Book Review & Discussion : Bounce

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Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success

About this event

In this event, you’ll learn

How many hours of work child “prodigy” Mozart already had under his belt before stunning the public

Why most people never make it to the ranks of high performers

The 2 ways in which a fixed mindset will ruin you either way and why you should praise your children for their efforts, not their talent

What happened after a South Korean won the LPGA tour for the first time

3 things that happen when you doubt yourself

When your brain switches into “pay attention mode” and why

About the Author

A two-time Olympian and a graduate of Oxford University, Matthew Syed is a columnist for The Times (London), a commentator for the BBC, and a recipient of the British Press Award for Sports Journalist of the Year, and was named British Sports Feature Writer of the Year by the Sports Journalists' Association.


A book about high achievement and what we can learn about it by studying some of the world’s highest achievers both past and present. Talent isn’t what we think it is. Most examples were from sports, since Syed himself was a table tennis master. His book is divided into two parts. In Part I, Syed really crystalizes the work of other researchers in this field such as Anders Ericsson, Malcolm Gladwell, and Carol Dweck, in order to prove the point that purposeful practice, intrinsic motivation, [and a little luck] create world-class performers. In Part II, he covers subjects of the mind that relate to psychology, performance, and misconceptions, while asking very thought provoking questions.

The Five Big Ideas

“If we believe that attaining excellence hinges on talent, we are likely to give up if we show insufficient early promise”.

“Speed in sport is not based on innate reaction speed, but derived from highly specific practice”.

“[Talent] cannot be taught in a classroom; it is not something you are born with; it must be lived and learned. To put it another way, it emerges through practice”.

“Child prodigies do not have unusual genes; they have unusual upbringings”.

“Purposeful practice is about striving for what is just out of reach and not quite making it; it is about grappling with tasks beyond current limitations and falling short again and again”.

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