Matthew Syed


UK Edition (get on Amazon)
Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes--But Some Do

What links the Mercedes Formula One team with Google?

What links Dave Brailsford’s Team Sky and the aviation industry?

What is the connection between the inventor James Dyson and the footballer David Beckham?

They are all Black Box Thinkers.

Whether developing a new product, honing a core skill or just trying to get a critical decision right, Black Box Thinkers aren’t afraid to face up to mistakes. In fact, they see failure as the very best way to learn. Rather than denying their mistakes, blaming others or attempting to spin their way out of trouble, these institutions and individuals interrogate errors as part of their future strategy for success.

How many of us, hand on heart, can say that we have such a healthy relationship with failure?

Learning from failure has the status of a cliché, but this book reveals the astonishing story behind the most powerful method of learning known to mankind, and reveals the arsenal of techniques wielded by some of the world’s most innovative organizations. Their lessons can be applied across every field – from sport to education, from business to health.

Using gripping case studies, exclusive interviews and really practical takeaways, Matthew Syed – the award-winning journalist and best-selling author of Bounce – explains how to turn failure into success, and shows us how we can all become better Black Box Thinkers.

Click here to learn more about Matthew’s new book Black Box Thinking

US Edition (get on Amazon)
Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice
UK Edition (get on Amazon)
Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice

(US, UK and other International editions of Bounce are identical except for minor spelling and stylistic changes)

Freakonomics explained how we get what we want and what we need

Predictably Irrational exposed the hidden factors controlling our behaviour

Bounce transforms our understanding of competition – and who we are

Just what does it take to be the best? Matthew Syed uncovers the “hidden logic of success” behind the careers of world-beaters from David Beckham and Serena Williams to Mozart and Picasso.

Along the way Matthew explains why some people thrive under pressure and others choke, and weighs the value of innate ability against that of practice, hard work and will. From sex to maths, from the motivation of children to the culture of big business, Bounce shows how competition provides a master key with which to unlock the mysteries of the world.

Questions answered by Bounce include:

Advance Praise for Bounce:

“A fascinating subject and Syed is a dazzling writer ”

Owen Slot – The Times

“A gripping examination of the hidden forces that come together in the making of a champion.”

Michael Atherton – former England cricket captain and award winning writer

“Insightful and entertaining, Syed takes us a step deeper into the world of sports, showing us how much we can learn about our own behaviour.”

Dan Ariely, New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational

“I love this book. It is a must read if you have ever wondered what sets the super achievers and the rest of us apart, in any field not just in sport. I only wish I had read it when I was 15.”

Gabby Logan – BBC TV Presenter and former international gymnast

“A cutting edge dissection – and ultimate destruction – of the myth of innate talent in the pursuit of excellence. Syed synthesises his evidence with the precision of an academic, writes with the fluidity of a journalist and persuades with the drive of a sportsman. Read this book now – before it’s too late. There are no excuses!”

Mark Thomas – Professor of Evolutionary Genetics at University College London

“Matthew Syed was an exceptionally fine table tennis player and he is an exceptionally fine sports writer…. In the end this book is about the human brain. It is funny and tragic, learned and urgent – the story of the extraordinary capacities we all possess, the irrationalities that drive us to succeed or fail, the opportunities we are given or miss out on.”

Howard Jacobson – award-winning author of Kalooki Nights

“Intellectually stimulating and hugely enjoyable at a stroke… challenged some of my most cherished beliefs about life and success.”

Jonathan Edwards – Triple Jump World Record Holder and Olympic gold medallist

“Compelling and, at times, exhilarating – Bounce explains high achievement in sport, business and beyond”

Michael Sherwood – Chief Executive Goldman Sachs International

“When a book includes subject classifications as diverse as sport and outdoor recreation, Europe, mathematics and popular science, you know you’re not in for a run-of-the mill sports book. Indeed, it’s so wide-ranging that a chapter discussing motivation assesses strategies for understanding educational achievement, morphs onto an examination of Nick Bollettieri’s tennis academy and ends with an analysis of Enron’s hiring and promotion strategies (yes, really)… It’s impressively researched, forcefully argued and… extraordinarily interesting and thought-provoking.”

The Bookseller

“Everything Matthew Syed writes is worth reading”

Lynne Truss, best-selling author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves

“Cogent discussions of the neuroscience of competition, including the placebo effect of irrational optimism, self-doubt, and superstitions, all lend credence to a compelling narrative; readers who gobbled up Freakonomics and Predictably Irrational will flock to this one”

Publishers Weekly