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Download The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance Audiobook, by David Epstein Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Epstein Narrator: David Epstein Publisher: Recorded Books: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2013 ISBN: 9781469025971
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We all knew a star athlete in high school. The one who made it look so easy. He was the starting quarterback and shortstop; she was the all-state point guard and high-jumper. Naturals. Or were they?

The debate is as old as physical competition. Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to dominate their respective sports? Or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training?

The truth is far messier than a simple dichotomy between nature and nurture. In the decade since the sequencing of the human genome, researchers have slowly begun to uncover how the relationship between biological endowments and a competitor’s training environment affects athleticism. Sports scientists have gradually entered the era of modern genetic research.

In this controversial and engaging exploration of athletic success, Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein tackles the great nature vs. nurture debate and traces how far science has come in solving this great riddle. He investigates the so-called ten-thousand-hour rule to uncover whether rigorous and consistent practice from a young age is the only route to athletic excellence.

Along the way, Epstein dispels many of our perceptions about why top athletes excel. He shows why some skills that we assume are innate, like the bullet-fast reactions of a baseball or cricket batter, are not, and why other characteristics that we assume are entirely voluntary, like an athlete’s will to train, might in fact have important genetic components.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The definitive account of what does and does not make an athlete elite.”

    George Dohrmann, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Play Their Hearts Out

  • “A story told elegantly and with David Epstein’s indefatigable powers of investigation…You’ll be educated, and you’ll be fascinated.”

    Sports Illustrated

  • “Epstein…encounters characters and stories so engrossing that readers may not realize they’re receiving an advanced course in genetics, physiology, and sports medicine.”

    New York Times

  • “Epstein is well equipped to explain the complexities of the ‘sports gene’ search.”

    Scientific American

  • “Examines the roles of race and gender in athletic performance, presenting a wealth of evidence for each theory about why some people become sports stars while others never get out of the beer leagues.”

    Science News

  • “Few will put down this deliciously contrarian exploration of great athletic feats.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Epstein’s dual interests come through in his enthusiastic narration. He provides a survey of the genetic research…interwoven with stories of athletes, including a college student who made a seven-foot high jump on the first try. Epstein covers the topic thoroughly, pointing out the drawbacks of genetic tests as he discusses the new findings.”


  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly bestseller
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About the Author

David Epstein has a master’s degree in environmental science and is an award-winning senior writer for Sports Illustrated, where he covers sports science, medicine, and Olympic sports. His investigative pieces are among Sports Illustrated’s highest-profile stories. An avid runner himself, he earned All-East honors on Columbia University’s varsity track squad. He lives in Brooklyn.