Why have all 53 sprinters who have run the 100 meters in under 10 seconds been black?
What is the essential difference between those who reach the top and those who don’t?
What does sporting competition tell us about the efficiency of financial markets?
To answer such probing questions, journalist and former Olympian Matthew Syed uses sports as a prism through which to examine human behavior, offering a radical new view of ourselves. In Bounce, he argues that, among the most vivid, primal, and dramatic of all human pursuits, sports—the competition between rivals—taps into our basest instincts and emotions. Imbued with “explanatory power” sports is a real world experiment—played out every day at athletic tracks and on football fields, across ping pong tables and in swimming pools—that provide vital clues into many of our most divisive conflicts, including genetics, race, sex, politics, and economics.
Armed with the most recent scientific research and examples of real life people and situations, Syed shatters long-held myths about meritocracy, talent, the mind, and performance. He explains why some people thrive under pressure and others choke, and compares the value of innate ability against practice, hard work, and will. From sex to drugs, human motivation to the efficiency of financial markets, Syed demonstrates how sports provides a master key with which to unlock the mysteries of the world.