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One of the books that has had the biggest influence in my life is "The Art of Learning" by Josh Waitzkin, the child chess prodigy of "Searching for Bobby Fischer" fame.


My experience was the complete opposite. I genuinely do not understand why this book is recommended. It's been years since I've read it but whenever i see it recommended it irritates me. Especially as people who do never list anything of actual significance that's to do with learning, other than clichés.

You're not the first person who has told me that.

It's been ~5 years since I read it, so I can't remember too many specifics. I was ~6 months into starting to learn to program and I think I would have probably given up if I hadn't read Waitzkin's book. He talks about how certain people tend to give on something if they struggle in order to protect their intelligence, to keep from feeling stupid or like a failure. It may be common sense but it's something that really clicked with me as I realized that it was something that I had done my whole life up until that point.

I kept going and eventually made a career transition into engineering. But something else happened that was actually much more important, and that was that I developed a much deeper understanding of and appreciation for the whole learning process. I was so tuned in to the whole thing that I would have these insights where I would I could pinpoint almost all of the things he talks about in the book in my personal experience. Years later, I’m able to make parallels in my present experience to all the things I experienced then, which in many cases provides some encouragement because I know I’m on the right path.

What are some key learnings you got from that book?

I heard the audio book version, which was read by the author, and found it to be an excellent piece of literature. Highly recommend it to anybody.

Big takeaways for myself are the differences in what it takes to be "good", "great", and "among the best"

Also, once you become a master at something, then your opponents are more or less equally matched to you, and the final winner comes down to psychology

And, don't stick to one thing for too long if you don't want to. Put it down when you're finished, and begin mastering something else that's more fun / interesting.

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