The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance
Amazon.com Price: $12.29 (as of 10/04/2023 11:19 PST- Details)
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 once catapulted into a media whirlwind as a teenager when his father’s book Searching for Bobby Fischer was once 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 in the long run earning the title of World Champion. How was once 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’s 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 an approach to life that fuels a creative, resilient growth process. Slightly than focusing on climactic wins, Waitzkin reveals the inner workings of his on a regular basis 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 give you the results you want. Does your opponent make you angry? Waitzkin describes how to channel emotions into creative fuel. As he explains it, obstacles don’t seem to be 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 can too 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 bizarre competitor’s life lessons in a page-turning narrative.