The Art of Learning

The Art of Learning

An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance

Book - 2008 | 1st Free Press trade pbk. ed. --
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In his riveting new book, The Art of Learning , Waitzkin tells his remarkable story of personal achievement and shares the principles of learning and performance that have propelled him to the top--twice.

Josh Waitzkin knows what it means to be at the top of his game. A public figure since winning his first National Chess Championship at the age of nine, Waitzkin was catapulted into a media whirlwind as a teenager when his father's book Searching for Bobby Fischer was made into a major motion picture. After dominating the scholastic chess world for ten years, Waitzkin expanded his horizons, taking on the martial art Tai Chi Chuan and ultimately earning the title of World Champion. How was he able to reach the pinnacle of two disciplines that on the surface seem so different? "I've come to realize that what I am best at is not Tai Chi, and it is not chess," he says. "What I am best at is the art of learning."

With a narrative that combines heart-stopping martial arts wars and tense chess face-offs with life lessons that speak to all of us, The Art of Learning takes readers through Waitzkin's unique journey to excellence. He explains in clear detail how a well-thought-out, principled approach to learning is what separates success from failure. Waitzkin believes that achievement, even at the championship level, is a function of a lifestyle that fuels a creative, resilient growth process. Rather than focusing on climactic wins, Waitzkin reveals the inner workings of his everyday method, from systematically triggering intuitive breakthroughs, to honing techniques into states of remarkable potency, to mastering the art of performance psychology.

Through his own example, Waitzkin explains how to embrace defeat and make mistakes work for you. Does your opponent make you angry? Waitzkin describes how to channel emotions into creative fuel. As he explains it, obstacles are not obstacles but challenges to overcome, to spur the growth process by turning weaknesses into strengths. He illustrates the exact routines that he has used in all of his competitions, whether mental or physical, so that you too can achieve your peak performance zone in any competitive or professional circumstance.

In stories ranging from his early years taking on chess hustlers as a seven year old in New York City's Washington Square Park, to dealing with the pressures of having a film made about his life, to International Chess Championships in India, Hungary, and Brazil, to gripping battles against powerhouse fighters in Taiwan in the Push Hands World Championships, The Art of Learning encapsulates an extraordinary competitor's life lessons in a page-turning narrative.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Free Press, 2008, c2007.
Edition: 1st Free Press trade pbk. ed. --
ISBN: 9780743277464
Characteristics: xxi, 265 p. : ill.


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Jan 16, 2018

The author gave us a front row seat to his path to become a world-class thinker. It was intriguing that he described the similarities between studying chess and winning in Tai Chi martial arts tournaments. His ideas on slowing down time and using injury setbacks to inspire deep growth were worth reading. Unfortunately, for the rest of us mere mortals who don't possess his intellectual chops or his high-functioning determination to become the best in the world in a narrow pursuit, it was unrealistic and occasionally tedious.

Sep 22, 2015

The art of learning is fun and quick read. It's an autobiography of someone who's quite young, yet who has accomplished some amazing things in his time.
I think it's safe to say that the subject of "Searching for Bobby Fisher" has a lot of interesting things to say about his time in Chess, Tai Chi, and learning in general.

It's a light read, and can be finished in one sitting. Certainly worth investing the time to read it all the way through.

Nov 01, 2014

I liked this book so much that I bought the audio version from audible so I could keep it forever, and reread it from time to time. I found it useful and interesting and inspiring.

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