David is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Sports Gene, a deep dive into the balance of nature and nurture in physical skill acquisition. He has been an investigative reporter at ProPublica and a sports science writer at Sports Illustrated — reporting on everything from drug cartels to a rare mutant gene that helped one woman become an Olympic medalist sprinter, but stripped another of her ability even to walk. His 2014 TED Talk on the progression of records in sports was one of the 20 most viewed of the year. Prior to journalism, David thought he was going to be a scientist and was living in a tent in the Arctic Circle conducting research. He was a walk-on 800-meter runner at Columbia University, but graduated as a university record holder. Whether it be in medicine, sport training, or a typical work environment, he’s interested in illuminating differences both of nature and nurture that we can use to guide each individual toward optimum performance.
Contrary to what the title suggests, The Sports Gene exemplifies the multi-disciplinary thinking and anti-specialization this podcast will seek to advance over the months to come. The Sports Gene is really David’s sincere and laudable effort to illuminate the timeless conversation about the balance between nature and nurture.
Topics Discussed Include:
- How David’s athletic and academic background inspired him to write The Sports Gene.
- What is the ten thousand hours rule and what does it really say about mastery?
- How to best develop talent at the grassroots level.
- The ethical case for researching and acknowledging biodiversity.
- Reasonable applications of genetic testing.
- How to embrace scientific progress and data without losing the art of coaching and teaching.
- How science can help us determine what technologies are most transferable to performance.
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