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Raw Talent

Caton Gomillion (`11) on the left and Casey Weinfurtner (`11) on the right meet Daniel Coyle (center) for a book signing.

Daniel Coyle, the author of the summer reading The Talent Code, came to visit Gilmour and talk to the students and faculty. His research on deep practice struck the interest in many in our community. In response to Gilmour’s praise for the Talent Code, a follow-up interview was done to capture his own thoughts on his book and the visit.

•What were your first thoughts when you heard the school that your son is attending is reading your book?

My first thought: How cool! My second thought: I hope none of the Gilmour kids ever see me play golf or try to play guitar — my credibility will be completely shot! My third thought: this’ll be fun.

•What did you think was the key to talent/success before your book, The Talent Code?

Like most people, I only thought about the question in big, vague terms  (genes matter, hard work matters, coach-
ing/teaching matters). But I remember the moment when it got clearer for me. It was making notes, and I was struck by the image of the brain as a big city — think Los Angeles at night — all the wires connected and lit up, electricity moving with precision. Once I saw that every human action was really electrical, that let me see there was a world beneath appearances. The question became — how do we build beautiful circuitry like that?

•Has the research on deep practice impacted your life and how you live it?

It’s made me more aware of how I use my time. I tend to be a grinder, so it’s kind of liberating to know that I can get a lot done in a short amount of time by deepening my practice. It’s made me more conscious of the effort it takes to learn something new — And if you’re super aware of that process, you’re less likely to let yourself tip into it.

•What inspired you to write The Talent Code?

The mystery of these tiny places that produced so many great performers. That mystery hooked me — especially when it got linked to the larger mystery of these other places and the unfolding scientific story.