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The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance Paperback – May 27 2008


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The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance + Daily Rituals: How Artists Work + Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (May 27 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743277465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743277464
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.2 x 1.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Ponnambalam on Feb. 1 2010
Format: Paperback
First of all, I am not a viral marketer, which is what I assume all 5 star reviews are.

If you are one of those people who reads biographies of exceptional individuals trying to extract wisdom to apply to your own life and circumstances then I highly recommend this book to you. It is loaded with concepts that you can take and start personalizing to meet your own ends. If you are a seasoned self-help/lifestyle veteran like myself then I would still recommend this book for the nuggets.

If you want concrete, step by step paths that require small amounts of introspection, then look elsewhere. If you want an amusing story with boatloads of applicability via intense, and most importantly, honest introspection then pick this up immediately.

It is in my top 5 of all of my self-help/lifestyle purchases, perhaps top 3.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas on June 16 2013
Format: Paperback
Review courtesy of www.subtleillumination.com

“My whole life I had studied techniques, principles, and theory until they were integrated into the unconscious.” – Josh Waitzkin

Joshua Waitzkin was national chess champion in the U.S. 8 times, inspiring the movie “Searching for Bobby Fischer,” and more recently has earned two world champion titles in Pushing Hands, the martial arts version of Tai Chi. It’s fair to say that he knows something about learning.

Quite a bit of The Art of Learning is devoted to Waitzkin’s career in both chess and pushing hands, and unfortunately though enjoyable it is perhaps a bit short on wisdom. Interspersed with that, however, are discussions of how he sees the learning process and the principles he believes underlie expertise in any discipline.

Waitzkin introduces a few vague lists of principles, but in essence argues the key to excellence is the gradual mastery of fundamental principles, over time interlinked into complexity and integrated into our subconscious. The key to such learning is to take the small things you learn and ‘chunk’ them into larger ideas in your memory, ensuring efficient storage and retrieval. As a result, an expert martial artist and a beginner actually perceive different things. A complicated strike may be made up of six parts, but an expert perceives it as one moderately fast attack. The beginner, on the other hand, sees six different moves, all blindingly fast. Mastery of the fundamentals can actually change not just how you perform an event but also how you perceive an event.

Once you’ve achieved this chunking of basic concepts into complicated ones, he argues, you start achieving the deeper mastery critical for progress, and the correct decision can even seem intuitive.
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By Dr Lisa Simpson on May 23 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book on a suggestion from a friend, and it was a good choice! I enjoyed the way this book was written, with autobiography and lessons all in one. Worth the read for sure, and I find myself referring back to it (mentally) all the time.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Josh Waitzkin's book is full of insights and very hard to put down. I would recommend it for anyone trying to understand effective learning patterns.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Josh's story is wonderful to read, and his insights are applicable to almost any discipline. I give it five stars.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good book on the art of high performance. No hack or shortcut, Josh's book is about how to make superior performance possible - when spending the effort to get in the top performers.
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