About The Books

The Talent CodeWhat is the secret of getting really good at something? How do we unlock it?

Journalist and New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle  visited nine of the world’s greatest talent hotbeds — tiny places that produce huge amounts of talent, from a small music camp in upstate New York to an elementary school in California to the baseball fields of the Caribbean.

He found that there’s a pattern common to all of them — certain methods of training, motivation, and coaching. This pattern, which has to do with the fundamental mechanisms through which the brain acquires skill, gives us a new way to think about talent — as well as new tools with which we can unlock our own talents and those of our kids.

The Little Book of Talent is a manual for building a faster brain and a better you. It is an easy-to-use handbook of scientifically proven, field-tested methods to improve skills—your skills, your kids’ skills, your organization’s skills—in sports, music, art, math, and business. The product of five years of reporting from the world’s greatest talent hotbeds and interviews with successful master coaches, it distills the daunting complexity of skill development into 52 clear, concise directives. Whether you’re age 10 or 100, whether you’re on the sports field or the stage, in the classroom or the corner office, this is an essential guide for anyone who ever asked, “How do I get better?”

The Little Book of Talent should be given to every graduate at commencement, every new parent in a delivery room, every executive on the first day of work. It is a guidebook—beautiful in its simplicity and backed by hard science—for nurturing excellence.”—Charles Duhigg, bestselling author of The Power of Habit

“It’s so juvenile to throw around hyperbolic terms such as ‘life-changing,’ but there’s no other way to describe The Little Book of Talent. I was avidly trying new things within the first half hour of reading it and haven’t stopped since. Brilliant. And yes: life-changing.”—Tom Peters, co-author of In Search of Excellence

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45 Responses to “About The Books”

  1. Tony Huber says:

    This book gets rid of many of the myths about innate talent. I have coached many top professional tennis players, include my wife Liezel the current #1 doubles. Everything in the book is true and really makes you reframe your ideas on what it takes to be great.

  2. This truly excellent book breaks ground on many levels. In the domain of extraordinary talent, the book is groundbreaking. I believe myelin plays a similarly major role in establishing our personality is practiced and learned. Intense, focused, emotional experiences are deep practices that train us to be ourselves. A more complete review is on The Secret Brain.

  3. This book was phenomenal. I am sharing it with my peers within the National Speakers Association and telling my newsletter readers to run and buy the book.

    Daniel Henning, Jr. the offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins told my family about the book (he distributed the book to his coaches). I am sharing it with my master mind (owners of multi-million dollar businesses).

    Deep practice is critically important and as you brilliantly shared in your book. Thank you for your work!

  4. Catherine Campbell says:

    Mr. Coyle, I read this book about twenty times. I loved it, and have subscribed to your RSS feed. Thank you so much! Amazing book!

  5. djcoyle says:

    Well, that completely makes my day! Thanks very much. All best, Dan

  6. sparky says:

    I’m a fulltime teacher and have coached at the university level. this book confirmed so many of the ideas/practices that i’ve developed over the last 20 years. This book should be required reading for every coach and teacher out there.

  7. Elaine says:

    I LOVED this book! I have been a professional piano teacher for 20 years – finally, a book that GETS IT! I’m also an attorney, and have five degrees and seven licenses in other professional disciplines. Am I a genius? No way. But my experience is just as Mr. Coyle described and he is the first author I’ve ever read that has put so succinctly what I’ve thought in my head for years – work hard, practice, go deeper, try again. I try to teach this to my students and my kids – learn how to learn, learn how to cope with failure, learn how to cope with success – strive to improve, improve, improve. This scares some people – but start young. Don’t rob kids of their childhood (the “prodigy” story), but don’t fear the struggle and discomfort involved in learning! I have been telling all my music teaching colleagues, friends, and parents about this GEM of a book!!! BRAVO!!!

  8. djcoyle says:

    Hi Elaine,
    Your words completely make my day. Thanks!
    Best, Dan

  9. ann phelan says:

    I am reading this with my colleagues at a private residential boarding school for special needs adults. LOVE the book. Bought it for some friends. Will work with my students to teach them that error/mistakes are ok and NOT failure but to keep trying again and again….well done Daniel Coyle!

  10. Brandon says:

    Great book like everyone has said, but it actually made a huge change in my thinking. Everything is learned; social skills, sports skills, academics skills, it makes the world so much more open. I have two questions for the author.
    1. The idea of greatness is personal correct? People have different levels of ability and greatness? Not everyone can be Federer, if they did the same training as him? Or anyone can anyone be Federer, if they had the same amounts of hours of deep practice?
    2. There are some exceptions to the theory. Some professional athletes have not put in the same amount of hours? Some musician have a better ear for music which changes the learning curve for them? Some people never had a coach and were self taught? Or are these just urban legend?
    3. Last one, some people learn golf skills faster than others and are more coachable. It is just a fact. I take two people with same amount of skill (zero) and one will learn faster? Do they know how to train better or is there talent involved with this scenario?
    They are all basically the same question with a little variation. Let us know what you think.

  11. djcoyle says:

    Hey Brandon, Thanks a lot. And you are putting your finger on the Deepest Question — one that I’m sure I can’t answer fully. But here goes anyway.

    There are basically three truths:
    1) Not all of us can be Michelangelo/Federer/Mozart/etc.

    2) We all share roughly the same path forward.

    3) The brain is very large, and it grows.

    Well, that’s sort of four points, but you get mine. Yes, there appear to be aptitudes — and yes, some people learn at different rates. And if you believe that genes are destiny, then it’s easy to get hypnotized by these early differences Because no matter who you are, you’ve got to put in the time/effort/motivation to get better. It’s the way we’re built.

    “Natural talent” is code for “started earlier and practiced harder.” — I don’t recall where I read that, but there’s some truth in it.

  12. juan2thepaab says:

    Just finished the book. Overall I enjoyed it. Here are some thoughts…

    Something I feel that was not clear in the book was that the statement “once a skill circuit is insulated, you can’t un-insulate it (except through age or disease)” seems to contradict the “Rule Two: Repeat It” section where you explain that myelin is in a “constant cycle of breakdown and repair”, (e.g. “What’s the simplest way to diminish the skills of a superstar talent? Don’t let them practice for a month”). Could you clear this up?

    Secondly, something I am personally curious about that I wish was covered is why development is not always gradual or linear. Sometimes student’s ability can plateau for an amount of time and then suddenly make a giant leap in their progress (from their own point of view, not just others’).

    And lastly, I can’t help but notice the parallels between the book’s concepts and the much talked about parenting beliefs of Amy Chua. For example, “What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work” sounds a lot like “the truth is, when you are starting out, you do not “play” tennis; you struggle and fight and pay attention and slowly get better”– although, Amy pushes it to the extreme by not letting her kids go to the bathroom until they’ve got it perfect, or threatening to deprive them of dinner if they don’t practice.

    That’s my two cents. Thanks for the great book on a very valuable topic!

  13. paulus tri wahyudi says:

    excellent book. thank you, for sharing the information. yudi-Indonesia.

  14. Cynthia says:

    Tiger Woods is an example of this phenomena.

    @juan2thepaab says:
    (e.g. “What’s the simplest way to diminish the skills of a superstar talent? Don’t let them practice for a month”).

  15. JD says:

    Thank you very much for this book! I had no idea what it was called when I was little and learning all the skills I was learning until I finished this book. I had my own HSE once I realized I had mastered 100for100 free throws or dribbling the ball in ways that took yrs of trail and error, mistake after mistake but learning by feel and deep purposeful practice. WOW!! What a feeling to finally understand how and why I could be sooo good at many sports. I had the time and I practiced thousands of hours not because I was so talented..kinda humbling but revealing and attitude changing as well. Thanks

  16. Lee Wong says:

    Your book is so amazing. I have practiced a lot what i have leart from your book. And my basketball skills have been improved amazingly. Your book must be the second version of the book “master your mind, design your destiny”

  17. Danny Lee says:

    I have a system of teaching golf that my dad created some 35 years ago called Gravity Golf. The way we teach the physics and the feelings to individuals is by putting them through series of drills that will make them more sensitive to the improprieties in their swing. Hence producing more Myelin. The research that you have contributed to, it is allowing people to see that the best form of practice is through drills. Drills that allow them to turn on a part of their brain that they weren’t using before. This is just like when they first learned to walk. I would be very interested in hearing what your thoughts are on pursuing an in to golf, that is cohesive to your research. All the best.

    Danny Lee

  18. Aarjit says:

    It has been a sensational pastime reading The Talent Code. Coyle has done a great job in explaining the myraid mysteries of talent and its growth. With the completion of each successive chapter of the book, I experienced a good sensation. It felt like a spontaneous burst of Dopamine, a burly wrap of Myelin, a feeling that you’ve just experienced the secrets of talent and human psychology being uncovered!

  19. Just finished the audible version of the book and found it fascinating and inspiring.

    As the father of three teen kids, it has prompted me to reinforce some of the things I’ve been doing with them, tweak others and dump others.

    As a lifelong learner now aged 57, it has encouraged me to bring more strategy and mindfulness to my own activity learning (piano, samba drumming, tennis, running) as well as to my work. Bearing in mind that large numbers of people are well into middle age and beyond and need to reskill or upskill, I’m wondering what scope there is for adult learners to apply the Talent Code principles.

  20. djcoyle says:

    Hi Stuart, Thanks for sharing that. You ask a great question. The answer brain science gives us is that the essential pathways for getting better never change. It might take longer when you get older, but the core ideas (getting to the edge of ability, reaching, paying attention to mistakes, repeating, attending) never change. Sort of like fitness. You might not make the Olympic team if you’re 50, but if you’re going to get better, you have to train.

  21. Anthony says:

    Hello, Daniel

    The title and tagline of this book caught my immediate attention. By profession, I am a dance instructor and choreographer. I am also a hobbyist musician and the opening story about Clarissa demanded my attention. Though dance was not an inclusive topic in the book, I found that every page shared elements that I have since brought to the classroom (and into my personal music training), and I am now approaching students in various and dynamic ways. This book has helped me to realize that there is more to individual students than what is commonly known, but that it is possible to create a solid formula for training. In no way does it sound easy, but the plethora of information provided in The Talent Code has definitely opened doors for me. This is a book I will return to again and again as a guide. The magic of myelin must be shared with the world!

  22. Morteza says:

    Thank you daniel , u give me such a different life view that i have never experienced . Thanks again , …
    ///// do , mistake , learn /////

  23. trace says:

    hey daniel i was wondering if you think that if you are born with a certain IQ are you can you build it. My daughter has trouble reading at 6 and certain people are trying to tell me that basically how she tested at that age will always be her brain capacity. I have read the talent code and can’t wait for the little book of talent to come out. I just don’t believe what they are telling me. your book says opposite and so does the book mindset. your opinion please after all the research you have done. why do you think people still have such a fixed mindset?

  24. Sean Sacks says:

    I have just completed reading your book “The Talent Code” – I have really enjoyed it especially the way you ended the book with your daughter playing the violin – this touched chord in my heart (excuse the pun) but ultimately we live a while for ourselves but forever in our children
    I will be reading your book again and again – although I am 50 I hope to still build some myelin
    Kind Regards

  25. djcoyle says:

    Hey Sean, Thanks so much for your kind words– I really appreciate them. I wrote that almost four years ago and my daughter’s still playing. Good luck with your own construction project. Best, Dan

  26. Michael Simonyi says:

    Hey Dan, you might be interested to know that Football Federation Australia is referencing The Talent Code and Matt Syed’s “Bounce” in educating coaches of junior footballers here about how “talent” is developed. Having already read your book and had my own lightbulb moment, I was hugely excited when it was referenced heavily at a coaching conference conducted by FFA.

    So, your work may leave a pretty cool legacy – helping develop generations of technically and tactically improved footballers Down Under.


  27. jjosullivan says:

    Hi Dan, just to let you know just heading to town to purchase your book The Talent Code..very interesting comments from other readers and really looking forward to reading now…
    Just a line also letting you know that i have developed a Football Training System called SIMUPLAYER.
    Simuplayer helps in all areas of players technique ie..accuracy,awareness ,balance,control,passing,shooting,concentration,vision, etc.
    I feel that by developing these areas of play it also helps a players mental strength..This revelotionary system can be viewed shortly on http://WWW.SIMUPLAYER.COM.. Look forward to feedback..

    Cheers JJ

  28. Libor says:

    Good day to you sir.
    I encountered some info about your book and decided to buy electronic version. Unfortunately, seems due to geography restrictions I’m not able to do so (I live in Czech Republic). There are other ways to obtain it without paying anything, but I haven’t found one to buy it in fair way. Do you know of any, please?

    Best regards,

  29. djcoyle says:

    Hi Libor, What about an audio version from audible.com? And if you can’t make it work, feel free to get a pirated version — as long as you tell a lot of people about the book! Thanks, Dan

  30. Libor says:

    Thanks for advise Dan,
    Audible way worked.

  31. Konnie says:


    Have you considered creating a children’s picture book about this? I keep wanting to explain to my children about Myelin and the importance of repetition. My words alone are not too inspiring, and my art is even worse. I’d love to be able to put a book in their hands that helps them capture what is going on in their brains as they try to study, practice and learn. Some great photos of their hero’s in deep practice would be awesome, too. I hope you will consider this idea, and I’ll purchase the first book when it is available.

    Thank you!

  32. djcoyle says:

    Hi Konnie, That is a great idea. I’ll definitely consider it, and mention it to my editor. In the meantime, we did make the Little Book of Talent with kids in mind. It doesn’t get into the science, but it’s pretty accessible for kids. Best, Dan

  33. Sam says:

    Hi Dan,
    I was looking to buy one of the books and was just wondering what were the main differences between the two.


  34. Michiko Kobayashi says:

    Is anyone not completely in love with this book?
    I was just made to read part of it, and I really can’t find any new insights in it. To get good at something, you have to practice – you don’t say, Sherlock?
    And yes, there are some more details than that – but nothing your mom didn’t tell you when you were little. I really wonder how this made the best seller lists. Then again, those are pretty bleak places nowadays.

  35. The Talent Code is a life-changing book. When you understand the process to become consistently great at something, your progress will be amazing. Every teacher and music library should own this book.

  36. Charles says:

    Whats the difference between the two books?

  37. […] thinking lots and lots about practice, reading about it in places like Dan Coyle’s Little Book of Talent and this article on deliberate practice and they are shaping how I practice to some degree, […]

  38. Martyn says:

    Hi Dan,

    I purchased this book and thought it was a good read. However I’d like to second an observation another commenter made, which I’ll repeat here –

    “Something I feel that was not clear in the book was that the statement “once a skill circuit is insulated, you can’t un-insulate it (except through age or disease)” seems to contradict the “Rule Two: Repeat It” section where you explain that myelin is in a “constant cycle of breakdown and repair”, (e.g. “What’s the simplest way to diminish the skills of a superstar talent? Don’t let them practice for a month”). Could you clear this up?”

    I really do feel this deserves some attention/clarification as it was my only major niggle in a book that I otherwise thoroughly enjoyed.

    Kind regards

  39. djcoyle says:

    Hi Martyn, Thanks for your question — it’s a very good one, because I definitely should have explained it more clearly.

    Conceptually, it works like this: you cannot *unwind* myelin — that is unreel it. Once it’s there, it’s there.

    But it is also requires inputs (i.e. practice) to stay alive and healthy. In this way, it’s a bit like bone. It never disappears. But, for example, if an astronaut goes into space (that is, gravity stops working on it), the bone loses its strength and becomes fragile. Same with muscles in space, come to think of it, which is why astronauts are so weak on returning to earth. Myelin, like bone, is built to respond to stimulus, and if you remove that stimulus, it “withers” (but never unwinds).

    Does that help?

    Thanks again — I really appreciate your question.

  40. Martyn says:

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for the prompt response, I appreciate the reply and I think the bone analogy is a good one.

    It reconciles a few thoughts I had about how people seem to “never forget” how to swim or ride a bike once the skill has been learned – even after years or decades without practice. The “withering” of myelin would also go some way to explain how skills can go a bit “rusty” over time without disappearing completely.

    I think that would be an interesting topic in itself; the “reawakening” of old skills, and how quickly one can get up to speed after a period of inactivity vs. somebody acquiring it for the first time. Is myelin restored at an accelerated rate, for example?

    I bought “The Talent Code” yesterday and finished the book later that same day, and on the strength of that I think I will definitely be purchasing “The Little Book of Talent” at some point this week.

    Keep up the good work.

  41. natcha says:

    Thank you for this book.I’m Thai and i read this book umm thai ver. It’s very cool and so amazing.
    [sorry for this commented ,i’m don’t have english talent but i will tried LoL ]
    So i waiting for your next book . i hope… #Thaifan

  42. Tim says:

    Hi Dan,

    Heard The Talent Code recommended on Tim Ferriss’ podcast, downloaded the sample portion of the book on iBooks, and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately whenever I try and purchase the whole book, iBooks tells me “This Item Is Currently Being Modified. Please try again later”. Maybe you’re in the process of updating to a new edition or something? I’m buying from the UK iBooks store, if that makes any difference. Anyway hope to be able to get it soon.


    – Tim

  43. djcoyle says:

    Hi Tim, Sorry that is happening! I’ll send a note to the UK publisher. In the meantime, have you tried going through the US iBooks? Or would Amazon work? Thanks for getting in touch. Best, Dan

  44. […] where his time that should be spent educating himself to add to his 10,000 hours to mastering the Talent Code is being wasted. No doubt, the volunteer project is a worthy one, but don’t we all wish we […]

  45. Kelea Quinn says:

    Since 2010, Daniel Coyle has been my coach – he just did not know it 🙂 By reading and re-reading and most of all applying his concepts…I have become a great archer and coach. But the best thing is knowing that tomorrow I will be even better. His coaching continues to help me improve each day. For an athlete – no matter what age, income or geographical situation – the basic hunger to go for it starts inside. If there is no one around for daily help then support your development with The Talent Code and Little Book of Talent – get rid of stale ideas and make goals which ‘shock’ the naysayers. See you in Rio and Tokyo too 😉 Thanks Daniel

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