₿HS012: Teaching The Art of Learning



Josh Waitzkin brings the proof-of-work when it comes to deep learning and flow.  His techniques about learning to learn can be applied anything.  In this episode, Tali and Scott apply them to homeschooling.


  • Why “life history” resources, namely biographies and autobiographies, make such great learning tools
  • Josh Waitzkin, the author of “The Art of Learning” describes concepts that can make us as parents better teachers
  • The techniques he describes can be used by anyone, any age
  • Because humans relate to things emotionally, reading a living book is the best to get kids interested 
  • Waitzkin strategically thinks about the long term goal (although he does not use the word’s “low time preference”)
  • Waitzkin epitomizes anit-fragile
  • He also goes into great depth about reaching “flow”
  • Immediate feedback is key to flow and key to learning
  • These learning lessons can be applied to anything
  • You can never out success the strength of your character
  • Waitzkin is a master of seeing the world from his opponents’ point of view
  • Constant feedback = adaptive learning
  • Being able to stay in flow when bad things happen is more than understanding your opponents, you really have to understand yourself
  • “Staying soft” emphasizes the importance of finding a state of relaxed concentration, where one can perform at their best in the face of stress
  • “Investing in loss” = seeking out learning from all setbacks and other forms of feedback
  • Teachers, like coaches, need to understand the natural inclinations of their students
  • Balance of encouragement and correction is a fine line to walk
  • Importance of always keeping a beginner’s mind
  • That sense of anti-fragility cannot happen if kids are always winning and not dealing with adversity (back to investment in loss)
  • Visualization is powerful skill to teach kids
  • Another ant-fragile habit to teach kids is to keep a learning journal
  • Don’t trust.  Verify.  Listen to the audible book and pick just one thing that helps you and/or your kids.
  • Effort trumps talent:  Tali challenges the cultural tendency to focus on talent and/or lack of talent, e.g., message to oneself “I’m not good at math”
  • Waitzkin goes deep on everything he does
  • You can use leverage technology to get all types of feedback
  • Train kids to be able to focus in the middle of chaos because conditions are never going to be perfect
  • Face your losses.  Don’t shy away from them.
  • To succeed fast, fail faster
  • Use living books.  Have discussions about them with your kids



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