matthew syed

Matthew Syed

Mindset and High Performance Expert, Best-Selling Author, Sports Journalist and Former UK Table Tennis Champion

why book matthew?

  • Matthew, a prominent sports journalist for The Times, authored “Bounce,” acclaimed as one of the most intelligent books about sports
  • He dominated English table tennis, holding the position of England’s number one for almost a decade, earning three Commonwealth Championships and participating in two Olympic Games
  • Matthew is a commentator for the BBC and Eurosport, contributing his insights on sports. He co-founded TTK Greenhouse, a charity empowering young people through sport
matthew syed


Margaret Heffernan is a charismatic and authoritative speaker who takes little at face value and regularly challenges received wisdom. With an unerring ability to highlight the talent that often lies underutilised in organisations, this five-time CEO and six-time author consistently questions common business practices in ways and from angles that never fail to surprise. Her aim? To show organisations how to ‘get out of their own way’ and release the talent already in their ranks.

Originally a producer for the BBC, Margaret moved to the US in the 1980s where she became a renowned media executive through her work at The Learning Company, Standard & Poor’s, and others. To date she has written six books.

Matthew Syed was born to a Pakistani father and Welsh mother in Reading, southeast England, in 1970. After attending his local state school, he graduated from Oxford University in 1995 with a prize-winning first class degree in philosophy, politics and economics. His first book Bounce, published in April 2010, has been described as “one of the most intelligent and thought-provoking books about sport ever written”. In his bold and inspiring new book: Rebel Ideas, Matthew Syed argues that individual intelligence is no longer enough; that the only way to tackle these complex problems is to harness the power of ‘cognitive diversity’..

Matthew is currently a columnist and feature writer for The Times. He writes a Monday column on football and a Wednesday column on sport as well as penning reviews, opinion and interviews. He has won numerous prizes for his writing including Sports Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards and Sports Feature Writer of the Year at the Sports Journalist Association Awards.

In addition to writing, Matthew is often hired by institutions, schools and corporations as a speaker at high profile events. The feedback from clients is overwhelmingly positive and almost all seek to rebook Matthew for future events.

Before becoming a writer and broadcaster Matthew was the England table tennis number one for almost a decade, three-times Commonwealth Champion, and twice competed for Great Britain in the Olympic Games (in Barcelona in 1992 and Sydney in 2000).

matthew syed

His style was unusually defensive, playing strokes from the back of the court described as “spectacular roof threatening parabolas”.

Matthew also commentates on sport for the BBC and Eurosport and is a regular contributor to radio and television. His film for the BBC, ‘China and Table Tennis’ won bronze medal at the Olympic Golden Rings ceremony in Lausanne. Matthew was one of the co-founders of TTK Greenhouse, a charity which “empowers youngsters through sport” and which currently supports more than 10,000 young people on 31 full-time school programmes.


Matthew speaks to companies, sports teams and other organisations on psychology, performance and continuous improvement.

He has given keynotes about Black Box Thinking to pioneering organisations around the world including a specially convened meeting of global finance ministers at Harvard University, the commanders and admirals of the British surface fleet, Britain’s chief constables, the Presidents of the medical Royal Colleges, the General Staff of the British Army, the global partners of Goldman Sachs, as well as the Arsenal first team and other top sports organisations.

Recently, Matthew has been booked by many of the most innovative and forward-thinking organisations in the world including Goldman Sachs, Arsenal FC, Vodafone, Rolls Royce, BP, McKinsey,

Alliance Bernstein, Oxford University, Saracens, McLaren, Deutsche Bank, Morrisons, Cliffod Chance, Genentech, Orange, the Premier League, United Bank of Switzerland, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, the England and Wales Cricket Board, Westminster School, Freshfields, Proctor and Gamble and INSEAD.

He is passionate about young people and education. His Mindset for Education conferences are about providing brilliant, often busy teachers and school leaders with the latest research and tools to unleash curiosity, creativity and growth mindset in their students. He also provides tailored events for businesses and a learning course on the principles of high performance.

Matthew Syed


You may want to go deeper with your audience. Masterclasses can be tailored and developed to suit your audience needs, be it a 90-minute Masterclass, a half-day or full-day workshop or a full online or face-to-face programme. Please contact one of our expert team to discuss.




“An outstanding speech that transformed the perspective of coaches and players alike. Our young players have been talking about it ever since.”

Steve Bould, Arsenal FC


“A wonderful speech delivered to 1000 senior executives. Matthew’s messages are powerful and thought-provoking – and they have become central to the strategy of our business.”

Norman Pickavance, HR Director, Morrisons


“Matthew Syed is a fabulous speaker with superb ideas. He challenges and inspires in equal measure.”

Michael Sherwood, Chief Executive, Goldman Sachs International


“Very good speaker – provocative and articulate.  It forced me to reflect on how I approach development within my team.  I have continued to think on this after the event which I think shows how impactful it was.”

Hana Searson, Director, Barclays


“Always interesting and insightful; often provocative; never dull.  One of the most impactful speakers I have ever encountered.”

Julian Thomas, Master, Wellington College

“I have found Matthew Syed’s presentations clear, compelling and entertaining. In both his presentations and his books he combines hard evidence, strong argument and telling anecdote. He draws on a wide range of fields, including sport and business, and uses language free of jargon. I have never heard the case for a growth mindset or learning from mistakes more effectively made.”

Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor, Pearson


“Matthew’s messages were fantastic. He not only described clearly how champions are made, but could also give evidence based arguments that supported his bold assertions. His influence on our squad and management was an extremely positive one for which we are very grateful.”

Mark McCall, Saracens Director of Rugby


“The best speech of its kind I have ever heard. It inspired, entertained and informed in equal measure.”

David Richardson, The Atlantic Group