The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle


You don’t want to be in your comfort zone as you’re not learning as fast. You don’t want to be in your survival zone as you’re just trying to get by. You want to be in that sweet spot, where you’re being challenged, but not to the point where you break. So when you are practicing something, take some time to find that sweet spot and work from there. Of course slowly your sweet spot will become your comfort zone so re-evaluate every so often.


Practicing daily even for 5 minutes is much better than a once a week binge as our brain grows incrementally. But more importantly, the act of practicing can be thought of as a skill in itself, perhaps the most important skill of all.
I never really thought about practicing being a skill in itself. And I guess it’s true – habits are definitely the most effective way to grow so it’s probably a good idea to make everything a habit. If I were to go down the 5 minute path (it would probably be closer to 10 minutes with 5 minutes to relax the brain for the next practice), I could work on 4 new habits. This might be a great way for me to slowly build a foundation and let my brain start making the connections necessary to really take off. That said, the habits that I’d like to place in my day but haven’t is: learn guitar, speak mandarin, train the eyes to speed read and journal. This might be a great set of habits to end the day with as my brain will then have a chance to build myelin.


Many famous people are known to have taken naps and the PN goes into main different quotes from different books saying that naps are natural and should be continued.
I personally find myself staying up 3x longer than the nap I get so if I were to nap for 20 minutes after work, I would be able to get another hour out of my day. Maybe I should try that… I would just need to find a way to make it a habit per say and it would get difficult to do given that my days are all over the place. Well it’s always good to have something to think about I guess.


“There’s a moment before every rep when you are faced with a choice: You can either focus your attention on the target (what you want to do) or you can focus on the possible mistake (what you want to avoid). This tip is simple: Always focus on the positive move, not the negative one… The point is, it always works better to reach for what you want to accomplish, not away from what you want to avoid.”
Thinking about it briefly, I think I do frame most things in a positive angle, but it’s definitely something I want to be more aware of to ensure that’s the case.


“Just before falling asleep, [top performers] play a movie of their idealized performance in their heads. A wide body of research supports this idea, linking visualization to improved performance, motivation, mental toughness, and confidence.”
My mind is usually full of random things, from reflecting on how my day went, to focusing on what I will do tomorrow, to literal random stuff. Once I start journaling before going to bed, it should clear my head of how my day went. That should allow me to focus on my ideal performance for the next day / week / month / year, and allow me to continue to think of more focused random things that will help me get closer to my goals. I’m getting excited to add this extra hour of habits into my day!


“As the artist Chuck Close says, ‘Inspiration is for amateurs.” – Daniel Coyle
This is a recurring idea – a habit is something that you do day in day out, regardless of how you feel.


“Think patiently, without judgment. Work steadily, strategically, knowing that each piece connects to a larger whole.” – Daniel Coyle
Hearing this sucks. I’m definitely the type that wants things done now – but then again, aren’t we all? Although I can’t control the gardener aspect (with patience, without judgement), I can definitely control the carpenter piece (precisely, steadily and most importantly, strategically). This is why I’m reading all the PN and summarizing – to find ways to be more strategic.

My Take Aways

There were a couple of good ideas that I haven’t thought of / heard of prior to this book. I knew about the power of habit, but I don’t think I ever thought of the power to create a habit as a skill. Now that it’s been mentioned like this, I do realize that the more I am able to create habits, the less likely I run into giving into the moment. I also really like the concept of mental movies prior to bed as I have noticed over the past week that I had a dream about how I would act at a conference for work (I was brain storming what the main points of conversation would be) so if I can turn that into building my myelin and for my subconsious mind to find parts that can get me closer to my goals, then why not create those mental movies! Finally, the nap part is also something I should seriously consider. I tend to be sluggish when I get home, but if I can recharge myself, I should be able to be more focused the rest of the night.

Overall, The Little Book of Talent had some great actionable ideas and the rest of the tips are also suppose to be actionable. That said, this is definitely on my to read list. If you are also interested in finding tips to enhance your growth, get the book here at Amazon (please note that I will be getting a small amount from Amazon, though it does not affect how much you pay – Amazon just makes less money than if you were to go onto the website yourself). I also suggest you check out the actual Philosopher’s Notes (note they even have courses that consolidate many of the concepts in the books that Brian Joshnson covers and puts them into videos that are really easy to digest). This is the first program that I’ve signed up for and am definitely getting my money’s worth!


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