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Do you want to optimize your skills and unlock your full potential? 

Daniel Coyle’s “The Little Book of Talent” gives us a roadmap to nurturing and enhancing our innate abilities.

This book isn’t about the theory of talent. Instead, it’s a highly practical guide on how to nurture and hone your abilities to reach new levels of achievement.

In this podcast, I’m sharing my top 10 insights from the book. 

“Can you recommend a book for…?”

“What are you reading right now?”

“What are your favorite books?”

I get asked those types of questions a lot and, as an avid reader and all-around bibliophile, I’m always happy to oblige.

I also like to encourage people to read as much as possible because knowledge benefits you much like compound interest. The more you learn, the more you know; the more you know, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more opportunities you have to succeed.

On the flip side, I also believe there’s little hope for people who aren’t perpetual learners. Life is overwhelmingly complex and chaotic, and it slowly suffocates and devours the lazy and ignorant.

So, if you’re a bookworm on the lookout for good reads, or if you’d like to get into the habit of reading, this book club for you.

The idea here is simple: Every month, I’ll share a book that I’ve particularly liked, why I liked it, and several of my key takeaways from it.

I’ll also keep things short and sweet so you can quickly decide whether the book is likely to be up your alley or not.

Alright, let’s get to the takeaways.


0:00 – Please leave a review of the show wherever you listen to podcasts and make sure to subscribe and leave a comment!

1:57 – Talent begin ignition

2:16 – Steal it!

3:01 – Key to practice and the concept of reach

4:08 – Engraving the blueprint of the skill on your mind

4:49 – Daily Practice snacks vs weekly practice

5:06 – Slow practice and the magnifying glass

5:19 – The first perfect rep

5:47 – Exhaustion is the enemy

6:08 – Exaggerate it!

6:35 – Solo practice and the sweet spot

7:02 – The Little Black Book of Workout Motivation:

Mentioned on the Show:

The Little Black Book of Workout Motivation is a bestselling fitness book that helps you overcome the mental blocks that are keeping you unmotivated, unhappy, and unhealthy:



Hello and welcome to Muscle for Life. I am Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today for a new episode, a book club episode where I share a book that I have read and liked and explain a little bit about why I liked it, and then share 10 of my favorite takeaways from the book, which should give you an idea of whether it might be right for you.

And so today’s book is, The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle, and this is a practical companion to his first book on the topic of skill building, skill acquisition. That book is called The Talent Code, and in that book, Coyle argues that talent and. To define that, that would be innate ability. Natural ability has little bearing on skill acquisition and skill enhancement, rather, coil contends, the most talented among us are actually just the most committed to a formula that has consistently produced greatness in countless domains, ranging from piano to tennis, to mathematics and more.

And this is a formula that anyone can learn and apply to any activity they want to pursue. And so whereas, The Talent Code is the textbook. The Little Book of Talent is the handbook. This is a short book. It has short, highly actionable chapters that just tell you what to do to get better at skill building, but not necessarily why you’re doing it or why it works.

And so if you are looking for a thorough step-by-step treatment. Of the subject. This book is not for you, but if you want to skip the theory and just get to the strategies, I think you will find a lot of value in these pages. And if you do, then you probably will also enjoy the talent code. You probably will also enjoy learning the theoretical underpinnings as well as some of the additional practical components shared in the talent code that are not reproduced in the little book of talent.

Okie dokie. Let’s get to the first key takeaway, which is talent begins with brief, powerful encounters that spark motivation by linking your identity to a high performing person or group. This is called Ignition, and it consists of a tiny world shifting thought, lighting up your unconscious mind. I could be them.

Quote, we are often told that talented people acquire their skill by following their natural instincts. This sounds nice, but it is in fact baloney. All improvement is about absorbing and applying new information, and the best source of information is top performers. So steal it. When you steal, focus on specifics, not general impressions.

Capture concrete facts. The angle of a golfer’s left elbow at the top of the backswing, the curve of a surgeon’s wrist, the precise shape and tension of a singer’s lips as he hits that high. Note the exact length of time a comedian pauses before delivering the punchline. Ask yourself, what exactly are the critical moves here?

How do they perform those moves differently than I do? Three. The key to deep practice is to reach. This means to stretch yourself slightly beyond your current ability. Spending time in the zone of difficulty called the sweet spot. It means embracing the power of repetition, so the action becomes fast and automatic.

It means creating a practice space that enables you to reach and repeat, stay engaged, and improve your skills over time. Comfort zone sensations. Ease effortlessness, you’re working but not reaching or struggling. Percentage of successful attempts, 80% and above. Sweet spot sensations, frustration, difficulty, alertness to errors.

You’re fully engaged in an intense struggle as if you’re stretching with all your might for a nearly unreachable goal. Brushing it with your fingertips, then reaching again, percentage of successful attempts, 50 to 80%. Survival zone sensations, confusion, desperation. Your overmatched scrambling, thrashing and guessing.

You guess right sometimes, but it’s mostly luck. Percentage of successful attempts below 50%. Four quote. To begin chunking, first engrave the blueprint of the skill on your mind. Then ask yourself one, what is the smallest single element of this skill that I can master? Two, what other chunks? Link to that chunk.

Practice one chunk by itself until you’ve mastered it. Then connect more chunks one by one exactly as you would combine letters to form a word. Then combine those twos in into still bigger chunks and so on. Musicians at meadowmount cut apart musical scores with scissors and put the pieces in a hat.

Then pull each section out at random. Then after the chunks are learned separately, they start combining them in the correct order. Like so many puzzle pieces, no matter what skill you set out to learn, the pattern is always the same. See the whole thing, break it down into its simplest elements, put it back together.

Repeat five, quote. With deep practice, small daily practice snacks are more effective than once a week. Practice binges six. Super slow practice works like a magnifying glass. It lets us sense our errors more clearly and thus fix them. As the saying goes, it’s not how fast you can do it, it’s how slowly you can do it correctly.

Seven. One of the most fulfilling moments of a practice session is when you have your first perfect rep. When this happens, freeze, rewind the mental tape, and play the move again. In your mind, memorize the feeling, the rhythm, the physical and mental sensations. The point is to mark this moment. This is the spot where you want to go again and again.

As Kimberly Meyer Sims of the SADO Center for Suzuki Studies says, practice begins when you get it right. Eight. Exhaustion is the enemy. Fatigue slows brains. It triggers errors, lessens concentration, and leads to shortcuts that create bad habits. It’s no coincidence that most talent hotbeds put a premium on practicing when people are fresh, usually in the morning, if possible, when exhaustion creeps in, it’s time to quit.

Nine. To learn a new move. Exaggerate. If the move calls for you to lift your knees, lift them to the ceiling. If it calls for you to press hard on the guitar strings, press with all your might. If it calls for you to emphasize a point while speaking in public, emphasize with theatricality. Don’t be half-hearted.

You can always dial back later. Go too far so you can feel the outer edges of the move and then work on building the skill with precision. 10 quote Solo practice works because it’s the best way to, one, seek out the sweet spot at the edge of your ability, and two, develop discipline because it doesn’t depend on others.

A classic study of musicians compared world-class performers with top amateurs. The researchers found that the two groups were similar in every practice variable except one. The world-class performers spent five times as many hours practicing alone. If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast, and if you wanna hear my musings on mastering the inner game of Getting Fit so you can reach your fitness goals faster, check out my book, the Little Black Book of Workout Motivation.

In it, I share wisdom and insights from hundreds of scientific studies and scores of legendary artists, authors, entrepreneurs, philosophers, generals, and conquerors, as well as my own biggest. Aha moments that have helped me overcome the things that were most holding me back. Here’s a little sneak peek of what you’ll find inside.

The easiest way to instantly increase your willpower and self-control in any situation, no matter how you feel in the moment. Three, science-based psychological tricks you can use to stay strong during moments of temptation. A simple 10 minute technique for beating, procrastination and skyrocketing productivity.

How to stop telling yourself, I’ll be happy when, and find immediate joy in satisfaction right where you are. The 40% rule that Navy Seals use to dig deep and screw up their courage when they need it most and more and all that is why I’ve sold over 60,000 copies of the Little Black Book and why it has over 1004 and five star reviews on Amazon.

And you can find the little Black Book of Workout Motivation on all major online retailers like Audible, Amazon, iTunes, Cobo, and Google Play. Well, I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful, and if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes, and it also helps me.

Because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you. And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have, uh, ideas or suggestions or just feed back to share, shoot me an email, [email protected], muscle f o r and let me know what I could do better or just, uh, What your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future.

I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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