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on 16 January 2016
Probably one of the most engaging books I've ever read. The potentials it presents are genuinely inspiring and I look forward to applying the principles. As a literary work, it reads well and flows comfortably. I devoured it in record time. Can't recommend it enough.
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on 14 November 2017
This is one of the most inspirational books I have read in a long time. Waitzkin’s writing is well paced and compelling; the opportunity to learn from the book is a gift. We learn how success is born of determination, flexibility, incremental learning and extraordinary hard work.
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on 4 June 2017
Will read this again
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on 22 April 2017
Cracking read with a lot of good info. Like the anecdotal style
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on 10 June 2017
Great book
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on 4 February 2015
Review courtesy of www.subtleillumination.com

Joshua Waitzkin was national chess champion in the U.S. 8 times, inspiring the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer," and more recently has earned two world champion titles in Pushing Hands, the martial arts version of Tai Chi. It's fair to say that he knows something about learning.

Waitzkin introduces a few vague lists of principles, but in essence argues the key to excellence is the gradual mastery of fundamental principles, over time interlinked into complexity and integrated into our subconscious. The key to such learning is to take the small things you learn and `chunk' them into larger ideas in your memory, ensuring efficient storage and retrieval. As a result, an expert martial artist and a beginner actually perceive different things. A complicated strike may be made up of six parts, but an expert perceives it as one moderately fast attack. The beginner, on the other hand, sees six different moves, all blindingly fast. Mastery of the fundamentals can actually change not just how you perform an event but also how you perceive an event.

Once you've achieved this chunking of basic concepts into complicated ones, he argues, you start achieving the deeper mastery critical for progress, and the correct decision can even seem intuitive. Studies of chess grandmasters, for example, have shown they do not see many moves farther ahead than weaker players. Instead, they have an intuition on which moves may be best, and so though they study the same number of possible moves, they study better quality ones.

Given Waitzkin's success, the book is certainly inspirational, and mixed in with the story of his life are a few seeds of wisdom. The book won't rock your world, or at least it didn't rock mine, but it is an easy read and at times insightful.
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on 6 April 2017
To me this is an example of a really solid non-fiction book as it tells a lot and explores many concepts through stories in and around Josh's life. It is well written but perhaps misses some elements of practical application.

It would be very easy to write a lot this book of as unspecific and non-actionable however i think that is just wrong. What you have to understand is that this is a very nuanced topic. Since the focus is on very advanced high level performance. If you are thinking about getting to the top 10% of your field this book perhaps isn't for you, however for those going beyond, it will certainly have more relevance.
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on 13 May 2017
This book is actually very clever. It tells stories that you identify with, that you internalise, and then leads you slightly past where you were before, to the steps that lead to excellence.
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on 26 September 2017
I liked the first 3 or 4 chapters whilst also thinking "Where is this going?", then from around chapter 5 I really enjoyed this book and began to see how the first few chapters were laying a foundation. It isn't a "How to" book and you need to dig a little deeper to find the lessons but they are there and worth considering.
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on 31 August 2016
Fascinating book that I really enjoyed working
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