The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin. A Review. Book 12 out of 52

“In my experience, successful people shoot for the stars, put their hearts on the line in every battle, and ultimately discover that the lessons

learned from the pursuit of excellence mean much more than the immediate trophies and glory” – Josh Waitzkin

I did not think that I would glean as much as I did from a book about chess. Granted, I understand that there is a lot one can learn from game theory. No, not just the mathematical conflict models, the actual practice of playing games with others. Perhaps it is in part my desire to be the best at whatever I am doing. It could also be that my drive is based more on the overall success and not just the momentary ones.

Regardless of what my idea was about this book, it provided a ton of introspection as Waitzkin walked through the trials and tribulation of striving for excellence. Not just with chess, but with martial arts as well. The parallels and similarities drive through and through this book. I think that I am going to need to revisit this one once my 2018 reading challenge is over. There is more to pull from this.

All in all I would give The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin a 3.5 out of 5. Lower than most would expect, but based purely on the fact that I am going to have to re-read it to understand it a little more.

Day 9: Education

Sure, let’s take a simple, single word, education, and see if I can dive deep into it.  Eh, I like a challenge.

Education has a strange parallel meaning for me, both with different appearances.

First, and most common is the level of institutional instruction that you have achieved. To be honest and completely frank, I have met people whom have graduated from Ivy League schools with a PHD or an MD that would not know diamonds from coal. They abhorrently tote “When I was at [insert school name here]…” into every conversation, even when it does not fit the discussion. When they finally see themselves falling, their go to is often “Well I do not know what they taught you where you went to school, but at [insert school name here]…” as a laughable defense. As a brutal juxtaposition, I have met individuals that never graduated from High School that can out class, out think, and out solve the rest of them. For me, I never care about where you went to school. That just tells me something about the lot that you drew in life.

I care more about what you know.

That is the second meaning. How much does one know? Often we call this “street-smarts”. But, I never found that phrasing to be akin to the full depth of education. As we careen through this life, standing atop this blue marble we call earth, we learn things. Sometimes out of our own experience, sometimes from what others go through. What we learn from every interaction, event, tragedy, fortune, every step we take shapes us. It gives us knowledge that we did not have before, and the ability to call on something when we need to. This is the most important version of education. It is not something that we can show with a plaque on the wall. This is the education which is shown by the scars on our backs, hands, feet, and knees.

It is this second meaning of education that I strive to instill in my children.

It drips from the words that I speak. At every turn, education emboldens the actions that I take. It is this education that is the reason behind the words that I have been closing each post with, for some time now.

Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.


We have been storing water in this thin bottle in our fridge. Z loves getting her own cup from a lower cabinet and filling it herself. It’s worth the added collection of cups that accumulate in the living room for her to be so excited about doing it herself. I also have some control since she can’t open the fridge door yet.