Josh Waitzkin was a child chess prodigy — he became a National Master at age 13 and an International Master at age 16, meaning he was in the top 0.25% of players in the world. The film Searching for Bobby Fischer was based on his early life.
After ultimately deciding chess wasn’t for him, Waitzkin decided to take up the martial art Taiji Quan. I won’t tell you whether he was successful as it’s kind of a spoiler for his book The Art of Learning, which I’d really recommend reading. Let’s just say that his journey in Taiji Quan is pretty incredible.
In this interview with Tim Ferriss, Waitzkin talks about the processes he used to learn chess and Taiji Quan, how he teaches high achievers to go from very good to great and how he uses meditation as part of his daily routine (plus tons of other stuff).
If you’re at all interested in learning and skill development, you’ll love this. I immediately picked up The Art of Learning after listening — I just wanted to hear everything that Waitzkin had to say.