Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Review: The Art of Learning

When I mentioned to a friend that I was reading the book The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin, she asked why. "Is there anything you don't know about learning?"

I think of myself as reasonably smart, but I used that gift to get through school. As an adult, I have come to understand the value of leveraging my strengths and therefore look for small improvements on things I do well. 

Is there anything I don't know about learning?  Since I don't know what I don't know, all I can do is assume there is. 

As Waitzkin points out:

"..:there are clear distinctions between what it takes to be decent, what it takes to be good, what it takes to be great, and what it takes to be among the best. If your goal is to be mediocre, then you have a considerable margin for error."

I was particularly intrigued by a 3 step approach to resilient, self-sufficient performance. 

1. Flow with the distraction, like a blade of grass bending to the wind. 

2. Use the distraction, inspiring ourselves with what initially would have thrown us off our games. 

3. Recreate the inspiring settings internally. 

The book covers developing mental skills, especially focus, to compete at elite and world-class levels as illustrated by the author's experiences in two different competitive arenas.