superhuman by rowan hooper

Superhuman. What does it take to be exceptional?

Author Rowan Hooper delves through research, interviews and anecdotes, into the lives of exceptional humans. Humans who have survived and succeeded in the extremes of mental and physical ability.

What makes one person intelligent? Say, a chess master, over your average Joe? John Nunn is a three-time world champion in chess problem solving and English chess grandmaster, who studied at Oxford at 15.  Genius right? Yes, he is certainly outstanding, but John also has issues with focussing on one thing at a time. For most, John has a brain we would dream to have, but to him, there are other things he wished he could achieve or could do better.

Hooper speaks to some very interesting people who have exceptional brains. John Nunn, Hilary Mantel who is considered one of the greatest writers of our time with best-sellers such as Wolf Hall under her belt and Daniel Tammet, a savant who sees colours in words and numbers.  There are many other interesting people Hooper meets in this book who have survived horrible ordeals and who work hard every day for physical perfection. So, how much is talent? How much are years of commitment, practice and study? Is any of it just luck?

Superhuman dives deep into these worlds and raises the question of how much success is a focused work ethic and how much is talent, and of course genes. It’s an interesting book that left me feeling pretty ok about myself. I have a knack to some things well and other things not so well. I’ll never be a genius, and certainly not an elite athlete but, I might give what I’m good at a bit more focus and see where that takes me.

Available now in all good bookshops RRP $32.99

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book review superhuman

Thanks to Hachette for a copy of Superhuman

Superhuman Book Blurb

Superhuman is a fascinating, eye-opening and inspiring celebration of the best that the current human species has to offer.

This is a book about what it feels like to be exceptional – and what it takes to get there. Why can some people achieve greatness when others can’t, no matter how hard they try? What are the secrets of long life and happiness? Just how much potential does our species have?

Drawing on interviews with a wide range of superhumans as well as those who study them, Hooper assesses the science of peak potential, reviewing the role of genetics alongside the famed 10,000 hours of practice.

For anyone who ever felt that they might be able to do something extraordinary in life, for those who simply want to succeed, and for anyone interested in incredible human stories, Superhuman is a must-read.