I of course know who Lance Armstrong is.  I have yet to meet him, even though we live in the same area of Texas and we’ve both been on the cover of Austin Fit magazine. He came to life for me when I read Daniel Coyle’s New York Times bestselling book, Lance Armstrong’s War. While I’m not a cyclist, the book was so well written that I was compelled to read every word of it. When I heard Coyle had a new book coming out, I pre-ordered it without a thought.

talent-code.bmp   It arrived a few days ago. It’s terrific. The Talent Code reveals the true source of greatness. And it’s not what you might think. As the author’s site (www.thetalentcode.com) for the book says…

What is the secret of talent? How do we unlock it?

Journalist and New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle visited nine of the world’s greatest talent hotbeds — tiny places that produce huge amounts of talent, from a small music camp in upstate New York to an elementary school in California to the baseball fields of the Caribbean.

He found that there’s a pattern common to all of them — certain methods of training, motivation, and coaching. This pattern, which has to do with the fundamental mechanisms through which the brain acquires skill, gives us a new way to think about talent — as well as new tools with which we can unlock our own talents and those of our kids.

The Talent Code may be the most stimulating, inspiring and informative book I’ve read so far this year. I keep reading it, underlying parts, making notes, and reflecting. It helps explain many defining moments in my own life. For example —

Back in 1969 I failed high school geometry. Got an ‘F’ in it. I had to retake the course the next year. The funny thing is, the next year I got straight ‘A’s in geometry. How did I go from F to A? I had a different teacher. The second instructor – a Mr. Ron Posey, I remember – had me follow a strict discipline, right down to using a particular notebook, putting protectors around the 3-holes in the pages, handwriting meticulously, and more. It drove some kids nuts. It helped me get straight A’s. According to Coyle, that second instructor was a brilliant coach intuitively using The Talent Code’s secrets.

Back in 1972, when I learned how to fly a single engine plane, I went through a ten-week course that was the hardest thing I had done (and have yet to do) in my entire life. I either flew a plane every day or was in ground school studying every day, five days a week, all day long. I thought the curriculum was intense. Overwhelming even. It wasn’t until I read Coyle’s book that I realized Kent State Univeristy’s flight school was teaching me exactly the way I needed to learn: by stretching me beyond what I thought was doable.

But how does all of this work to increase talent?

What was my geometry teacher and that flight school doing to turn an average (below average, really) kid into a straight A student and a licensed private pilot?

Coyle’s riveting book explains the three things needed to increase talent and go toward greatness. One essential is “the spark” of inspiration. Something has to ignite desire.

That’s what happened in 1970 when I met Rod Serling, creator of the famous sci-fi TV series, The Twilight Zone. I realized Serling was human and if he could be a famous writer, than I could too. I then put myself through a self-study program that contained well more than 10,000 hours of writing, reading, writing and more reading; of being rejected for years, and yet trying again and again (and again and again). My first book wasn’t published until 1984. The spark of inspiration was Rod Serling. This “spark” is what begins a huge, deep transformation. It’s the beginning to unlocking talent.

The second ingredient needed is a particular kind of practice.

When I was learning how to play the harmonica some thirty years ago, I nearly threw the instrument against the wall. While it’s easy to just blow through a harp and get some music out of it, learning how to blow through single holes, bend notes, and control your breathing and the resulting music is a challenge. But I kept practicing. I practiced every day at 7 pm on the front porch of an abandoned house. After an entire year, I could play like a relatively good blues harpist. But it took practice that involved struggle, errors, correction, and more practice. That’s part of the secret to increasing talent.

The third secret is great coaching.

I’m currently taking private tutoring lessons with Berlitz instructors to learn Spanish, for my speaking engagement in Lima, Peru on June 4th.  While I have books, courses, CDs and more on how to speak Spanish, there’s nothing like having a personal coach there to guide my learning. When I failed geometry the first time but excelled at it the second time, it was due to a better coach. I learned to pilot a plane in a short amount of time due to great teachers. These days I have my own coaching program for people wanting to improve or breakthrough. It’s needed for noteworthy success. In fact, it’s a requirement.

Coyle’s book is essential reading for the hypnotic writing, the stories, the insights and more. At the heart of it is the news that a substance in the brain called myelin is what makes people great.

But the greater news is anyone — even you and me — can develop any talent by following the three elements Coyle describes. Doing so will build myelin. As the subtitle of his book says, “Greatness isn’t born. It’s grown.”

The Talent Code may just be “the spark” needed to turn wishful dreamers into talented greats that in the future Daniel Coyle may write about — just as he’s already done for a living legend, Lance Armstrong.

Ao Akua,


PS — The new and improved Joe Vitale Miracles Coaching program is at www.mrfire.com/miraclescoaching 



  1. May 4, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Thanks Joe for mentioning the book! Will order it and look forward to reading it!

  2. May 4, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Joe, Thanks for the recommendation… it’s on my wish-list, and will soon be in my shopping cart (like in a few minutes).

    One of my favorite quotes, credited to President Calvin Coolidge is: ““Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”

    Many of your personal examples show that, although you may have had some innate ability (talent) for music, or writing, it was practice, coaching, persistence, training, etc… that got you to a level where you are now recognized as “Talented.”

    Which reminds me of another quote credited to Ignancy Paderewski, the noted Polish Pianist, composer & statesman:
    “Fan: I’d give my life to be able to play like that!
    Paderewski: I did”

    Talent enters the equation, but it’s only one component of excellence. Sounds like this book unlocks the other parts of the equation, and is a “must read” addition to my library.

    David Rachford

  3. dolphin-Reply
    May 4, 2009 at 10:00 am

    10000 hours?

  4. May 4, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Or more.


  5. May 4, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Hello Joe,

    I can remember when I was back in high school we had to pass the Ohio 9th Grade Proficiency Test in order to graduate high school. 8th grade I’ve passed reading and writing but flunked math, science, and citizenship. Then in the 9th grade I passed Citizenship and Science. Math was the only thing left and my 10th grade Geometry Math teacher Mr. Paddock helped me pass the proficiency test because in after lunch on 5th bell I would report to his class for math practice for the proficiency test. I’ve finally passed the proficiency test in the 10th grade the math portion. The minimum score was 200 to pass. I got a 211. So your blog post has some tremendous truth. In reality practicing is the only way out after your mindset is in order. Did I hit it on the head Joe?

  6. Dolphin-Reply
    May 4, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    So where can we buy myelin?

  7. Carol Brusegar-Reply
    May 5, 2009 at 9:54 am

    What a great review and recommendation! The book sounds fabulous. Off to Amazon I go…

  8. May 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    I have all of your books and I read, agree, believe, and practice all what you’ve wrote. Then now you recommend a book, and I have no doubt about its quality…

  9. chtmom-Reply
    May 6, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Wow, sounds like a must-read! I’m off to Amazon right now. Thanks for sharing this book.

  10. Alla-Reply
    May 7, 2009 at 3:18 am

    Hello, Joe!

    I Has just stopped to read your book “Zero Limits”.
    It has made upon me huge impression. And that the most important thing – you have inspired me! I think people sayl you these words constantly, but I also whant to sayl it. Thank you! Thank you!

    After reading I had one question. You tell about a symbol “Ceeport” and a logo “Panoz” as mens for zero. I have thought, whether the tattoo can be way to zero? If yes, on what part of a body it is better to do it? And what should be the image?

    It is very important to me to know your opinion.

    Thank you,
    Travel agency “Kailash”
    Moscow, Russia

  11. Andy Schroeder-Reply
    May 31, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Just found this thread. Very interesting.

    I recall studying about the “myelin sheath” in my high school biology and college physiology classes. If I am correct, myelin acts as an insulator for neurons in the brain and nervous system, which would be something akin to insulation protecting electrical wiring. When this myelin sheath is attacked or is unable to protect the neuron, it leads to problems in the neuron, specifically with synapse firing or not firing when it is supposed to, e.g. MS or Lou Gehrigs disease. In the case of this book, I am just guessing that the author is going to posit that some kind of molding or shaping of the myelin sheath is taking place through repeated and specific practice or drills. Sounds like an interesting book and I will be looking for it.

  12. Jim-Reply
    September 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    I want to get a tattoo of the ceeport sticker, I do not have any tattoos but I would Love to have this one but I want to be sure it will be ok and work the same for me.

  13. FAISAL-Reply
    June 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    thank u

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