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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.
Top customer reviews
Even though I liked this book, I did not give it five stars because, weather or not his opinions on learning are correct or not, it is hard to say. There was no scientific evidence to support his ideas. Like I said, I liked the book and his ideas make sense. But they really need to be scientifically examined.
This is not the same as simply learning something.
It is a process to train yourself that you can do something right
without really thinking about it. For instance driving a car.
An experienced driver will be pressing the break even if he did not
see the accident coming.
He does not offer any quick fixes for people who want to become chess players or
martial arts fighters. Lots of exercise and utter determination is the only way
to get brilliant at anything.
One point deduction, because he appears to become bitter (I think) towards the end
when the fighting competition in Taiwan does not turn out quite the way he wanted.
And then Josh... what have you done with your live since?
Buy this book... it is short and you will get some understanding how the brain may work
from a layman's understanding.
The gist of it is "get obsessed and work super hard drilling things." That's certainly great advice, but I was looking for a bit more of a universal learning hack. A really tremendous resource for that is Tim Ferris' Four Hour Chef. It was more of the "how to learn faster" guide I was looking for.
That said, if you want a bit of a cerebral sports story that'll inspire you to get in those reps, give it a try.
I would (and have already) highly recommend this book.