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The Books Interview: David Epstein

By Jonathan Derbyshire  

In the first of a new series on this blog, I talk to the American writer David Epstein about his book “The Sports Gene: What Makes the Perfect Athlete”. “The Sports Gene” has been seen as a riposte to Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”, which popularised the view that the key to success, in sport as well as in other fields of endeavour, is not native talent but assiduous practice (Gladwell repeatedly invoked the so-called “10,000 hours rule” in this connection).

Did you conceive the book as a salvo in what one might call the “talent wars”?

That’s an interesting question. I…

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