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Reader Reviews


"A book mixing the deeply emotional with the highly technical, presented with the kind of sensitive, authoritative touch readers came to expect from Ryan."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Fascinating mix of reportage and clinical research...Ryan's cogent, persuasive effort will give sports fans much food for thought."
Publishers Weekly
"Nuanced...complex...All of this makes for a mind-opening study that extends far beyond the confines of any ballpark."
"In this entrancing book, Joan Ryan goes on a deep dive into both the human brain and the locker room and delivers a compelling, surprising look at the nature of team chemistry, and its dramatic impact on the sports we love. Outstanding work."
Rob Neyer, author of Powerball
"In a laboratory, chemistry can be defined. But when it comes to personal and team dynamics, chemistry is among the things about which it can be said: "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it." While a precise definition will always be elusive, Joan Ryan's lively, thoughtful, and carefully reported book brings us much closer to an understanding of what team chemistry is and can be."
Bob Costas
"Joan Ryan writes the way we all wish we could: clearly, simply and powerfully, with nothing wasted. Intangibles is a sports book but it's really a mystery. In a time when players are reduced to assets and data, Joan returns the people to the room. How they interact - or don't - is so much of why we watch. This really is a terrific book."
Howard Bryant, author of The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron
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Unlocking the Science and Soul of Team Chemistry

From baseball to biology, an award-winning journalist highlights the power of team chemistry in this “terrific” data-driven investigation of human relationships (Billie Jean King).

Does team chemistry actually exist? Is there scientific or mathematical proof? Is team chemistry as real and relevant as on-base percentages and wins above replacement?

In Joan Ryan’s groundbreaking book we discover that the answer to all of the above is a resounding yes. As Ryan puts it, team chemistry, or the combination of biological and social forces that boosts selfless effort among more players over more days of a season, is what drives sports teams toward a common goal, encouraging the players to be the best versions of themselves. These are the elements of teams that make them “click,” the ones that foster trust and respect, and push players to exceed their own potential when they work well together.

Team chemistry alone won’t win a World Series, but talent alone won’t win it, either. And by interviewing more than 100 players, coaches, managers, and statisticians, as well as over five years of extensive research in neuroscience, biology, physiology, and psychology, Ryan proves that the social and emotional state of a team does affect performance. Grit, passion, selflessness, and effort matter — but never underestimate the power of chemistry.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Sports & Recreation / Sociology Of Sports

On Sale: April 28th 2020

Price: $14.99 / $18.99 (CAD)

Page Count: 272

ISBN-13: 9780316434904