Book Review
The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey of Optimal Performance
by Josh Waitzkin

I savored every page of this book!

You may have heard of the book and movie Searching for Bobby Fischer about the child chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin. Josh won eight National Championships in chess. He then abandoned chess when the book (written by his father) caused a media frenzy around him.

Serendipitously, an introduction to Tai Chi Chuan then captivated his attention. He went on to earned a World Champion title in Tai Chi Chuan. In this book, he reveals the deep mental study with chess, then deep physical-spiritual study with Tai Chi.  He does a beautiful job writing about his experience.

Josh shares his learning journey through both arts. I resonate with his observations about Tai Chi as it is a sister art to my aikido practice. This is not a book about typical learning. This book is about deep study, observation, and training that is more profound than most people explore.

In his second act, Tai Chi, he reveals his insights and practices with mindfulness, investment in loss, making smaller circles, using adversity, slowing down time, and the illusion of the mystical.

It is about showing up with an empty cup, ready to absorb and learn, and accepting failure as growth. Smaller circles mean the movement is done more internally and not necessarily observable to a person watching. Being present–centered – where time seems to disappear. I feel blessed to have come across this book and that he shared his process. All these are principles I share in Spiral Impact.

I appreciate the level of focus and discipline he developed.  It is something I reach for!

This writing has inspired me as I prepare for another Dan test in my art, aikido.

I hope you enjoy it as much!  Karen