Best Books to Read: The Art of Learning (Josh Waitzkin)

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Josh Waitzkin is a former chess player and martial artist (a very interesting combination) and the book “The Art of Learning” is an encapsulation of all the ideas and theories that he’s gained over time.

Waitzkin started out as a chess prodigy, and the book “Searching for Bobby Fischer” is about his early life (and was written by his father). He won a couple of U.S. Junior Championships in chess, but eventually wanted to seek out a new challenge. This is when he discovered tai chi and the sport of push hands. While Waitzkin started out as a total beginner in both, he eventually worked his way up to becoming one of the best push hand fighters in the world (eventually winning the world championship in 2 divisions).

The Art of Learning describes everything that he has learned throughout his chess and martial arts career. The thing I found most interesting about the book is the connections that he was able to make between the two, even though they may seem like such different sports (one very physical, while the other is almost all mental). In addition to making connections between chess and martial arts, Waitzkin was also able to connect both of them back to his regular life. The book is called The Art of Learning because Waitzkin describes techniques that help you to learn any possible endeavor, not just the ones he has undertaken.

The ability to learn deeply and quickly is important for anything in life, and some of the greatest ideas are those that you can apply from one field to another. After reading The Art of Learning, I think any reader will be more equipped to learn any skill or practice that they desire!

The Art of Learning Recommendation Rating: 3

This post has now been updated to reflect a new ratings system that I have implemented, which is scored as follows:

1: Something worth checking out if you have time

2: Something that is a hit for some people, but not a must for everyone

3: Something worth prioritizing if interested

4: Something worth making time to check out

5: An absolute home run, worth going out of your way for


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