The ninth selection of Half Half Man’s book club was Josh Waitzkin’s The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance. I originally read the book last year and thought it was one of the best books I'd read in 2014.
At the time, I aimed to try out many of his ideas, like journaling and paying attention to what sparks creativity in me and finding ways to trigger that myself. In addition, I wanted to develop a similar focus on quality as he discusses it.
Since then, I’ve spent time journaling (mostly via the Five Minute Journal) and developing my creativity and focus on quality in my magic. My daily Card College practice routine as well as the fifteen minute set I put together and performed for numerous groups have been my own way of putting his ideas into practice, and I’ve felt so appreciative of and excited about my progress.
There are so many areas of his book that have direct theoretical and practical applications for magicians striving for mastery. Below is a collection of takeaways from the book and how they apply to our art.
The ninth selection of Half Half Man’s book club contained some very meaningful messages that I have been trying to apply directly to my magic. The way Josh goes from field to field and becomes a world-class expert and aims to actually push each art forward resonated a lot with me. Josh has been able to go extremely deep into a couple fields, whereas before my latest deeper dive into magic, I found myself having gone only somewhat deep (like to the level of basic competency) in a whole bunch of fields. Luckily, I’ve had the chance to focus in more deeply over the past year, striving more for mastery and quality (depth) than breadth. There is still so much for me to learn and improve on, and Josh’s example and ideas provide a really nice theoretical and practical framework for doing exactly that.