How We Learn

The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens
by Benedict Carey | 272 pages

Benedict Carey is an award-winning science writer for The New York Times. This book is his exploration of what the latest research says about, you guessed it, How We Learn. Big Ideas we cover include the #1 enemy to learning (and how to win that battle), why distributed your learning is where it’s at, how sleeping is like learning with your eyes closed and how to put the Zeigarnick Effect to use for maximum benefit.


“The treasure at the end of this rainbow is not necessarily ‘brilliance.’ Brilliance is a fine aspiration, and Godspeed to those who have the genes, drive, luck, and connections to win that lottery. But shooting for a goal so vague puts a person at risk of worshipping an ideal—and missing the target. No, this book is about something that is, at once, more humble and more grand: How to integrate the exotica of new subjects into daily life, in a way that makes them seep under our skin. How to make learning more a part of living and less an isolated chore. We will mine the latest science to unearth the tools necessary to pull this off, and to do so without feeling buried or oppressed. And we will show that some of what we’ve been taught to think of as our worst enemies—laziness, ignorance, distraction— can also work in our favor.”

~ Benedict Carey from How We Learn

Benedict Carey is a science writer for The New York Times.

This book is his exploration of what the latest research says about, you guessed it, How We Learn.

I read it as part of my preparation for Learning 101. Check out our Notes on Make It Stick (written by a story teller + two leading cognitive scientists focused on the science of learning) and A Mind for Numbers (written by a math teacher who taught one of the most popular classes in history) for more learning goodness. (And, check out the Notes on The Talent Code + Focus for more related wisdom.)

The book is packed with fascinating research studies that challenge some of the conventional ideas of how to best learn. (Get a copy here.)

I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas we can apply to our lives today so let’s jump straight in!

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About the author

Authors

Benedict Carey

Award-winning science writer for The New York Times.