“Vanderbilt elegantly and persuasively tackles one of the most pernicious of the lies we tells ourselves—that the pleasures of learning are reserved for the young.” —Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author ofOutliers
Why do so many of us stop learning new skills as adults? Are we afraid to be bad at something? Have we forgotten the sheer pleasure of beginning from the ground up? Inspired by his young daughter’s insatiable curiosity, Tom Vanderbilt embarks on a yearlong quest of learning—purely for the sake of learning. Rapturously singing Spice Girls songs in an amateur choir, losing games of chess to eight-year-olds, and dodging scorpions at a surf camp in Costa Rica, Vanderbilt tackles five main skills but learns so much more. Along the way, he interviews dozens of experts about the fascinating psychology and science behind the benefits of becoming an adult beginner and shows how anyone can get better at beginning again—and, more important, why they should take those first awkward steps. Funny, uplifting, and delightfully informative, Beginners is about how small acts of reinvention, at any age, can make life seem magical.
About the Author
TOM VANDERBILT has written for many publications, including The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal Magazine, Popular Science, and Smithsonian. He is the author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) and two other books. He has appeared on a wide range of television and radio programs, from the Today show to the BBC’s World Service to NPR’s Fresh Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.