EP.210 - Tom Vanderbilt


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Perpetual Chess Podcast


This week, bestselling author Tom Vanderbilt joins me to talk about his 5th book, the recently released, Beginners:The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning. In this book Tom writes about his experience  learning a handful of new activities from scratch while in his late 40’s. These new adventures include learning chess, surfing, singing, juggling and drawing. Tom, like many adult chess enthusiasts, discovered chess through his school-aged daughter’s interest in the game. In our conversation, Tom reflects on what was like to be thrown headfirst into the chess world, and shares many of the resources that he found most helpful in accelerating his learning. Tom also shares broader conclusions from his learning experiences across disciplines. It was a fascinating conversation about an enjoyable book. As always, read on for more details, timestamps and relevant hyperlinks.  0:00- Why is the pandemic a good time to release a book about starting new things?  Mentioned: NY Times review of Beginners    06:00- How was Tom’s interest in chess piqued? What were his first steps to learn more about the game?  Mentioned: The Queen’s Gambit , Szymon Rudowski, GM Daniel Naroditsky’s YouTube Channel- https://www.youtube.com/c/DanielNaroditskyGM/playlists Daniel King’s YouTube Channel- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMBATpFb--uLNAODOVWvCTA  The Amateur’s Mindby Jeremy Silman  IM Levy Rozman’s YouTube Channel- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQHX6ViZmPsWiYSFAyS0a3Q IM John Bartholomew’s Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6hOVYvNn79Sl1Fc1vx2mYA   19:00- Perpetual Chess is proud to  be brought to you in part by Chessable.com . To check out the many choices of beginner-oriented material they offer, go here: https://www.chessable.com/courses/for-beginners/   20:00- Tom mentions a few more resources that were helpful in his dive into chess.  Mentioned: Chessable’s 100 Endgames You Must Know, The Brooklyn Strategist, The Marshall Chess Club    25:00- How is his daughter progressing in chess during the pandemic?  Mentioned: Her Move Next, US Chess’ Women in Chess Initiative     34:30- Was it more challenging to learn a mental game like chess or a physical endeavor like surfing? What other broader lessons did Tom draw from his learning adventures?  Mentioned: William Finnegan’s Barbarian Days, The Passion Paradox, Mindset, Anders Ericsson,  Tim Krabbe’s The Rider, Perpetual Chess Episode 44 with GM Jesse Kraai, GM Robert Hess, Tim Krabbe’s Chess Curiosities Website: https://timkr.home.xs4all.nl/chess/chess.html   54:00- Now that his book is finished, will Tom continue to play chess?   Mentioned: Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition   57:00- Thanks so much  to Tom for the fascinating interview.  You can find him on Lichess here: https://lichess.org/@/wernerherzog You can purchase his book here: https://www.amazon.com/Beginners-Transformative-Power-Lifelong-Learning/dp/1524732168/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=beginners&qid=1610383429&s=books&sr=1-2 If you would like to help support Perpetual Chess, you can do so here: https://www.perpetualchesspod.com/donate   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.