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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.
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
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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.
The book is a great read, written well and is enjoyable throughout reading all of it.
It teaches how to apply rules to get to the top. Deliberate practice broken into steps.
This is a story of a true champion. A person which is both a pro in chess and martial arts. The main idea of it is how to get there. The writer simply tells which actions needs to be performed in order to achieve master-ship in every subject.
I would recommend this book to anyone which wants to improve their learning habits by breaking the micros into the macros.
A bit differenent from a man who won world championship by breaking up the rules.....
The autobiographical part is interesting, but self-indulgent. Personally, I would not have wanted to read it on its own.
The "how-to" part--the author's insights about learning weaved through the memoir--is thinner, sometimes abstract, and while clear, not always of obvious benefit across fields. Nevertheless, I found some of the ideas he shares fascinating, useful, and new. These insights, for me, made the book worthwhile.