The Art of Learning – October 2015

About This Project

THE ART OF LEARNING, by Joshua Waitzkin
Selected by Max Mednik


“Joshua Waitzkin is a model for learning top performance across disparate fields. Not only was he the National Chess Champion whose life was the basis for the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer, but he also became the World Champion in Tai Chi Chuan and a devoted husband and father. His book The Art of Learning captures many parts of his philosophy and practical methodology for learning and mastering new skills. The stories range from his early years taking on chess hustlers as a seven year old in New York City to dealing with the pressures of having a film made about his life to International Chess Championships in India, Hungary, and Brazil to gripping Tai Chi battles in the World Championships in Taiwan. Magicians who seek to constantly learn, improve, and strive for mastery of their craft will find a lot of inspiration and wisdom in Joshua’s story.”
– Max Mednik


About the Book
In his book The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance, Joshua Waitzkin tells an amazing story of personal achievement and shares the principles of learning and performance that have propelled him to the top–twice. The narrative combines martial arts wars and tense chess face-offs with universal life lessons. He explains in clear detail how a thoughtful, principled approach to learning is what separates success from failure. Waitzkin believes that achievement, even at the championship level, is a function of a lifestyle that fuels a creative, resilient growth process. Waitzkin reveals the inner workings of his everyday method, from systematically triggering intuitive breakthroughs, to honing techniques into states of remarkable potency, to mastering the art of performance psychology.


About the Author
Joshua Waitzkin is an American chess player, martial arts competitor, and author. As a child, he was recognized as a prodigy. A public figure since winning his first National Chess Championship at the age of nine, Waitzkin was became truly famous as a teenager when his father’s book Searching for Bobby Fischer was made into a major motion picture. After dominating the world of chess for ten years, Waitzkin started a new journey into the martial art Tai Chi Chuan, ultimately earning the title of World Champion.