Like many of us, Thomas M Sterner was enrolled in music lessons when he was a child. He was not an amazing prodigy and he didn t enjoy the lessons any more than the rest of us did. Fortunately, Sterner s love for music was strong enough that he eventually returned to his study of piano and became a successful musician. Love of music, however, doesn t account for his success as a piano technician, responsible for providing perfect instruments for performances by world-class musicians. Nor does love of music explain his success on the golf course. The common denominator in these endeavors is practice, and the point made by Sterner in this book is that Everything in life worth achieving requires practice .... [Practice is] a process which settles all areas in your life and promotes proper perspective on all of life s difficulties. As the author explains, everything we do is practice; why not embrace this and learn strategies and mindsets that allow us to practice effectively? It will come as no surprise that Sterner urges us to break our addiction to multitasking and instant gratification. Mindfulness, attention to detail, and being in the moment are terms we ve all heard and most of us can agree that a single point of attention greatly improves the chances of mastering any task. Sterner, who deliberately set out to determine the mechanics leading to mastery, provides some insight into how we can go about breaking the habit of distraction by changing and broadening our perspective. In keeping with the idea of simplicity and focus, the author admits that there are not many ideas in this book. Happily it doesn t take many ideas to uncover a workable truth, and anecdotes from Sterner s own life seem to confirm that he has pinpointed a finely workable idea. One of the most interesting sections of the book deals with his conscious decision to work as slowly as possible on a day when he felt fractured and rushed. Preparing pianos for performances is a job that, to most of us, seems unbearably tedious. Sterner s determination to create even more tedium and delay is, he admits, counter-intuitive; yet by denying haste, he finds that he is able to accomplish his work better and in even less time than usual. Sterner s voice is sincere, his advice grounded in believable and valuable experience. In The Practicing Mind, he shows us how to incorporate mindfulness in ways we all can emulate. He suggests exercises to aid in the process of practice, and demonstrates the joy of discipline. Thomas Sterner is a man who finds lessons in real life, an ordinary master of life, the amiable guru next door from whom we can borrow butter or wisdom, as we choose. --Deborah Adams, reviewer for Bookpleasures --Deborah Adams, Reviewer for Bookpleasures
In a society of immediate gratification, Thomas M. Sterner's book THE PRACTICING MIND almost parodies itself. Designed to be a primer for slowing down, becoming more aware of the present moment, and increasing self-discipline and focus, Sterner's brilliance shines through in the brevity of this complex book's pages. Less than a hundred pages long, this tiny but intense book delivers enough information to contemplate and apply for a lifetime. THE PRACTICING MIND enables those of us immersed in the Western world's constant motion and hubbub to slow down, check within, and grow. The nine chapters detail in depth the steps to mastering any skill or achieving any goal. Sterner clearly explains, through the use of colorful, vivid examples, how mastery comes from practice through repetition - whether we're talking about learning a new habit, achieving a professional goal, or improving one's golf game. Each chapter begs to be mulled over, internalized, and applied. The principles sometimes overlap, enabling the reader to make deeper connections and realizations as they progress. In a gentle and encouraging manner, Sterner not only illuminates the "how's" - the process - he also enables the reader to see that not only are growth and change possible, but "with deliberate and repeated effort, progress is inevitable." This book is already a favorite of mine, highlighted and scribbled in, and slowly, patiently, I'm witnessing the result of reading this material in my daily life. This book is a must-read for anybody who is tired of today's widely accepted non-stop frenetic pace, for anybody sick of feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and out of balance, or for anybody who wouldn't even know where to find the roses, much less bother to take the time to stop and smell them. --Tammy Cook, Reviewer for Roundtable Reviews --Tammy Cook, Reviewer for Roundtable Reviews
From the Inside Flap
In those times when we want to acquire a new skill or face a formidable challenge we hope to overcome, what we need most are patience, focus, and discipline, traits that seem elusive or difficult to maintain. In this enticing and practical book, Thomas Sterner demonstrates how to learn skills for any aspect of life, from golfing to business to parenting, by learning to love the process.
Early life is all about trial-and-error practice. If we had given up in the face of failure, repetition, and difficulty, we would never have learned to walk or tie our shoes. So why, as adults, do we often give up on a goal when at first we don’t succeed? Modern life’s technological speed, habitual multitasking, and promises of instant gratification don’t help. But in his study of how we learn (prompted by his pursuit of disciplines such as music and golf), Sterner has found that we have also forgotten the principles of practice the process of picking a goal and applying steady effort to reach it. The methods Sterner teaches show that practice done properly isn’t drudgery on the way to mastery but a fulfilling process in and of itself, one that builds discipline and clarity.
By focusing on process, not product,” you’ll learn to live in each moment, where you’ll find calmness and equanimity. This book will transform a sense of futility around learning something challenging into an attitude of pleasure and willingness.