Book Review: The Art of Learning

Book Review by Richard Rolapp

Students sometimes look ahead towards graduation as the chance to forsake education and focus on building their professional career. Josh Waitzkin challenges this idea of compartmentalized learning by describing his experience in two different, yet interconnected fields: competitive chess and martial arts.

Waitzkin’s experiences prove to readers that regardless of age, position, trade, or background, everyone can implement small lifestyle changes and paradigm shifts to increase his or her potential for learning and growth. Waitskin takes readers on a journey around the world where his passion for learning and achievement push him to become an eight-time national chess champion and world champion of the martial art Tai Chi Chuan. Using psychological research as a foundation for his methods, Waitzkin shares practical techniques to improve mental and physical performance, then demonstrates those methods with personal anecdotes of the success and failure that he experienced while competing in chess and Tai Chi Chuan.

Waitzkin’s message provides practical advice to anyone who wants to improve their mental, physical, or psychological performance. From athletes to CEOs, the techniques Waitzkin shares can help anyone who is striving for success. However, the focus of the Waitzkin’s book is not just to provide self-help tips for high-achieving individuals. Rather, Waitskin argues that individual growth and lifelong learning are key components of a fulfilling life. He pushes readers to appreciate daily opportunities for learning, and emphasizes that success and happiness emerge in an appreciation for simplicity and the hidden richness of life.

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