Book Summary: The Art of Learning

Book: The Art of Learning

Author: Josh Waitzkin

Key takeaways: The author is obviously very accomplished in what he does (chess and push-hands martial art), and has some very interesting lessons on how he learned. A number of his lessons are focused on competitive environments, which is not how I perceive investing to be (though, of course, many people do). Nonetheless, there are some very useful lessons that Waitzkin talks about in the book.

Entity vs. Incremental mindset: This is not something that is special to this book but Waitzkin highlights it very well. Simply put, people with Entity mindset believe that they’re good at X but poor at Y, whereas people with Incremental mindset believe that they can learn things over time and/or by working more at it.

Using axioms as fuel for creative insight: I like to think of this as thinking in first principles, which allows one to look at logic in a clear fashion and glean insights, instead of the usual logical shortcuts that one would employ in everyday work.

Process-first philosophy as a crutch: I believe that I have been a culprit on this a few times. Waitzkin talks about the problem where people can transform the need of getting the process right into an excuse for never putting themselves on the line and pretend to not care about the results (which is really an excuse for not confronting themselves).

Need for reinvention: Sounds simple, but is something that is very hard to do in practice. One needs to occasionally take their game apart and reconstruct that machine to get better at what one does.





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