The Art of Learning

An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance

Joshua Waitzkin


Part I - The Foundation

Chapter 1 - Innocent Moves

Chapter 2 - Losing to Win

Chapter 3 - Two Approaches to Learning

Entity theorists vs. learning theorists.

Entity theorists associate their identity and self-worth to their skill level.

Learning theorists thrive on the process of learning, on the incremental growth, and on the underlying effort.

Chapter 4 - Loving the Game

"Of course there were plateaus, periods where my results leveled off while I internalized the information necessary for my next growth spurt, but I didn't mind."

Chapter 5 - The Soft Zone

"Mental resilience is arguably the most critical trait of a world-class performer, and it should be nurtured continuously."[...]"When uncomfortable, my instinct is not to avoid the discomfort but to become at peace with it."

Chapter 6 - The Downward Spiral

"The importance of regaining presence and clarity of mind after making a serious error."

Chapter 7 - Changing Voice

Thinking beyond one's sensations and emotions

Leveraging one's intuitions

Playing the player, not only the game

Chapter 8 - Breaking Stallions

Learning antagonist perspectives from the way like-minded people successfully dealt with the same struggle: "learning Karpov from Kasparov"

"I have found that if we feed the unconscious, it will discover connections between what may appear to be disparate realities."

Part II - My Second Art

Chapter 9 - Beginner's Mind

Chapter 10 - Investment in Loss

"It is important to [...] allow yourself protected period for cultivation."[...]"It is essential to have a liberating *incremental* approach that allows for times when you are not in a peak performance state."

Chapter 11 - Making Smaller Circles

Depth over breadth.

"The learning principle is to plunge into the detailed mystery of the micro in order to understand what makes the macro tick."[...]"It is rarely a mysterious technique that drives us to the top, but rather a profound mastery of what may well be a basic skillset."

Chapter 12 - Using Adversity

"After these periods of reflection, I'll almost invariably have a leap in ability."[...]"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."

Chapter 13 - Slowing Down Time

"Once we reach a certain level of expertise at a given discipline and our knowledge is expansive, the critical issue becomes: how is all this stuff navigated and put to use?"

Chapter 14 - The Illusion of the Mystical

Part III - Bringing it All Together

Chapter 15 - The Power of Presence

Chapter 16 - Searching for the Zone

"The physiologists at LGE [the Human Performance Institute] had discovered that in virtually every discipline, one of the most telling features of a dominant performer is the routine use of recovery periods. Players who are able to relax in brief moments of inactivity are almost always the ones who end up coming through when the game is on the line."

Chapter 17 - Building your Trigger

"If you get into a frenzy anticipating the moment that will decide your destiny, then when it arrives you will be overwrought with excitement and tension. To have success in crunch time, you need to integrate certain healthy patterns into your day-to-day life so that they are completely natural to you when the pressure is on."

Chapter 18 - Making Sandals

"To walk a thorny road, we may cover its every inch with leather or we can make sandals."

Chapter 19 - Bringing It All Together

Chapter 20 - Taiwan