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The Art of Learning November 19, 2007

Posted by ActiveEngine Sensei in Books, Coaching, Personal Development, Uncategorized.

Hard work, repetition and analysis all comprise the inner workings of an ActiveEngine. There is no better example than Josh Waiztkin, chess Grand Master and martial arts champion. His book, The Art of Learning details his approach to creating the foundation for a learning machine and high performance in the realms of chess and sports.

You’ll find quickly that Josh spends very little time dwelling on talent; rather, it is the time spent on basics and constant analysis of results that has fueled his success, illustrated by the anecdotes of his tournaments. He studies basics in order to internalize them, make them second nature, and recall them when circumstances dictate. This process must be performed countless times to create a fluidity of thought that and link different fields of study together through newly discovered correlations, or in some cases, allowing the subconscious link to the conscious. A great interview can be seen here.
His reflections are shared by cognitive researchers as well. In this Scientific American article the thought and analytical processes used by chess masters are examined and several startling premises are put forth:

  • It takes at least 10 years for prodigies to master their field.
  • Repetition is a key factor for results, as it exercises the ability for chess masters to use “chunking” or quick categorization of data through analogies with their experience.
  • Grand masters do not make more decisions than other players of lower skill. They make different decisions.

Imagine that, less is more. Focus on the right data and ignore the superfluous.


1. The Quest for Fluency – An Introduction « ActiveEngine - December 29, 2009

[…] } In a different post I’ve discussed how chess master Josh Waitzkin mastered the field of chess and a martial art, winning world championships in both fields numerous […]

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