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‘The Joy And Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning’ With Tom Vanderbilt

Kevin Hatt
Tom Vanderbilt's latest book is titled, "Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning."

The acclaimed author of “Traffic” and “You May Also Like” has a new book out. In it, he makes the case that “becoming a beginner is one of the most life-enhancing things you can do.”

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, author Tom Vanderbilt spoke with host Sarah Fenske about his new book "Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning," which highlights his yearlong experience tackling five new skills: chess, singing, surfing, drawing and juggling.

He advised listeners to stop being afraid of failing and dive into learning something new.

“The benefits of being a beginner kick in right away, and you sort of steeply ascend the learning curve,” he said. “So I would just encourage people not to get hung up so much on goals about, you know, ‘I’m going to conquer this skill,’ and really, just do it for the journey, pay attention to what’s happening along the way, and don’t get stressed about being bad.”

He added: “It’s OK to be bad; you’ll get better. It’s OK if you’re not amazing. There [are] benefits you can have even if you’re not an expert.”

Related event
What: St. Louis County Library presents: Tom Vanderbilt, "Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning”
When: 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 11
Where: Facebook.com/hectv

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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