Guitar Zero

  • by Gary Marcus
  • Narrated by Gary Marcus
  • 5 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

On the eve of his fortieth birthday, a professor of no discernible musical talent learns to play the guitar and investigates how anyone of any age might master a new skill.
Just about every human being knows how to listen to music, but what does it take to make music? Is musicality something we are born with? Or a skill that anyone can develop at any time? If you don't start piano at the age of six, is there any hope? Is skill learning best left to children or can anyone reinvent him-or herself at any time?
On the eve of his fortieth birthday, Gary Marcus, an internationally renowned scientist with no discernible musical talent, becomes his own guinea pig to look at how human beings become musical- and how anyone of any age can master something new. Guitar Zero traces his journey, what he learned, and how you can learn, too. In addition to being a groundbreaking look at the origins and allure of music, Marcus's journey is also an empowering tale of the mind's plasticity.
In a quest that takes him from Suzuki classes to guitar gods, Marcus investigates the most effective ways to train your brain and body to learn to play an instrument. How can you make your practice more deliberate and effective? How can you find the best music teacher for you or your child? Does talent really exist? Or is hard work all you need?
Guitar Zero stands the science of music on its head, debunking the popular theory of an innate musical instinct and many other commonly held fallacies. At the same time, it raises new questions about the science of human pleasure and brings new insight into humankind's most basic question: what counts as a life well lived? Does one have to become the next Jimi Hendrix to make a passionate pursuit worthwhile? Or can the journey itself bring the brain lasting satisfaction?
For those who have ever set out to learn a musical instrument-or wishes that they could- Guitar Zero is an inspiring and fascinating look at music, learning, and the pursuit of a well-lived life.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

NOT a better way to learn guitar!

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

This book might be enjoyed more by a person seeking general information about learning.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The author's personal experiences about seeking to learn music were entertaining. But the book never really gets off the ground. It simply goes around and around about his seeking learning without telling you how to improve your guitar playing.

Would you be willing to try another one of Gary Marcus’s performances?


You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I feel like I wasted my credit. I listen to detective mysteries or science fiction or a multitude of other choices for entertainment. What I wanted here was some tips on how to more effectively learn the guitar. This book provided neither to my satisfaction.

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- Walter V

Waste of time

Book is a mix of science and the author's personal experience. The science is unsurprising. Description of the author's personal experiences is vague and self-indulgent. And there is absolutely nothing that would help with learning the guitar.

If you want to learn about the human mind, learning, and the role of practice, listen to _Moonwalking with Einstein_. If you want to learn the guitar, buy a guitar book and maybe some lessons. Either way, skip this book.
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- Delano

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-19-2012
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio