This book is written by a world class chess player, world class Tai Chi Chuan Push Hand competitor and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The Art of Learning is about the author's method of learning.
The Introduction section starts with a quote from Er Cheng Yishu, 11th century,
"One has to investigate the principle in one thing or one event exhaustively... Things and the self are governed by the same principle, If you understand one you understand the other, for the truth within and the truth without are identical."
The entire book is about how Josh developed his method incrementally and systematically over the years, a journey of discovery. He started off playing chess at the age of 6 and eventually became an eight-time National Chess Champion in his youth. Towards the end of his chess career, he became increasingly pressured to perform and realised that his love for chess was diminishing.
Later, he picked up Tai Chi Chuan as a form of relaxation. But found it to be intriguing and on some levels it was very similar to chess. One day when he was at an exhibition match (where he had to play on 40 chess boards against 40 players simultaneously), he found a lot of similarities between chess and tai chi - both are about how to make the best use of space. In that exhibition chess event, he felt as if he was doing Tai Chi. And at times when he was doing Tai Chi Push Hand, he felt as if he was playing chess!
People said he was good at chess. Later, people said he was good at Tai Chi as well. He concluded that he was neither good at chess nor Tai Chi. What he was actually best at was the art of learning.
He talks about two theories of learning. One is the entirety theory of learning which most people subscribe to. For example, if a child plays piano wonderfully, we say he is gifted in piano.
The other theory is incremental theory of learning. According to this theory, if a child plays well, we say he/she must have practised and trained for many long and hard hours.
Here is my Standpoint A - Standpoint B Analysis...
The Standpoint A for this book is the Entirety theory of learning.
The Standpoint B for this book is the Incremental Theory of Learning.
Standpoint A: Many coaches try to mould their players into the ideal their coaches have envisioned for them.
Standpoint B: Coaches should make the effort to understand the different personalities and styles of their students and then develop a learning approach and playing style that is uniquely crafted to suit that each unique student.