The Art of Learning

  • by Josh Waitzkin
  • Narrated by Josh Waitzkin
  • 7 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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."
The Art of Learning takes listeners 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.
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 pause-resisting narrative.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I didn't ask for an autobiography

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who just want to listen to an autobiography of a successful chess player and push hands champion.

Would you ever listen to anything by Josh Waitzkin again?

Probably not. He might be a successful chess play and push hands champion but his story telling is dull.

What didn’t you like about Josh Waitzkin’s performance?

His descriptions of everyone were bland and the same. Everyone he meets is always amazing at what they do and he always gives them a bland and over the top description. The stories that he does tell are often quite boring and he seems to remember them in great detail, despite them happening some years ago. One particular example that stood out for me was a story about a guy in the rainforest who was almost killed by a large cat.

In addition, what few learning points exist in this book are lost inbetween Josh's reminiscing stories and I can't remember any practical methods that he suggests to achieve his methods. It's just, I was in situation 'x', so I did 'y' for hours on end, and got the result I wanted. Well thanks.

In addition, the book is based solely on his own experience with no academia to back him up. I did think he was going to touch on Self Determination Theory as early on in the book he uses the same keywords like flow, and incremental learning theory but it doesn't go anywhere.

And I guess the worst part is that having listened to the book, I'm struggling to remember anything useful to take home, which isn't great from a book that's supposed to teach you about learning.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It would be nice if you just wanted to listen to an autobiography of a successful individual.

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- Amazon Customer


Recommended by Tim Ferriss. Great if you're a fan of his and are interested in the process of learning told in a biology format. A fascinating life, climax got me almost teary. Very very profound and inspiring.
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Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-04-2014
  • Publisher: Tim Ferriss