By Tom Vanderbilt
Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Or is it simply a fact that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Inspired by his young daughter’s insatiable need to know how to do almost everything, and stymied by his own rut of mid-career compe-tence, Tom Vanderbilt begins a year of learning purely for the sake of learning. He tackles five main skills, choosing them for their difficul-ty to master and their distinct lack of career marketability–chess, singing, surfing, draw-ing, and juggling. Ultimately, he shares how a refreshed sense of curiosity opened him up to a profound happiness and a deeper connection to the people around him—and how small acts of reinvention, at any age, can make life seem magical.