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The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance Paperback – May 27, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Waitzkin's name may sound familiar—back in 1993, his father wrote about Josh's early years as a chess prodigy in Searching for Bobby Fischer. Now 31, Waitzkin revisits that story from his own perspective and reveals how the fame that followed the movie based on his father's book became one of several obstacles to his further development as a chess master. He turned to tai chi to learn how to relax and feel comfortable in his body, but then his instructor suggested a more competitive form of the discipline called "push hands." Once again, he proved a quick study, and has earned more than a dozen championships in tournament play. Using examples from both his chess and martial arts backgrounds, Waitzkin draws out a series of principles for improving performance in any field. Chapter headings like "Making Smaller Circles" have a kung fu flair, but the themes are elaborated in a practical manner that enhances their universality. Waitzkin's engaging voice and his openness about the limitations he recognized within himself make him a welcome teacher. The concept of incremental progress through diligent practice of the fundamentals isn't new, but Waitzkin certainly gives it a fresh spin. (May 8)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Waitzkin, a champion in chess and martial arts, brings enthusiasm and obvious love of learning to this amazing look at what he aptly describes as the art of learning. He begins by recounting his own quirky journey. At the age of six, Waitzkin learned chess from a motley crew of street hustlers, gamblers, junkies, and artists. Since then, he has been among the highest-ranked chess players. He recounts the distractions of adolescence as well as fame after the publication of his father's book and, later, the film based on it, Searching for Bobby Fischer. He later discovered that chess principles could be applied to learning tai chi. In fact, he found a respect for artistry, meditation, and philosophical devotion within both chess and martial arts and realized the possibility for broader application to learning in general. Waitzkin integrates his personal experiences in mastering chess and tai chi with research on psychology and learning techniques to offer a vibrant and engaging look at the love of learning and the pursuit of excellence. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Choprah's self serving sales pitch in the back cover, "do less and accomplish more" makes no sense. Waitzkin, did the exact opposite, he plunged thousands of hours into what he loved body and soul.
The former issue was this...you know how sometimes you read an author teaching on a subject and it just clicks with you and your learning style? That's not me and this book. I'm not sure I can describe it, but something about the way Josh teaches and transmits information is not the way I receive and process it. Did I learn some things from this book? Sure. But I'm not sure it was really anything I hadn't already learned, it was just the same concepts phrased differently. Josh likes to create cutesy phrases to describe old concepts. Numbers to leave numbers, making smaller circles, etc... None of it for me was new and I kept waiting for the revelations, and instead I kept getting more of an education on Push Hands. I learned more about how the Taiwanese Federation cheats at structuring competitions than I did about 'the art of learning'.
Just my experience, hope yours is different.
Waitzkin strikes me as a likable, down-to-earth guy and is an engaging writer, giving you a privileged glance into the inner workings of his mind. Would recommend, if only for some on-paper camaraderie with a real life "prodigy" (though he hates that word).
Josh's teaching style and enthusiasm for his art reminds me of my Sifu. On the day I got this book, I read it until I fell asleep, unable to put it down. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for insight into human performance and learning in general.