An engaging, controversial exploration of the genetic underpinnings of athletic success
What makes an athlete a superstar? We’d tend to assume they are either genetic freaks, put on Earth to play 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 young 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.