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25 Works 1,279 Members 29 Reviews

About the Author

Matthew Syed is a columnist for the London Times and a commentator for the BBC, and was recently named British Sports Feature Writer of the Year by the Sports Journalists' Association and Sports Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards. He is also the former Commonwealth table tennis show more champion, two-time Olympian, and a graduate of Oxford University. show less

Includes the name: Matthew Syed

Image credit: Credit: International Table Tennis Federation

Works by Matthew Syed

The Greatest (2017) 29 copies
Sei una forza (2019) 2 copies


Common Knowledge



An enjoyable and interesting book on the subject of nature vs. nurture. The author examines the now well known "ten thousand hours of practice" rule of expertise, using both anecdotes and research, and shows that it seems to apply even to so-called prodigies. He also examines the psychological aspects of performance and how it applies to both success and "choking".

There may not be, as critics have pointed out, anything totally new or revelatory here. But it is well presented and easy to read, and a somewhat compelling introduction to the topic. The final two chapters, dealing with doping and racial issues, seem a little out of place. But they do not overly detract from the overall message.… (more)
zot79 | 17 other reviews | Aug 20, 2023 |
When I started reading this book, I was convinced it was one more of those books by a management consultant. However, the book proved to be an excellent read. The book, I must say, resonates with me. There are many good stories and examples in the book that illustrate each chapter's central point.

The book starts with a story - the Twin Towers - which clearly illustrates the dangers of not understanding other perspectives. From there, he moved on to concepts like echo chambers; illustrations on the dangers of 'the average'; the benefits of diversity, education, and the development of humanity.

All in all, an excellent book.
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RajivC | Sep 11, 2022 |
I’ve read a few books like this lately, partly because there is a crossover with my day job, but mostly because I like ideas. This was definitely the best. It’s an extremely well written and engrossing examination of a simple concept, that failure is valuable because it helps us get better. Unlike some other similar books it never felt like it outlived it’s welcome. The examples used to illustrate the point were well chosen and often grippingly relayed. I was surprised at what a page turner ‘Black Box Thinking’ could be, and also that it moved me deeply at times.
In summary then, this is intellectually stimulating, great fun to read and full of insight. I loved it.
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whatmeworry | 9 other reviews | Apr 9, 2022 |
4.5 stars

Years ago I joked that my new year's resolution would be "Make more mistakes" meaning that I would be pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and trying new things. This book pushes the idea one step further. Make more "mistakes" and learn from them.We should learn from the aviation industry which uses their black boxes to learn from their mistakes.

I got queasy from the stories of mistakes in the medical field leading to death. I got even more queasy reading the length the medical world would cover up their mistakes. Well, Matthew also shows when investors, judges, and corporate leaders also cover up their mistakes in the face of strong evidence.

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wellington299 | 9 other reviews | Feb 19, 2022 |



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