George Plimpton is embarrassed. The noted amateur of odd sporting experience has lost one horseshoe match to George Bush, a match that was as much a test of wills as of skills. Now Bush has invited him back for a rematch. How to avoid humiliation the second time? What is that quality - we'll call it the X Factor - that all winners, from famous athletes to successful CEOs, seem to possess? Plimpton sets out to find it. The quest for this elusive ingredient is both hilarious and informative, leading from the locker room to the boardroom, with several strange stops in between. Plimpton corners superstars like Bill Russell and Billie Jean King, famous coaches, the chairman of American Express, sports doctors, and M & A king Henry Kravis, and puts the same question to all of them: What is it that allows an individual, or a team, to outperform competitors who are no less gifted, mentally and physically? Their answers run the gamut from motivational rage to new-age meditation, and Plimpton slowly pieces together a definition of this mysterious winning quality.