May 29, 2007

The Art of Learning

I've been searching for a book like this for years: Josh Waitzkin's The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence. This book is absolutely brilliant! We all want to be excellent in something. To perform at the highest levels. This illustrates one path (Josh's path) to become great in any endeavor. I've about 4 1/2 pages of notes from this book. Here are some of the gems:
page 12 -- "[being] unhindered by internal conflict" is fundamental to the learning process

page 35 -- be careful about things that are easy, but very time consuming; he sites young chess players learning, memorizing Chess openings as an example -- not useful when the opponent is equal-or-better player than this Young Chess player, since most of the match will be focused on the midgame and endgame.

page 63 -- "...brilliant creations are often born of small errors."

page 107, 108, through out the book -- it is all about the Ego; if you are stuck in some plane of ability, unable to move further -- it is most like because of the Ego. Steve Pavlina's How to Get From a 7 to a 10 comes to mind. What that basically it says (Pavlina's article) is that when you are Good at something, to become Very Good, you might have to become Bad -- relearn some of the basics over again... Here is where you have to lose your Pride and not be afraid to look bad.

page 172 -- living in the present is the key: "we cannot touch excellence if 'going through the motions' is the norm of our lives"
Also the stories that Josh relates are very interesting and entertaining.