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The Genius in all of us – Book Review

This month I decided to read a book that is more broadly related to talent development and general coaching etc.


Title: The Genius in All of Us: New Insights Into Genetics, Talent, and IQ

Authors: David Shenk

Topic: Talent Development, Genetics, Nature vs Nuture

Appropriate for: All coaches, sport scientists, parents and students

Overall rating: 5/5

Overview: This book seeks to address some balance in the long held view that genetics hold the key to our potential in sport, academics or the arts. A view that is all too often held in sport…
It explores the nature vs nurture debate and suggests the third alternative – it’s neither nature (genetics) nor nurture (environment) that is solely responsible, rather the combination of both of these factors. It does this by explaining a number of scientific studies (epigenetics) in layman’s terms and sheds light on what is often the mysterious and unknown world of “talent”. Personally, I found this a really good read as I felt other books and perspectives on talent development are either too purist (eg. genetics are all) or poorly explained (eg. the 10,000 hour rule). The explanations for talent development in this book not only make sense, but also acknowledge that talent is a complicated and multi-faceted enigma that is mostly viewed retrospectively. I would suggest this as recommended reading for coaches, as it really helps create a more well-rounded view of talent and the genetic/environment interaction.
Key areas addressed prior within the book are:

  • previous views of genetics as deterministic
  • the idea of epigenetics (genetic-environment interaction)
  • Myth busting about many people recognised as a “genius”
  • the idea that a “growth mindset” can help take us to the limits of our potential
  • how competition fuels talent development
  • “talent” as an outcome of genetics, environment, resources, competition and personal investment

You can find the book here: The Genius in All of Us: New Insights Into Genetics, Talent, and IQ
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