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The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to…
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The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Josh Waitzkin

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414825,667 (4.01)4
Member:fakelvis
Title:The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance
Authors:Josh Waitzkin
Info:Free Press (2008), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence by Josh Waitzkin (2007)

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Though I did enjoy the ideas introduced in the book, I was disappointed to find it was much more of a personal memoir dearth of evidence supported by research and data. ( )
  LaPhenix | Mar 22, 2017 |
I was absolutely riveted and inspired. ( )
  RobVel | Jan 20, 2017 |
As a memoir of prodigious chess play and world championship tai chi, this is an interesting book. As a practical or theoretical approach to learning, the book is lacking. "Learning" in the title is misleading; the book's focus is attaining mastery of skill evidenced through elite competition, interleaved with accounts of the author's competitive experience. Anecdotes and abstractions outweigh concrete, structured principles of learning or mastery. That being said, the author's insights into learning are valid, just not well defined or easily practicable. ( )
  stonecrops | May 18, 2016 |
I read about half of the book and then reviewed what all I had learnt. In conclusion I stopped reading after that.

I kept a notepad side-by-side and went through the list of points. I found one point quite beautiful about learning and losing which I'm going to try and implement. The rest was all stuff that I already knew.

The author has done a good job of writing down his experiences. If you're curious about how it feels to be a top level chess player and what all he goes through then you will love this book. My own focus was on gaining something about our learning mechanism that I could utilize for my own personal needs. I felt that most of the points were either based on Asian philosophy (many points of which I disagree with) and many points were limited to the chess world. The author did mention that he tried to extract whatever general learning he could from his experiences but I felt that the points that he mentions still mostly apply to the chess world.

Overall an interesting read. The most fun thing I saw was my ability to stop the book half-way-through and retain my energies for a different boko rather than push myself through to the end and then lose my self-control for a few days.

Can't wait to start reading the next book again! ( )
  MugenHere | Jul 12, 2015 |
The Art of Learning is an excellent book. It has been criticized for its lack of practical value, but to me that seems like a non-issue. The book digs into the underlying principles instead of offering shallow tips and tricks, and most of all inspires one forward. The thing about learning is that it's not just about technique - it's more about wanting to learn, about integrating learning into one's way of life. Being the best in the world is no use if the training leaves one unhappy and too exhausted to continue. This is one of the many central points that Josh makes in the book, as he describes his way to work hard without making it feel like working hard.

The practical advice that Josh actually gives is also sound. He talks about building on a strong foundation of internalized fundamentals, and working hard with incrementally building one's skills. He reminds to always work at the edge of one's capabilities and to not to get stuck in the comfort zone. These are all important and widely applicable principles. There's also interesting talk of how to practically turn one's emotions into strength and how to approach stressful situations, an issue that every one of use struggles with.

The book is also a story of how one exceptional young man came to find greatness, and very inspirational as such. Josh has a way of describing chess and martial arts battles that makes the situations come alive in the head of the reader, and the vivid images serve to spice up the book and make it more memorable. There are great personalities among Josh's friends, foes and teachers, each giving the book a bit more character. All in all, this is certainly one tale nobody should miss. ( )
  Hectigo | Aug 13, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
One has to investigate the principle in one thing or one event exhaustively . . . Things and the self are governed by the same principle. If you understand one, you understand the other, for the truth within and the truth without are identical. - Er Cheng Yishu, 11th century
Dedication
For my mom,

my hero,

Bonnie Waitzkin
First words
Forty seconds before round two, and I'm lying on my back trying to breathe.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743277465, Paperback)

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."

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.

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:07 -0400)

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