The Sports Gene by David Epstein

So allow me a moment to brag. Among my brothers, I was the most gifted athlete. I made the varsity baseball team my sophomore year and by the end of the season, I was regularly in the starting lineup. Now here’s the chicken-egg question: Was I better because I practiced more than my brothers or did I practice more because I was better?

Obviously, I believe the former, but after I read The Sports Gene, I question if this is true.

How much of our athletic ability is in our DNA and how much can we attribute to hard work? As a meritocratic society, we love rewarding hard work and stories about perseverance. However, this book challenges that thinking. Training has very little physical influence on abilities. You can train your lungs to be more productive, but that training doesn’t match the already superior lung capacity of your opponent.

When I read this book I was frustrated and relieved at the same time. I was frustrated because I felt like all my energy training in sports was useless, but I was also relieved because I realized that I never really had the capability of playing professional baseball.

This is a great book that marries the subjects of sports and science perfectly.