The Little Book of Talent – by Daniel Coyle

15th July 2014:

The Little Book of Talent – by Daniel Coyle

Daniel Coyle (published by Random House Business Books in Trade)




Daniel Coyle's book starts with the simple idea that talent isn’t something you’re born with.  You can become talented.  Everyone has the potential to be a champion – or a business tycoon (“The Apprentice”, anyone?) or an Turner-prize winning artist.  You just have to know the right way to learn your talent.


‘The Little Book of Talent’ is a sequel to Daniel Coyle’s earlier book, ‘The Talent Code’ (which explored the success rate of small talent “hotbeds”, such as tennis clubs, music summer schools, ski schools).  From this, the author has developed his 52 Tips to becoming the very best you can be.


When I read and reviewed this book, towards the end of last year, I was interested in how Daniel Coyle’s ideas could be used in business environments.  Very few of the 52 tips could be ‘lifted’ exactly as they were and most drew on sporting or musical examples.  Some tips were more difficult than others to translate into the world of work. Tip #28: Mime It, for example.


However, having lived with the ideas for a few months, I’m surprised to discover the two  which have stuck in my mind most firmly.


Tip #26: “Slow It Down”. To do something precisely, correctly and to allow your subconscious mind to remember it … slow … it … right … down ...  Without being aware of it, I started to do this at the gym.  It wasn’t how fast I could go on the rowing machine, it was how slow I could go whilst focussing on the muscles being exercised and keeping the correct form. Result: muscles felt as if they’d worked twice as hard in half the time.  Result!


Tip #41: “End on a Positive Note”.  By doing this, you trick the brain into thinking the entire experience was better than it actually was!  End meetings by discussing something funny under ‘AOB’.  When you go for a run, make sure you end on a downhill stretch.  The idea is that the brain can be trained to think that meetings (and running) can be enjoyable, meaning you’ll be less resistant to going to yet another meeting (or going for another run).


Daniel Coyle’s book is about learning a skill and becoming an expert.  In order to do this, you need to practice, practice, practice and then practice some more.  But, Mr Coyle, many of us are ahead of you on this one. 


Anyone remember the hours spent learning this?  a s d f ; l k j 

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