Excerpts from “Mind Master: Winning Lessons From A Champion’s Life” by Viswanathan Anand

Just finished the book “Mind Master: Winning Lessons From A Champion’s Life” by Viswanathan Anand. Thanks Vishy for sharing the inside story of your raise, fall, tips, etc. I especially loved the insights on the games you lost, which unwraps qualities needed to take failures! Touching to read about Chennai, I grew up in Chennai too 🙂 Some compelling lines from the book:

[Page 25] My mother and I would take them to and from the club, and a good game meant that I would be treated to a bucket of ice cream with tiny chunks of jelly and nuts in it at the parlour right next to our house. It was what I look forward to the most after a win.

[32] It always makes sense to keep working at goals without obsessing over how far you’re from it or how hopelessly you’re missing the mark each time. If you persevere, it will eventually be yours.

[56] Nothing you do, however unconnected it is to your livelihood or your life’s goal, goes waste. You never know when an idea that you’ve read about or heard of, or an activity you’ve dabbled in will pay off. It’s wise then to see your interests and your learning as varied and broad as you can.

[89] Often, in trying to look for beauty, I find I’ve missed something elementary.


[252] My attitude towards winning and losing too has evolved. Earlier, success was the cog on which everything turned. In winning, now the primary emotion is one of gratitude and I’ve also learnt not to fret over bad results.” Worrying, I’ve come to realise, is just a hard, blind alley and I need to step out of it naturally.

[253] I’ve readjusted my view, therefore, to draw sense of stability from the perspective of the bigger picture, rather than from individual events.


[254] If I have to name a single virtue that’s carried me through my years of playing chess, it’s curiosity. There has to be a willingness to learn things you’re not good at or you thought you were not good at. The process will invariably involve a certain degree of unlearning, and the readiness todo that is extremely important.

[259] Sometimes the greatest truths are hidden in cliches. Find your path, learn, strive and don’t fall out of love with it if the payoff keeps you waiting. Just keep the voice of your dream alive in your head and the will on a simmer in your heart.

Associate Professor @ IIIT-Delhi