- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 55 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Tim Ferriss
- Audible.com Release Date: April 1, 2014
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00JE2WEEK
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance Audiobook – Unabridged
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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.
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.
The most serious flaw is the somewhat misleading title. The author surprisingly doesn't give a lot of clear pointers on how to learn. If anyone is qualified to teach learning, it's Mr. Waitzkin. And he's fairly personable, so he should be able to communicate advice better than he does in this book. The real advice he gives could definitely could be clarified and condensed. I hope the author has identified this weakness and is working on it - I suspect he has given that he's in that arena now.
The second most nagging flaw is the vindictive tone that keeps recurring. He really gets harsh digs in and he names names. The story of his chess youth rehashes a lot of the one dimensional villain characters from the movie SFBF which I'd hoped were simply an insensitive plot device. A famous and respected chess instructor is also trashed on both a personal and professional level. I found a dig at an old philosophy professor nasty - accusing him of 'narcissistic academic literalism' when he questioned the author's cherished sacred cow 'intuition'. But that's what philosophy professors do since Wittgenstein - it's their job to help clarify vague language! The author should have recognized this challenge as legitimate and non-trivial.
Which brings to mind the last major flaw: the storytelling itself is relatively narcissistic. Without intending to do so, the author in very florid detail promotes himself as deep and artistic. He also seems very eager to spin competitive problems he has experienced, and this reader was left with the impression that he is so tormented by some past defeats that he can't accept them as just that and nothing more.
The main strength of the book is that it does give some useful advice! He gives tips such as focusing on simple skills rather than fancy ones, how to make injuries and setbacks as opportunities, how to get in a zone, how to be resilient, etc. I take him at his word since he clearly would have excelled in any competitive endeavor that caught his imagination. And the book was a pretty fun read. Despite my rough criticisms above, I find the author quite likeable. We all have our faults, and he's a good guy who really has the potential to help a lot of people if he can work on mastering this new art.
I'm glad I bought it and it's worth reading if you are involved in competitive endeavors that require determination. There is some real food for thought, and that's why I give it 4 stars despite all my reservations - you only need to learn one or two useful tips to make it worth the money! I'm not sure he ever succeeds in demonstrating that he simply isn't talented. Many of us have great willpower, intuition, and creativity. But practice as we may, we don't rise to the top of the pack. I consider him a demonstrated master of two fields who needs to work more yet on the art of teaching.