The Sports Gene

The Sports Gene

[inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance]

Audiobook CD - 2013
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Explores the roles of both genetics and training in athletic success, arguing that both are equally necessary components of athletic achievement while considering such topics as race, gender, and genetic testing.
What makes an athlete a superstar? We tend to assume they are either genetic freaks, put on Earth to dominate a particular sport, or they are normal people who by sheer force of will and obsessive training overcame their innate biology. But the truth is far messier than a simple dichotomy between nature and nurture. David Epstein shows why it is highly unlikely that so-called genetic freaks are singularly endowed with superior athletic prowess and just as unlikely that individuals with few or none of the requisite athletic genes will be great, no matter how hard they work. In short, the nature means little without the nurture and vice versa. Epstein also explores some controversial questions, such as: Are black athletes genetically predetermined to dominate both sprinting and distance running? Can we test the genes of children to determine if they will be top athletes? Are men and women programmed to practice in different ways? Epstein combines groundbreaking genetics research with an engaging narrative approach.
Publisher: [Ashland, Or.] : Blackstone Audio, Inc., [2013], ℗2013
ISBN: 9781469027340
1469027348
Branch Call Number: 6.1371 Ep
Characteristics: 9 audio disc (10 hr., 30 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in

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danielestes
Oct 06, 2014

Does elite athletic talent arise from nature or nurture? That's the central question of The Sports Gene by David Epstein. The answer seems to be both. Upon closer inspection, though, it depends on the sport in question. In some instances, the 10,000 hours of practice rule produces competitive results. In others, it's genetics all the way no matter how hard you train. And neither does inherent talent vs effort tell the whole story. In a few examples, the common denominator of elite performance was the culture the athlete grew up in.

It isn't about athletics all the time either. I doubt that book would have been nearly as compelling. The Sports Gene covers ground from a multitude of standpoints: Athletics, biology, genetics and anthropology. And it was the anthropological angle that interested me the most. Before the advent of modern training techniques, those that did well usually arose from a society's working class. They had very little to lose, and everything to gain by being extraordinary.

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