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The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance Paperback – May 27, 2008
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"We all remember the portrayal of Josh Waitzkin in Searching for Bobby Fischer. He was a very impressive child who continues to impress with The Art of Learning. Through a unique set of experiences, Waitzkin has formed an original and outstanding perspective. From chess to Tai Chi, he provides tools that allow all of us to improve ourselves every day." -- Cal Ripken, Jr., 2007 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee
"Waitzkin's in-depth look into the mental side of his success in both chess and martial arts is an inspiring and absorbing read. I strongly recommend it for anyone who lives in a world of competition, whether it's sports or business or anywhere else. It's also a great training tool for kids aspiring to reach the pinnacle of their chosen fields." -- Mark Messier, 6-time Stanley Cup Champion
"Josh Waitzkin's The Art of Learning is a testimonial to the timeless principle of 'do less and accomplish more.' Highly recommended for those who want to understand the power of consciousness." -- Deepak Chopra
"Absolutely brilliant immersion into the phenomenon of human mastery. Waitzkin brings laser clarity and penetrating insights into the delicate mind, body, spirit interactions fundamental to extraordinary achievement in most any area of life. This is a journey worth taking." -- Jim Loehr, Chairman and CEO, The Human Performance Institute, and coauthor, The Power of Full Engagement
"The Art of Learning succeeds on every level, combining a truly compelling auto-biography with profound philosophical and psychological insights all wrapped in a practical how-to framework. This is a must-read for anyone wishing to achieve that rare combination of success and fulfillment." -- Paul Blease, SVP, Director, Team Development & Consulting, Citigroup Smith Barney
About the Author
- Item Weight : 8.6 ounces
- Paperback : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780743277464
- ISBN-13 : 978-0743277464
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.44 inches
- Publisher : Free Press; 37102nd edition (May 27, 2008)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 0743277465
- Best Sellers Rank: #19,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I'm very glad that I picked up this book, because it has truly inspired me.
What people are missing is that Josh is not bragging about the level he achieved in chess. The point he was making was that, even though he was a child chess prodigy, the style of learning and teaching had held him back from being the very best in his profession. Having been paired up with coaches that taught chess in a very rigid and forceful way, and not being able to deal with the stress of change or pressure eventually became overwhelming to him. It was only later in his life when he took on martial arts that he was able to apply his own theories and philosophies on learning, taking micro to macro steps, cultivating a foundation for learning rather then forcing structure. Through his experiment on self learning, he was able to take a brand new skill set, and evolve into a world level competitor in a shockingly short amount of time.
I know that everybody can benefit from this book and it's contents. It really does have the formula to take you from mediocre to a high level performer but be warned, the techniques are not a quick fix solution. It's about taking a skill set, breaking it down to simple steps, then breaking down the simple steps down into micro steps (micro steps being the foundation of the skill sets) and then practicing those micro steps to perfection before moving back to the macro steps and so fourth where you can finally put everything together.
If you are looking to develop you skills or talent in your career, a martial artist, a musician etc.. it's about breaking apart everything you know, and starting over from the foundation-up to build the steps that will eventually help you evolve into a top performer.
personally, i don't have much respect for tai chi in terms of it being an effective martial arts for self-defense, but josh waitzkin is also a marcelo garcia black belt in brazilian jiu jitsu which is no accolade to scoff at. between that and his chess accomplishments i expected some insightful approaches to learning, but it's honestly a boring memoir w/ mediocre writing.
do yourself a favor and skim through the 1 star reviews as they sum up my sentiment on this book pretty well. deceptive title, no groundbreaking insights on learning. you'll see mine posted up and available on the 'used books' section soon enough.
Top reviews from other countries
I didn't get a lot practical advice that I didn't already know from this, though I admit someone new to this kind of content may well benefit. BUT, if I were still operating in a competitive environment, be it in sport or work, I would find this book much more applicable. A lot revolves around conquering an adversary through conquering the self. I do find that the "art of learning" as a title is a bit of misnomer. Also, Waitzkin often gets very detailed with his chess and tai chi examples and they do not, in my opinion, translate well to the written word or to someone who has little experience with either of these practices.
It would be very easy to write a lot this book of as unspecific and non-actionable however i think that is just wrong. What you have to understand is that this is a very nuanced topic. Since the focus is on very advanced high level performance. If you are thinking about getting to the top 10% of your field this book perhaps isn't for you, however for those going beyond, it will certainly have more relevance.
Josh does talk about other rituals that you will create to get into the zone but they are not always practical and can take much longer depending on the routine you create for yourself, such as periods of medidtation, breathing, and walking around. To get yourself into peak performance state within seconds I would recommend Dennis Waitely Winning, and or Tony Robbins Personal Power.
But other than that don't let this put you off its a great entertaining read especially his story/journey, can spark some insights if you compete at competition level in any field you will be able to relate to some of the principles in your own field