ways: the size of our heart and lungs, and the amount of red blood cells and hemoglobin that pumps through our veins; the specific type of muscle fibers that are most prevalent in our bodies (and the specific number of each); as well as our visual acuity--and again, all of these factors play a significant role in determining just how athletic we will be (and in what sports we will excel).

    Second, when it comes to training, we find that hard work is not all there is to it. For biology not only shapes our physiology, but also how our physiology responds to training (including how much muscle mass and aerobic capacity we are able to build through exercise). The fact is that we naturally vary widely in just how much we respond to exercise (to the point where some of us improve dramatically through exercise, whereas others of us respond hardly at all). And we also respond differently to different training regimens (to the point where a training regime that works for one person may in fact harm another).

    And while we may wish to take credit for just how hard we train, here too biology is found to play a role. For it turns out that we differ widely in just how naturally disposed we are to push ourselves. And over and above this, biology also influences how much we experience pain, such that even among those who experience the same desire to push themselves (both in training and in competition), one may find it much easier to handle the pain involved than the other--which, of course, can have a big impact on results.

    This book is a triumph. I can't imagine it would be possible to cover the topic better than the author has. The science involved is thoroughly researched; the anecdotes are perfectly chosen and add both context and interest (many of them are downright inspirational); and it is all presented in a very clear and thoroughly enjoyable way. Well done Mr. Epstein. A full executive summary of the book will be available at newbooksinbrief dot com, on or before Tuesday, August 20.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2014

    The Sports Gene has transformed my thinking, not just of elite s

    The Sports Gene has transformed my thinking, not just of elite sport, but of the fullness and complexity of human striving. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    Recommended read

    Great and very interesting book for anyone interested in sports, human development or geneaology.
    I loved the stories and learned a lot from reading the book. It seems very well researched and the author approaches the subject from many different angles.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Very informative

    Critical for anyone trying to understand the game of athletics.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2014

    Mind=Blown

    Mind=Blown

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    Nice book

    :D

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 12 of 13 Customer Reviews
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