Things everybody should read: The Art of Learning

If I had to create a list of books for everyone to read, which is basically what I’m doing with this series of posts. The Art of learning would be in my top 5.

This book needs to be required reading at school, that is how good it is. I wish I knew about it earlier in my life it would have made studying and learning things easier.

The overview with minimum spoilerage …

The author, Josh Waitzkin was a childhood chess prodigy. The movie Searching for Bobby Fisher was based on his life. The first part of the book gives an overview of his childhood and his journey with chess. He talks about his development and his experiences with different coaches and coaching styles. He later talks about his other pursuits after chess. Learning, competing and winning at Tai chi push hands (it’s a pretty serious sport in Asia). He talks about how he applied what he learnt and learnt about himself in chess to tai chi and later to other skills. The second part of the book is more of a how to. It gives a more step by step approach to developing your own process, but still in a story format which keeps it engaging and practical at the same time.

Josh Waitzkin is a good story teller and I was really engaged in the book while reading it. I have reread this book at least 3 times each time learning something new. I get bored easily when reading so being able to reread it must say something about the story. This book is essential for any student or teacher (a teacher is first a student after all).

My personal experience was profound. I found indicators in my daily life and habits that showed me the best way that I learn things and take in information. We never get taught how to learn and this is in my opinion the most important thing to learn, but is the hardest thing to teach. You have to guide the persons own process of discovery, which is filled with trial and error. If we optimize the learning process we can learn faster, more efficiently and more.

So If you are a student, teacher, athlete, parent, artist, business person, whoever…


by Llewellyn Morkel