Question and Answer

Daniel Coyle
What’s The Talent Code about?
It’s about a new way of getting really good at sports, art, music, and anything else.

How can it be so broad?

Because it has to do with our brains – and a newly discovered mechanism through which they acquire skill.

What started you going on the book?

Two things collided. The first was that I was writing an article about talent hotbeds and I came across mention of a Russian tennis club called Spartak that had produced more top-20 women players than the entire United States-and they’d done it on one indoor court.

We’ve all heard of these kinds of magical places-it’s such a cliché that we nearly take them for granted. But the sheer scale of Spartak’s accomplishment really struck me: a single club, with one crummy indoor court, in a freezing climate had outdone a wealthy nation of 300 million. It got me looking in other places – and sure enough, every talent had its own version of Spartak-a tiny island that, against all odds, produced gigantic amounts of talent.

Around the same time I came across a footnote in The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance. It discussed a brain study of top piano players, which connected increased practice and skill with a brain substance called myelin. I called up a neurologist, who described myelin as an “epiphany;” the next one I called spoke of myelin as a revolution. (For more on how myelin works, go here.)

Those two things-the existence of these remarkable hotbeds and this myelin-skill revolution-combined into a question: is there some hidden link that the hotbeds have unlocked?

What was the biggest surprise in your research?

How amazingly similar the talent hotbeds are. I’d go to visit a hotbed-let’s say to Brazil to visit at a soccer hotbed. Then I’d fly thousands of miles to Meadowmount, a legendary classical music academy in the Adirondacks-a place that on the surface couldn’t be more different. And yet I’d experience all kinds of weird Twilight Zone similarities. The coaches would speak with the same kind of rhythm, give the same kinds of instructions, and look at their students with the same kind of gaze. The practices would feature similar methods, like slowing things down to unbelievably slow speeds, or compressing the practice into a tiny space and  speeding it up. And here’s a weird one: many of the coaches I met, from Moscow to the Caribbean to California, drove muscle cars. Big, dark, turbocharged Mustangs and BMWs. Maybe there’s something about coaching that makes you want to go fast.

Who was the most fascinating person you met in your travels to the hotbeds?

So many to choose from, but it might be Linda Septien, a fiftysomething former opera singer who runs a pop-singing school in Dallas. Septien is the master coach behind Jessica Simpson, Demi Lovato, Ryan Cabrera, and several Idol finalists. But it wasn’t merely star power that made Septien interesting. In addition to her uncanny ability to instantly vocalize any style of music (from bel canto to hip hop to country), her natural exuberance (her house had burned down recently, she cheerily informed me, but it was no big deal), she also drove like a NASCAR racer , a fact underappreciated by the Dallas troopers who ticketed her for speeding 17 times last year. “Life’s short,” Septien told me. “What am I waiting for?”

How has this research affected the way you see top performers?

Now I pay a lot more attention to the details of their practice habits. Take the baseball player Manny Ramirez, for instance. He’s famously spacey, and because of that he gets portrayed as some kind of idiot savant – a natural-born hitter, as the saying goes. But when you dig deeper: it turns out Ramirez is an obsessive practicer-on a hitting tee, in the cage, every day, sometimes for hours. In fact, he goes a little nuts if he doesn’t get to take his swings.

This pattern – the person who secretly practices harder than anybody else- would describe any number of top performers. Frank Sinatra (who was as dedicated to rehearsals as he was to Scotch), the pianist virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz (who said if he skips one day of practice, he notices; two days, his wife notices; three days, and the world notices), and Tiger Woods (whose daily practice schedule includes three hours at the range, two and a half hours of putting and chipping, and a full18 holes). They’re all the same story: skill circuits grown and maintained through deep practice.

What about genes?

They matter, but not nearly as much as we think. Scientists have sequenced the human genome, but they can’t locate the genes for musical talent. Or math. Or art. Or sports. Mostly because genes don’t work that way.

To put it in construction terms, genes are the blueprint for our bodies. But the skill circuits that allow those bodies to perform complex skills are built through deep practice, and all the things that drive it (ignition, coaching).

How have you integrated these ideas into your own life?

You mean besides learning incredibly useless golf tricks? Mostly I’ve used them to try to keep up with my wife, Jen, who started playing hockey a few years back (we sometimes play against each other in a Saturday night co-ed  game). When I’m learning new songs on the guitar, I copy a technique I saw at Meadowmout: I break up the song into chunks, then reconstruct it, which helps me learn it far more quickly. I also applied some of the ideas to the Little League team I coach and they worked really well. One parent said it was “like a miracle.” (I don’t know about that, but we did come within a few pitches of going to the state tournament.)

Mostly, though, I feel the change as a parent. I hope this doesn’t sound corny, but knowing about this stuff makes parenting a lot more pleasant because it narrows your focus to a few key things. Knowing how motivation works, I don’t worry that my kids have some hidden untapped genius for something or other-instead, I keep an eye out for signs that they’re ignited. Knowing how deep practice works, I don’t have to judge success by the time they spend at the piano-instead, I keep an eye out for those moments when they go into deep practice and praise them for that. Like one psychologist told me, all of parenting can be distilled to two things: pay attention to what your kids stare at, and praise them for their effort.

Though I should point out, these new ideas do occasionally create some blowback. Our dishwasher broke the other day and my eight-year-old daughter asked when I was going to fix it. I started to explain I didn’t knowhow and she cut me off: “You’d better get more myelin, Daddy.”

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34 Responses to “Question and Answer”

  1. Maricarmen says:


    How about learning a new language? Can you give some exemples?



  2. Jim says:

    I’ve been searching for weeks to find information to develop drills or find curacao drills or other information to improve my baseball coaching.

    The book was a nice read, but if I can’t implement, it’s frustrating me.

    thanks if anyone has any good info.


  3. Matt Hermann says:

    I just watched the taped lecture you gave to Farmers in the Summer. Fantastic! You are a wonderful speaker and I am ordering your books. I am not a fan of Lance Armstrong, mostly because of his ego and personality. I know a few very successfull atheletes, actors and business people and I feel the truly successfull people are well rounded. Your comment on Michael Jordon’s Hall of Fame speach hit a cord with me on this issue. Mayby you could research this area, why some people are successfull in such a narrow area. Thank you for the books and lecture.

  4. Sk says:

    I came across your most recent book and I am amazed…. its as if the universe knew I needed this…. and sent it my way….
    I really need some help and advice and I am not sure if I can get this from you or your team here or elsewhere?

    A classic case i guess. My eldest is 10 and second one is 7. Ever since they were two I have enrolled them in extra classes be it chess, sports, tennis, music …… but nothing seems to be working…. I have given it my all by paying for all kinds of lessons but there is just no spark and am left congratulating all other parents and children and thats about it….. I need to find out what I am doing wrong…….Who can I speak to?

  5. Hello Daniel

    I am a big fan of your work since i read about the talent code in “movement” of Gray Cook. I use your knowledge and advice every day in my work as a physical therapist and athletic trainer. I just ordered the little book of talent and i have a question and comment about the hard skill/soft skill differences. Where on this site is the best place to discuss this?

    Thank you in advance,
    Rogier Ummels,
    The Netherlands

  6. Simon says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Recently read your Little Book of Talent which sent me on to the bigger book and know reading Lance Armstrong: Tour De Force which is a hilarious read (I especially love the whoof-shrug and Hoa-noa chapters); it’s also one of the most enjoyable pieces of sports writing i’ve read since reading Angry White Pyjamas (which also goes into deep practice through Aikido – the dojo Twigger learns in reminds me of Spartak’s facilities, so you may want to check out as very insightful).

    Can’t wait to read The Secret Race now.

  7. djcoyle says:

    Thanks very much, Simon — I really appreciate your kind words. (Though, if I were a Belgian soigneur, I’d just give a whoof-shrug!) Lemme know what you think of TSR. Best, Dan

  8. Brian says:


    You probably read the NYT (below) on competition. I liked Dr. David Johnson’s suggestion that we take the emphasis off of winning and focus on “mastering.”. Also, Erik van Dillen’s note that great tennis players “relish the challenge of solving a difficult problem.”
    Seems like these resonate with your continued excellent research.
    Regards from a fellow Cleveland native.

    The Competing Views on Competition

    Caroline Yang for The New York Times

    John Tauer, a psychology professor at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minn., with his sons, Jack, 10, and Adam, 7.


    Published: October 8, 2012


    JUST before bedtime on a recent night, two toddlers marched reluctantly to the bathroom to brush their teeth. And on the way, my four-year-old son told his little sister: “I’m going to win. I’m going to win!”

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    Anthony Freda

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    Annie Tritt for The New York Times

    Tennis champion Erik van Dillen, left, on the court with Hague, 27, his son.

    At toothbrushing.

    I have one of those, a child with an apparent competitive streak. When Milo and I play baseball, he tells me, “I’ll be the Yankees and you can be a team that they beat.”

    A recent article in this newspaper detailed President Obama’s own deep-seated desire to win. At a farewell gathering with a group of interns, the competitor-in-chief gave them some life advice: “When you all have kids, it’s important to let them win,” he said. Then he added, with a smile, “Until they’re a year old” — at which point you can start winning again.

    Is he right, even in jest? Is it better to teach children tough life lessons, like the thrill of victory is sweeter if you have known the agony of defeat? Or is it better simply to let a child win, and allow victory to be part of the fun? Is there a strategy that promotes happiness and performance, even if you’re only playing Candyland?

    “The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that competition is destructive, particularly, but not exclusively, for children,” said Alfie Kohn, an author and speaker whose views on the negative aspects of competition are widely followed in the field of parenting. “It’s a toxic way to raise children.”

    He added, “The absence of competition seems to be a prerequisite for excellence in most endeavors, contrary to received wisdom.”

    Mr. Kohn is, not surprisingly, a lightning rod. It’s hard to reconcile his views with the realities of modern life, from presidential races to Olympic ones, where there are only three medal winners, and some stand taller than others. It would seem to be a parent’s job to prepare children for the reality of scarce resources and rewards.

    Many scholars agree that competition is necessary, ingrained and essential. Studies have shown that under certain conditions, competition can improve performance and happiness. People are better off when they are trying to win (rather than trying not to lose), and when they are confident. It also helps if the stakes are very low and the motivation is not just to win, but to achieve mastery.

    But I was surprised by the extent to which many researchers agree with aspects of Mr. Kohn’s view that rough-and-tumble competition, which I have always taken for granted as a fact of modern life, can promote anxiety, damage self-esteem and performance, and lead to disengagement.

    An analysis to be published in an upcoming issue of the Psychological Bulletin, a journal of the American Psychological Association, looks at hundreds of research papers on the subject of competition and performance and finds no clear connection between the two. Sometimes, it seems, competition enhances performance, but equally often it does not.

    SO how to resolve these competing views on competition? I set out for an answer, with the added motivation of finding some advice on how to handle my I-will-crush-you-at-toothbrushing son.

    The good news is that there is a real chance for parents to start with a blank slate when it comes to defining competition for children, said David Shields, an assistant professor of educational psychology at St. Louis Community College and the founder of, which focuses on “reclaiming competition for excellence, ethics and enjoyment.”

    “Kids have a shallow understanding of competition,” Dr. Shields said. “They know the word ‘win’ is used out there.”

    In other words, my son apparently is not thinking deeply about what he is saying when he tells me he wants to beat me. So Dr. Shields’s first piece of advice for me was: “Let me him work through his fantasy. There’s no problem with that.”

    What’s the parenting lesson? Try to change the nature of the games you play with your children, Dr. Shields and others said, to emphasize cooperation. I gave it a shot.

    Milo and I were standing in the living room when I proposed my plan: Let’s play catch and try to count how many times we can toss the ball back and forth.

    “Yeah,” Milo said, excitedly. He paused. “I’ll catch more than you.”

    I couldn’t help but laugh. I’m not worried he’s going to become one of those jerks, the guys who throw elbows during pickup basketball games and suck the air out of every conversation because they approach everything as a power struggle.

    I also hear plenty of Milo’s friends, especially the firstborns, talk about winning, with the sense that it’s good but without any real understanding of what it means or why.

    I’ve already done my part to promote the value of competition, almost completely unconsciously. I’ll talk about whether the San Francisco Giants just won their game. He knows that someone is going to be elected president and someone else is not. He hears me talk about my tennis matches, and not just whether I’ve played well.

    But even researchers who aren’t big fans of battle metaphors that highlight the zero-sum nature of some forms of competition acknowledge that competition is an inescapable part of life.

    John Tauer is a psychology professor at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minn., where he studies competition and coaches the men’s basketball team. “When I hear solutions that say let’s eliminate competition,” Mr. Tauer said, “that’s not realistic.”

    “Not everybody gets to be a doctor,” he added, by way of example. “You don’t get away from competition unless you go to a system where everybody gets to do what they want whenever they want.”

    In a series of studies over a five-year period, he looked at how children ages 9 to 14 performed shooting free throws in three situations: when one player was pitted against another (direct competition); when two players worked together to get the highest combined score (cooperation); and when two players joined forces to try to score more than another pair (cooperation combined with competition).

    The combination of cooperation and competition resulted in greater satisfaction and often in higher scores as well. “It’s as consistent of a finding as we’ve had,” Dr. Tauer said. “Kids prefer the combination of competition and cooperation. It’s a significant increase in enjoyment.”

    But what about when a child is playing on his own, or with his sister, or with a few others?

    Dr. Tauer had some concrete advice: Even more basic than the need to win, he told me, is the need to feel good and to have an accurate worldview. So if I let Milo win all the time, he might initially feel good, but at some point he’s going to develop a sense that something is not right. He needs to be allowed to lose, ideally in a situation where he has a partner, and where cooperation and mastery are part of the scenario.

    “One of the biggest culprits in psychology is wanting kids to feel good all the time,” Dr. Tauer said. “Trying to avoid competition is making it bigger than it needs to be.”

    Dr. Tauer, it turns out, was speaking not just as a researcher and coach, but as a parent of two boys, ages 7 and 10, with very different competitive temperaments. One isn’t much into competition, he said, and the other just doesn’t work as hard unless something is on the line. As a child, Dr. Tauer fell somewhere in between, he said, interested in mastering skills but still upset if his team lost.

    NEXT, I sought the advice of a tennis champion, Erik van Dillen, who as a teenager in the late 1960s was the best player in the country. He went on to win the Davis Cup in 1972, as Stan Smith’s doubles partner, and beat a young John McEnroe at Wimbledon. He is also a father of five and someone who thinks a lot about parenting, as I’ve come to know the last few years as his friend and occasional tennis partner.

    The emphasis on competition, he told me, somewhat misses the point — even at the level of champions. The greatest players he has known and played against, he said, are problem solvers. When they play against other greats, they relish the challenge of solving a difficult problem. Winning or losing is simply a measure of whether or not they have solved the problem.

    He has watched them carry those same problem-solving skills into the rest of their lives, he said, and he hasn’t noticed any diminished sense of self-esteem when they lose or any heightened sense of self when they win.

    In that spirit, Mr. van Dillen gave his children the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling, which urges the maturing soul to regard both triumph and disaster as “impostors.”

    To hear him and Dr. Tauer tell it, the problem might be the very questions I started out with: How often should I let Milo win? How often should I allow him to lose?

    Maybe the more relevant question is, what does it mean to win or lose? The answer: On most days, a lot less than the words have come to imply on TV. So maybe what I ought to be doing is taking the weight out of those words and diminishing their importance while accepting them as a fact of life.

    David Johnson, a professor emeritus of educational psychology at the University of Minnesota, who has done pioneering work on the conditions that make competition enjoyable and enhance performance, suggested one way to change the culture around winning: Have Milo encourage other children. Urge him to recognize excellence and effort in others and to give shout-outs when he sees them.

    That way, Dr. Johnson said, he’ll be fostering a spirit of cooperation even in the midst of competition. And when he loses, as he inevitably will, he will receive encouragement in return. By taking the emphasis off winning and putting it on mastery, Dr. Johnson said, the individual and the team — classroom, country, world — will grow in the process.

    “The creativity, the innovation, the quality of product all goes up as you nurture talents and performance of others,” he said.

    This was heady stuff for a parent trying to teach a child to put competition in its proper perspective, especially in a culture that often does not.

    “It’s a lot of responsibility,” he agreed, laughing.

    I tried it out. The next time Milo and I played ball, this time with two of his friends, I encouraged him to praise their efforts and skills. His first time up, Milo whacked one. Then his buddy did, too.

    “Good one,” Milo yelled.

    It caught on. A few days later, we were going to play ball again, this time with his little sister. I reminded Milo to encourage her for her effort and her good work.

    “I know,” he said, as we unpacked the bat.

    His sister shouted: “I’m going first!”

    A version of this article appeared in print on October 11, 2012, on page D1 of the New York edition with the headline: The Competing Views on Competition.

  9. djcoyle says:

    Me too. But I struggle with it. Because, at least in my own life, I find that putting in big efforts (esp when you’re a kid) is sometimes fueled by a lot of hotter emotions — i.e. competition — rather than the cooler notion of mastery.

  10. Brian says:

    Felix Baumgarten began he quest for “mastery” of the sky when he was 4 years old:

  11. Boris says:

    I recently came across your book “The Little Book Talent”, and I was blown away. I have only read part of the book and I look forward to finishing. On the points that I have read so far, my life experience confirms your assertions I was given the labels “talented” and “good” (behavior) almost from birth. Your assertion of not taking risk hit the center of the bullseye. I feel that these two labels contributed to my delayed career pursuits (I’m 44). I did not want to be perceived as not being talented or a good person so I would avoid those things that I felt had a high failure potential. Being a musician (saxophonist), I was reminded of Charlie Parker. You talked about how greatness is more likely to come from the person who fails early. Charlie Parker is now considered a musical genius, but I read some information that he was at one point considered the worst musician in his school. In a live interview he talked about practicing 12+ hours a day over a three year period. This seems fanciful, but if you observe his unparalleled technique or hear him play there seems to be a great deal of validity to his statement.

  12. Sundar says:


    Here is tim ferris talk on accelerated learning technique, he is challenging on 10000 hours for skill acquisition.

    I would like to hear from your comment on this.
    Do we need to follow right technique to achieve less than 10k hrs?

  13. Dan says:

    Do you discuss the Bernoulli brothers, the famous family of mathematicians that appeared in 17th and 18th century Europe in any of your books?

    If not, what are your thoughts on them?

  14. John Post, MD says:

    Dan – I wrote to you following “Lance Armstrong’s War” and subsequently purchased “Hardball” and “The Talent Code.” I’m only about 40 pages into “The Secret Race.” I’m certain that you’ve already thought about the next LA book, when he decides to open up and bare his soul as seems to the 21st century way.

    When you do (we both hope) my suggestion would be that, unlike “Secret,” the text would be a better read if it were in your prose rather than the cyclists spoken word. I usually read SI cover to cover, except the hockey articles, not because I follow the people who’ve scored 100 points in a basketball game or the tribulations of those who’ve pitched a perfect game. I read it because of the way it’s written. Tom Verducci, Michael Bamberger, L. Jon Wertheim, you name ’em. You have that style, that ability, that gift. I’m hoping in your next book you use it…. to the reader’s delight.


    John Post

    PS Our 19 year old daughter spent 45 days backpacking in AK last summer and loved it. She wears her Anaktuvik Pass t-shirt with pride.

  15. Neal Cadorette says:


    I loved your book Talent Code so much that I gave it to my 12 year old daughter to read. She loved it more than I did! My daughter’s pitch softball and I believe strongly that practice is the key to success. My daughter’s have passed up girls perceived to be more talented because they spend the extra time practicing and they practice the techniques that matter in a game. I am trying to attract a few more girls to my 10U travel softball team. What info or slogans would you use on a flyer to attract them. Thanks


  16. Robert says:

    I couldn’t finish your book The Talent Code. You are so obsessed with Charles Darwin I thought I was going to throw up. Mentioning him 4 times in the first 40 pages alone.

    How can anyone believe anything you write when your Theory of Evolution is not
    even scientific.

    For the record, the Cro-Magnon man mentioned on page 68 as fact IS A FICTIONAL CHARACTER!

    Thank you!

  17. Rick says:

    I did enjoy your book The Talent Code. As these talents and subsequent skills are acknowledged formally through competitions and awards, are there talent areas that refined but not formally acknowledged? The first example that comes to mind are kids in the “hot beds” of the inner cities: what talents do they develop?


  18. Drew says:

    What a great book, Talent Code! The article How to stop being allergic to practice and how it relates to the goal of 10,000 hours of practice; and the 100 days of practice with the violin diagram; to get to the 10,000 hours is the minimum hours of practice per day 1hr? I like the idea of using the diagram for the practice, should the numbers be tracked on the same sheet?

  19. Harry Pearle says:

    Dan, Has anyone been pushing the ideas of the Talent Code was failing schools? Can you provide references?

    I think part of the problem is differentiating TEACHING from COACHING. The teacher goes through material step x step. The coach, on the other hand, FOCUSES on a few steps, over and over, that need attention.

    In the early grades teachers are more like coaches, but in the higher grades, coaching declines. So, students who lack coaching lose out.

    Hope to hear from you, Dan. THANKS Harry

  20. MJ. Bae says:

    I couldn’t find out the ‘’ you mentioned on the book.
    Where can i find it?

  21. djcoyle says:

    Hi M.J.- unfortunately, it’s not available. Thanks, Dan

  22. John Pinkman says:

    October 24, 2013

    I have been a baseball coach for 30 years; a teaching professional in Northern Virginia with a small but successful Academy for the past 25. In that time we have sent over 225 players to college baseball. During that time we, my two sons and I, have always sought to be a better teachers, not necessarily better competitors.

    We have conducted thousands of interviews with players, parents and coaches. In that process we all have learned at the Academy what parents desire from our instruction. Mostly they value an educator disguised as a coach. They really want their child to experience all of the benefits of athletics, including athletic values. They come to us after several unsuccessful attempts to find that elsewhere.

    As you may know from your own experience the actual mechanical fundamentals of baseball have and continue to change. This is primarily due to the evolution of bio mechanical research, teaching technologies, motion capture and analysis. There has been little progress however in the art of teaching.

    During those years we have been constant learners. When I personally felt the need the need to learn something I sought to find the best person in the country. It’s always been my experienced that those people are incredibly open to uplifting others with a similar and genuine passion. As the years passed those people became very close friends.

    I just finished reading “The Talent Code” and “The Little Book of Talent.” Check that I actually listen to them on audiobooks. I’m not very good reader(ADD) and have difficulty maintaining focus and retaining the written information. But I have found that listening to books ignites other ideas and in your case I followed up by buying several copies of the both books for further study and assistance in teaching. The reason that I was so emotionally moved by your work was two fold. About 50% of the book validated things that I’ve been doing for many years and perhaps more importantly there were subjects and concepts that I never had heard of before.

    Please do not feel it is necessary to post this letter it is actually a request from me to you. I began this communication process by contacting your speaking agency. As I expected they were of no help because basically there was no money in it for them or you. Completely understandable.

    Okay enough with the introduction and preface. For many years at the American Baseball Coaches Association annual convention I conduct a national award ceremony for pitching coaches and a discussion session called the Hot Stove. Out of the 4000 annual attendees we usually get 300 to 400 of committed learners to that after hours session. This year it is in Dallas; Jan 2-5. The Hot Stove is on Saturday evening.

    For many years Vanderbilt’s pitching coach, Derek Johnson, and I have collaborated on the discussion group topics. Over a year ago “DJ” moved on to become the Chicago Cubs director of pitching development. Being ignited by your books I have decided to lead a discussion group this year involving all of the Hot Stove session coaches on the theme of improving instructor skill, beginning with the concepts of myelin and generating discussion about deep and intentional practice. (Been working on myelin analogies using the candy called Good and Plenty, Broccoli and pussy willows). As you may have experienced from your own coaching, the vast majority of baseball coaches, even advanced and elite coaches, regretfully believe that simply practicing leads to improvement. It’s been my experience that they also believe that leadership skill is obtained through osmosis while playing.

    I’m writing this letter to thank you for your work. I also wanted to know if you had any ideas or materials that might help me in the January presentation. It may be far-fetched knowing that you live in Cleveland and Alaska but if you have never been to an ABCA convention it might be of interest to you to your baseball coaching “career.” (Unless you have moved on now that your kids are older). So you’re invited.

    All of us, including my two sons who are now extremely good teaching coaches, posses a never ending desire to learn and to become better instructors. There have been several breakthrough moments in my teaching career going back to 1982. For at least five years however I have felt a lack of inspiration. Your work has ignited a new drive that I wIl incorporate into our Academy. Soon we will require all parents of new students to read “The Talent Code.” It is so very important to enroll the parents of students early on and engage them in what we call assistant coaching. As we have done in the past with Harvey Dorfman’s, “The Mental ABC’s of Pitching,” we will require students to read “The Little Book of Talent.”

    For many years close friends Tom House, Mike Epstein, Dr. Ken Ravizza, and Dr. Tom Hanson told me about complaints from their wives about the cases of unsold books in their garage. So I contact them first before buying large quantities. I was wondering if you had the same complaints in your house? I know how little money you get from publishing each book and would like to buy directly from you if that is possible.

    Thanks for your consideration and your invaluable contribution of content to our profession.

    John Pinkman

    2188 Golf Course Dr
    Reston, VA 20191

  23. O Sadeh says:


    I was wondering what you feel about specialization of activity. If we believe that good old fashion training, time and hard work are the key to learning then do you feel specialization is something positive?


  24. Mike Tully says:

    Hi, Dan!

    The stuff on this site is incredible. So is the book “The Talent Code.”

    John Kessel referred me to you. Among other things, I’m hawking a book. But I would also like to ask you a question about The Talent Code. Wondering if we could chat by email.

    Best regards,
    Mike Tully

  25. djcoyle says:

    Hi Mike, Any friend of Kessel’ is a friend of mine! Happy to chat — you can email me at

  26. julie says:

    Dear Mr. Coyle,

    Through Duke University’s online Eng. Comp. class – I learned of your book and think it has great merit. The advice section is really practical and inspiring. This is where I find most useful advice – inspiring and practical. Thank you.

    I would like to disagree with you that only the brain is important. Minimally, it is pretty much accepted (physiololgy of neuropeptides) that the belly and the heart produce many neuro chemicals affecting the brain. Also, the nervous system is not just the brain. Muscles are not passive receptacles. There is a book called The Body has a Mind of its own that discusses the intelligence of the body.

    There is a great deal of work in somatic psychology,(Reich, etc) and trauma psychology (Bercelli) where muscles retain memories – in particular the psoas.

    I am guessing that the presentation of the material needs to be simple and can be easily adopted for your readers.

    I would be interested in following your journey further down the road…thank you for an excellent book!


    Julie Finkelstein, Chicago

  27. djcoyle says:

    Hi Julie, I really appreciate your comment — and your advice. I’ll definitely check out the books you recommend. The more we learn, the more complex this whole picture becomes, doesn’t it?

  28. R. Gomez says:

    Good morning Mr. Coyle.

    I am presently going through an online course with Duke University, one assignment we are currently going through is a critical review of the first chapter of your book “The Talent Code” (The Sweet Spot).

    as research, I was wondering if you can tell me if your method of practice (Deep Practice).

    has been adopted by any other sports in the US? if so, what Sport and where? Do you know? whether the USMST that is preparing for the World Cup of Soccer in June has consider or is taking this approach?

    I would very much like to hear from you on these questions.




  29. Jorge Humphreys says:

    Hi Mr Coyle

    Any chance of there being a Spanish translation of The Talent Code?


  30. Hi Mr. Coyle,
    Just came across this book and found to be of interest. I am a Coach/Mentor for my organization. Do you think this book speaks to Executives, Chiefs and Supervisors? What are your thoughts on recommending the book for new millenials that are just entering the work force? Thanks for your research on the matter. Will continue looking for your work.

  31. Lauren says:

    I’ve been reading The Little Book of Talent and I was wondering how you would apply engraving to writing? So many lessons in the book and in other resources about deliberate practice are geared towards the physical, but what about more wholly cerebral tasks?

  32. Ann says:

    Hi! Is the Talent Code published in French?

  33. djcoyle says:

    Hi Ann, It’s not! If it is, I will let you know. Thanks, Dan

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