The Art Of Learning – Waitzkin

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One of the most influential books that I’ve read. The Art of Learning is a beautifully simple book written with clarity.

Not being an author by profession, Josh Waitzkin doesn’t try fluff his writing up. He gets to the point and tells a good story along the way.

Quotes

  • “I would follow his subtle instruction and suddenly my hand would come alive with throbbing energy as if he had plugged me into a soothing electrical current. His insight into body mechanics seemed magical, but perhaps equally impressive was Chen’s humility. Here was a man thought by many to be the greatest living Tai Chi Master in the world, and he patiently taught first-day novices with the same loving attention he gave his senior students. “
  • “I became a protegee of the street, hard to rattle a feisty competitor. It was a bizarre school for a child, a rough crowd of alcoholics, homeless geniuses, wealthy gamblers hooked on the game, junkies, eccentric artists – all diamonds in the rough, brilliant, beat men, lives in shambles, aflame with a passion for chess. “
  • “Despite significant outside pressure, my parents and Bruce decided to keep me out of tournaments until I had been playing chess for a year or so, because they wanted my relationship to the game to be about learning and passion first, and competition a distant second. “
  • “Confidence is critical for a great competitor, but overconfidence is brittle. We are too smart for ourselves in such moments.”
  • “In my opinion, the answer to both questions lies in a well thought out approach that inspires resilience, the ability to make connections between diverse pursuits and day to day enjoyment of the process.”
  • “Children who are “entity theorists” – that is, kids who have been influenced by their parents and teachers to think in this manner – are prone to use language like “I am smart at this” and to attribute their success or failure to an ingrained and unalterable level of ability. “
  • “A child with a learning theory of intelligence tends to sense that with hard work, difficult material can be grasped – step by step, incrementally, the novice can become the master.”
  • “What is compelling about this is that the results have nothing to do with intelligence level. Very smart kids with entity theories tend to be far more brittle when challenged than kids with learning theories who would be considered not quite as sharp. In fact, some of the brightest kids prove to be the most vulnerable to becoming helpless, because they feel the need to live up to and maintain a perfectionist image that is easily and inevitably shattered.”
  • “So a kid aces a math test, comes home, and hears “Wow, that’s my boy! As smart as they come!” Then next week, after Johnny fails an English test and hears “What’s wrong with you? Can’t you read” or “Your mummy never liked reading either – obviously, its not your thing.” So the boy figures he’s good at maths and bad at English, and what’s more, he links success and failure to ingrained ability.”

sebastiankade

Sebastian Kade, Founder of Sumry and Author of Living Happiness, is a software designer and full-stack engineer. He writes thought-provoking articles every now and then on sebastiankade.com

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