The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

Rating: Recommended with reservations

I was hoping this book would have some insight as to how to increase myelination, as the blurb talked about how research into that was revolutionizing our understanding of how talent is developed. I was hoping for something practical to help my strength training. No luck! This book was written by someone not too familiar with brain science who trots out myelin every so often for the Wow! Science! factor. Invoking it does not add anything to his book, and furthermore, one would get the impression that myelin is The Factor in developing skill but I know there are also other essential mechanisms.

If you ignore the myelin junk it is a fairly interesting book. The author investigates towns and nations that have produced an extraordinary amount of talent in some particular field for common causes to offer suggestions for someone trying to create their own hotspot. If you want the brain stuff, get a book on neuroscience for your level.

An incomplete, unordered list:
A spark: something that gets kids interested in the activity. This could be a coach/teacher who is enthusiastic about it and their pupils or a hometown hero who inspired all the kids back home with their success.
A facility that is shabby yet functional and has a lot of reminders of glory that can be achieved-such as pictures/trophies of that hometown  hero.
Lots of chances to practice the critical part of the skill. For a pianist going over difficult passages as much as possible and not wasting time on other passages. For soccer players in Brazil a compact faster paced version of soccer commonly played by children means they have much more time handling the ball, than kids who grow up playing the regular version who haft to spend a lot of time moving the ball up the field or waiting for the ball to come to them to get to the ball control-improvisation part. So, lots of repetition, and quality of that repetition to improve a skill.
And more stuff, but these are the ones that came to mind. If interested buy the book, or visit the website.

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