Editor’s Note: Last year, David Penn sat down with author Daniel Coyle. Here’s a look back at their conversation. We hope you enjoy it.
Is it possible for ordinary people to become extraordinary performers? In his new best-selling book, The Talent Code,
Daniel Coyle says “yes.”
Citing new research into the way we not only learn skills but become proficient in them, Daniel Coyle shows in his fascinating book how talent hotbeds in places as diverse as the suburbs of Moscow and the playgrounds of Brazil are capable of producing world class performers. Through what he calls “deep practice,” Coyle presents stories of teachers, coaches, athletes, artists and scientists who have discovered that a learning strategy that is (1) focused on error, (2) optimizes every dimension of the process, and (3) encourages an eagerness to operate at the edge of ability can “increase learning velocity tenfold.”
The secret, Coyle reveals, has to do with the way the brain responses to the right kind of practice. Says Coyle, the right kind of practice and targeted effort actually brings about biological adaptations in the brain that are responsible for the “beautiful circuitry” of a Tiger Woods golf swing or a master musician at work.
In this, the first part of our conversation with Daniel Coyle, he shares how he became interested in peak performance and how this curiosity led him to look objectively at what has led to the sort of talent “explosions” that conventional wisdom says are simply quirks of fate. In Part 2, we talk about how people can apply the techniques of deep practice to their own life and work, as well as how deep practice strategies can be used to maximize one’s effectiveness as a teacher, manager or in other leadership roles.
Daniel Coyle maintains a blog at thetalentcode.com that looks at contemporary occurrences of otherwise ordinary people achieving extraordinary performance. A contributing editor to Outside magazine, he is also the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Lance Armstrong’s War.
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