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A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)

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Whether you are a student struggling to fulfill a math or science requirement, or you are embarking on a career change that requires a higher level of math competency, A Mind for Numbers offers the tools you need to get a better grasp of that intimidating but inescapable field. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley knows firsthand how it feels to struggle with math. She flu Whether you are a student struggling to fulfill a math or science requirement, or you are embarking on a career change that requires a higher level of math competency, A Mind for Numbers offers the tools you need to get a better grasp of that intimidating but inescapable field. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley knows firsthand how it feels to struggle with math. She flunked her way through high school math and science courses, before enlisting in the army immediately after graduation. When she saw how her lack of mathematical and technical savvy severely limited her options—both to rise in the military and to explore other careers—she returned to school with a newfound determination to re-tool her brain to master the very subjects that had given her so much trouble throughout her entire life.   In A Mind for Numbers, Dr. Oakley lets us in on the secrets to effectively learning math and science—secrets that even dedicated and successful students wish they’d known earlier. Contrary to popular belief, math requires creative, as well as analytical, thinking. Most people think that there’s only one way to do a problem, when in actuality, there are often a number of different solutions—you just need the creativity to see them. For example, there are more than three hundred different known proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem. In short, studying a problem in a laser-focused way until you reach a solution is not an effective way to learn math. Rather, it involves taking the time to step away from a problem and allow the more relaxed and creative part of the brain to take over. A Mind for Numbers shows us that we all have what it takes to excel in math, and learning it is not as painful as some might think!

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Whether you are a student struggling to fulfill a math or science requirement, or you are embarking on a career change that requires a higher level of math competency, A Mind for Numbers offers the tools you need to get a better grasp of that intimidating but inescapable field. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley knows firsthand how it feels to struggle with math. She flu Whether you are a student struggling to fulfill a math or science requirement, or you are embarking on a career change that requires a higher level of math competency, A Mind for Numbers offers the tools you need to get a better grasp of that intimidating but inescapable field. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley knows firsthand how it feels to struggle with math. She flunked her way through high school math and science courses, before enlisting in the army immediately after graduation. When she saw how her lack of mathematical and technical savvy severely limited her options—both to rise in the military and to explore other careers—she returned to school with a newfound determination to re-tool her brain to master the very subjects that had given her so much trouble throughout her entire life.   In A Mind for Numbers, Dr. Oakley lets us in on the secrets to effectively learning math and science—secrets that even dedicated and successful students wish they’d known earlier. Contrary to popular belief, math requires creative, as well as analytical, thinking. Most people think that there’s only one way to do a problem, when in actuality, there are often a number of different solutions—you just need the creativity to see them. For example, there are more than three hundred different known proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem. In short, studying a problem in a laser-focused way until you reach a solution is not an effective way to learn math. Rather, it involves taking the time to step away from a problem and allow the more relaxed and creative part of the brain to take over. A Mind for Numbers shows us that we all have what it takes to excel in math, and learning it is not as painful as some might think!

30 review for A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sanjay Gautam

    Luck favors the one who tries. When I started reading it I never expected it to be this good. I was amazed and delighted to find this book to be exceptionally good. I have learned, which as it feels I had forgot , how to 'Learn to Learn'. It had shown me my flaws. It has shown me I was trying too hard, that it is 'easy that does it'. She starts with learning modes, that we have two important modes of thinking, focused-mode and diffused-mode. Focused-mode are highly attentive states which are l Luck favors the one who tries. When I started reading it I never expected it to be this good. I was amazed and delighted to find this book to be exceptionally good. I have learned, which as it feels I had forgot , how to 'Learn to Learn'. It had shown me my flaws. It has shown me I was trying too hard, that it is 'easy that does it'. She starts with learning modes, that we have two important modes of thinking, focused-mode and diffused-mode. Focused-mode are highly attentive states which are limited to pre frontal cortex and diffused-modes are diffused throughout the brain. Only one mode can be active at a time. Focused mode is related to logical, sequential, analytical process. As soon as you concentrate on some thing , you are in focused mode. Whereas, when you are not concentrating, when you let your mind just wander, you are in diffused mode. Diffused mode is related to bigger-picture. Focused mode brings you the BRICKS and diffused mode is the MORTAR. To be attentive and try hard to get the problem inside your head is done by focused mode. Diffused-mode actually works in background under the layer of conscious awareness (and it is not that can ON and OFF, its always On whenever you are not concentrating,diffuse mode happens when you relax). Now she asserts that the learning happens when you toggle between these two modes. And then there is Einstellung effect: It refers to getting stuck in solving a problem or understanding a concept as a result of becoming fixated on a flawed approach. Switching modes from focused to diffuse can help free you from this effect. This made me a little more flexible regarding my thinking, and more patient too. And I've also found that sometimes initial ideas about problem solving can be very misleading. To figure out new ideas and solve problems, its important not only to focus initially, but also to subsequently turn our focus away from what we want to learn. In subsequent chapters the author deals with: * The problems of procrastination and how to deal with it. There were four chapters dedicated for it. (And it was here I found myself, a little, dragging the book). * Memory and how to enhance it. I remember one technique known as Memory Palace which was similar to Mind Palace shown in Sherlock TV series. It was here, once again, that I gained many insights which proved to be useful. * In the last chapters she gives miscellaneous tips and tricks for enhancing your learning and sculpting your brain. ...................................................................... The central theme of this book is the paradoxical nature of learning. Focused attention is indispensable for problem solving, yet it block our ability to solve problems. Persistence is key, but it can also leave us unnecessarily pounding our heads. Memorization is a critical aspect of acquiring expertise, but it can also keep us focused on the trees instead of forest. Metaphor allows us to acquire new concepts, but it can also keep us wedded to faulty conceptions. Our desire to figure things out right now is what prevents us from being able to figure things out. Reshaping your brain is under your control. The key is patient persistence: working knowledgeably with your brain's strengths and weaknesses. We can achieve startling insights into how to understand more simply, easily, and with less frustration: By understanding your brain's default settings- the natural way it learns and thinks, and taking advantage of this knowledge one can become an expert. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATIONS!

  2. 4 out of 5

    David

    I first heard of this book from an online course given by the author, Barbara Oakley. The course is called "Learning how to Learn", and you can find it at coursera. Despite the title of the book, most of the advice here is appropriate for just about any subject. It is especially appropriate for subjects with concepts that might be difficult to grasp. And the book is most definitely geared toward students. There are highlights and questions at the end of each chapter, to reinforce the key points. T I first heard of this book from an online course given by the author, Barbara Oakley. The course is called "Learning how to Learn", and you can find it at coursera. Despite the title of the book, most of the advice here is appropriate for just about any subject. It is especially appropriate for subjects with concepts that might be difficult to grasp. And the book is most definitely geared toward students. There are highlights and questions at the end of each chapter, to reinforce the key points. There is a useful chapter on how to prepare for tests, and how to take tests. The advice is not always intuitive, but it is all common sense. Study groups are often beneficial. There are some situations, where they may be a waste of time. Much of the advice in the book is based on common sense. Don't cram for exams; study some each day, and don't overdo it. Lots of advice on how to make sure that you really understand the concepts. Re-reading material and highlighting key phrases is NOT very beneficial. Make up your own test questions, put them on flash cards with answers on the back. Flash cards are your friends. The book is filled with anecdotes and stories about educators, students, scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. These stories help make the book engaging, where otherwise it would be rather dry and uninteresting. The main theme of the book is that there are two modes of thinking; focused and diffuse. Focused thinking is what you do when you concentrate very hard to solve some problem. You need to remove yourself from distractions during focused thinking, and you probably should only perform focused thinking for a short amount of time; 25 minutes is recommended. Diffuse thinking, however, is somewhat more relaxed and actually creative. This kind of thinking allows your mind to wander in search of "out of the box" solutions to problems. If you are a student or even studying some subject on your own, then this book could be very helpful.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amy Alkon

    This book IS a book on how to excel at math and science -- even if you previously flunked them. However, it is also much more. It's a book that is transformative for anyone who does creative work that requires writing and thinking and taking in information and creating something new out of it. The science on how to do optimal work in “A Mind For Numbers” has transformed my writing life from hellish to a tough job I love. Through what I learned from about diffuse mode thinking, I’m careful to put This book IS a book on how to excel at math and science -- even if you previously flunked them. However, it is also much more. It's a book that is transformative for anyone who does creative work that requires writing and thinking and taking in information and creating something new out of it. The science on how to do optimal work in “A Mind For Numbers” has transformed my writing life from hellish to a tough job I love. Through what I learned from about diffuse mode thinking, I’m careful to put in daily work in reading, researching, and writing, especially on tough concepts. Our minds, as Dr. Oakley explains in the book, seem to do a lot of work in the “background” while we’re sleeping and doing things other than working. Each day, I find that I’m enjoying my work so much more because it isn’t a struggle; I, piece by piece, simply pull together tough concepts into a coherent and far better whole.  Dr. Oakley’s book ultimately helped me enjoy what I do in a way I never could before, when I procrastinated and was stressed out and then tried to shoehorn a bunch of information I hadn't processed into something coherent. This book was a life-changer for me. --Amy Alkon, syndicated columnist and author, "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck" (St. Martin's Press)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gabi

    The title of the book doesn't do it justice. This is a book about how to get good at anything, not just math and science. It's a light read because it's full of simple advice. But the stuff it teaches is effective, and I wish it had been taught to me back in 1997 when I was starting graduate school. If you find yourself checking your phone or screwing around on Facebook while you should be working, read this book. If you're having trouble learning stuff you need for work at a higher rate than you The title of the book doesn't do it justice. This is a book about how to get good at anything, not just math and science. It's a light read because it's full of simple advice. But the stuff it teaches is effective, and I wish it had been taught to me back in 1997 when I was starting graduate school. If you find yourself checking your phone or screwing around on Facebook while you should be working, read this book. If you're having trouble learning stuff you need for work at a higher rate than you're forgetting it, read this book. Do so especially if you're young, because the longer the time you have left to reap the benefits, the more reading this book is worth to you. Read this book, put your butt on a reasonable schedule, get your sleep and exercise, and the chances are excellent that you will never want for satisfying, well-paid employment no matter your field. This is a book about making your zombies work for you, not about learning how to fight them.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stephan

    Fantastic learning hacks! How our brain works concerning learning, retaining. Everyone should read this, every pupil/student in school. We learn all our lives and sometimes we have exams - this book will tell you how to prepare well. The title "A Mind for Numbers" is misleading, it's about learning in general.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Salem

    كتاب عظيم لا يُفوّت، وقرائته واجبة على كل متخصص في العلوم والهندسة خاصة، وكل من له اهتمام بطرق التعلم وأساليبه. وما زلت مستغرباً، كيف أن كتاباً ذائع الصيت كهذا، لم يترجم بعد للعربية ! ~~~ من المباحث الرئيسية بالكتاب، إيضاح طريقة عمل الدماغ خلال عملية التعلم، وكيف بالإمكان توظيف هذه المعرفة في تكوين استراتيجيات تعلم مثمرة وفعّالة. وكذلك تفنيد عدد من المفاهيم الملتبسة عند كثير من المتعلمين، على سبيل المثال، مسألة الحفظ أو الفهم، أيهما أهم؟... وغيرها من القضايا، والتي دُعمّت بتجارب شخصية لأساتذة جام كتاب عظيم لا يُفوّت، وقرائته واجبة على كل متخصص في العلوم والهندسة خاصة، وكل من له اهتمام بطرق التعلم وأساليبه. وما زلت مستغرباً، كيف أن كتاباً ذائع الصيت كهذا، لم يترجم بعد للعربية ! ~~~ من المباحث الرئيسية بالكتاب، إيضاح طريقة عمل الدماغ خلال عملية التعلم، وكيف بالإمكان توظيف هذه المعرفة في تكوين استراتيجيات تعلم مثمرة وفعّالة. وكذلك تفنيد عدد من المفاهيم الملتبسة عند كثير من المتعلمين، على سبيل المثال، مسألة الحفظ أو الفهم، أيهما أهم؟... وغيرها من القضايا، والتي دُعمّت بتجارب شخصية لأساتذة جامعيين وطلبة جامعات نوابغ، ومن استخلاصات البحوث الحديثة في علمي الإدراك والأعصاب ~~~ رابط الكتاب الصوتي على اليوتيوب 🔗 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahTNm...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Clausen

    I'm very fond of practical books, clearly written, that can be immediately applied. One thing, however, does need to be mentioned from the beginning: This is not only a book for those looking to excel in math and science. These tricks and methods can be used for any subject. My suspicion is that the "math and science" aspect of the title is a marketing ploy more than anything. That's a shame because there is a lot in this book that I hope to pass on to language learners and students of Internati I'm very fond of practical books, clearly written, that can be immediately applied. One thing, however, does need to be mentioned from the beginning: This is not only a book for those looking to excel in math and science. These tricks and methods can be used for any subject. My suspicion is that the "math and science" aspect of the title is a marketing ploy more than anything. That's a shame because there is a lot in this book that I hope to pass on to language learners and students of International Relations. Getting that out of the way, let's focus on the good. The book is clearly written, easy to follow, and frequently engaging. The book will introduce you to important concepts like: *the difference between focused and diffuse thinking (and how to switch between these modes); *using recall in your studying; *the idea of chunking concepts; *tricks for studying such as the Pomodoro technique and spaced repetition; *the value of walks and frequent breaks; and *ways to overcome procrastination. The book also helps you become a deeper learner, someone more in love with education. It does so by: *helping you understand yourself as a learner; *promoting the virtues of teamwork and providing tips for how to use partners and teammates; *promoting broad studying and creative exploration; *by promoting real education over vulgar grade accounting; and *by demonstrating how much science and math are like poetry. The book also asks you practice these methods by putting down the book and trying to recall key concepts, and by doing exercises for each chapter. Early in the book, there were also some mental exercises that I quite enjoyed. Now, a little bit of the bad. There really isn't that much. I felt like a lot of the "testimonials" in between the chapters and in the sidebar "success stories" gave the book a kind low-rent "kitschy" feel to it. It reminded me of self-help seminars, infomercials, the adverts of private colleges (which emphasize testimonial "successes" and overlook failures), and the other quasi-get-rich-quick, let's-find-short-cuts aesthetics of quasi-education. I feel like that aesthetic needs to be fought at all costs. I feel like that mentality is destroying education (and America for that matter). Education is hard work. There is no getting around that. And, as several other reviewers have pointed out, by only highlighting the successes, the author is being very unscientific (she is sampling on the dependent variable, as they say). The book is better than this. It's better than its cheap, attention-getting marketing ploys. Still -- overall, a great book for just about anyone who wants to improve their learning!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eat.Sleep.Lift.Read.

    Like many of 'these' books, most of the advice seems, to a stud like me, mostly common sense. But, A Mind for Numbers, has more 'takeaway' value than most. If you want to grow ya brain (the one up top) then give this book a whirl. If you want to grow the other one, I have a plethora of www. recommendations. Either way, stay sexy.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chazzle

    Probably some of the advice in the book is good. I just wasn't in the target audience. I like math, I'm very good at math, and this book is for those who struggle. I liked Paul Lockhart's book "A Mathematician's Lament" much, much better. In that one, he really makes you want to DO math, to DISCOVER mathematical truth, to LOVE math. In Barbara Oakley's book, she teaches you how to "get by", and maybe even "get an A". Much, much less inspirational. Where's the fun? Where's the love?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bryn

    A fantastic book for understanding how we best learn complex concepts. Initially I thought because I already have college degrees in Math and CS that I didn't need to read this book. I though I already knew how to learn match and science. I was wrong. In retrospect, the subjects and classes that came easily to me were the classes in which I was practicing many of the good habits prescribed in this book. The subjects in which I struggled, were plagued by many of the bad habits and pitfalls outline A fantastic book for understanding how we best learn complex concepts. Initially I thought because I already have college degrees in Math and CS that I didn't need to read this book. I though I already knew how to learn match and science. I was wrong. In retrospect, the subjects and classes that came easily to me were the classes in which I was practicing many of the good habits prescribed in this book. The subjects in which I struggled, were plagued by many of the bad habits and pitfalls outlined by Dr Oakley. In fact, I have resolved to revisit some of those subjects that proved difficult in school using these techniques. The book is written at a very easy reading level, making it very approachable for readers as young as 12. I will be testing this theory by making this book required reading for my kids before they start middle school. This is the companion book to the Coursera course taught by Dr Barbara Oakley. https://www.coursera.org/course/learning

  11. 5 out of 5

    Giuseppe D

    Got to this book after reading about it in the Coursera course "Learning how to learn". Some very good ideas not at all obvious, at least not to me, that make perfect sense. Go have a look at the author's website for the 10 principles of learning and, if you find them interesting, grab a copy!

  12. 5 out of 5

    John

    A Mind for Numbers is a worthy addition to the "owner's manual for the brain" genre. It's billed as a description of how people who did not do well in math or science in school can learn to effectively study topics within those fields. As someone who did well in math and science in school, this book reminded me of many successful study habits, some cultivated on purpose and some by accident during my preprofessional academic career. The book also has some great ideas that run counter to the conve A Mind for Numbers is a worthy addition to the "owner's manual for the brain" genre. It's billed as a description of how people who did not do well in math or science in school can learn to effectively study topics within those fields. As someone who did well in math and science in school, this book reminded me of many successful study habits, some cultivated on purpose and some by accident during my preprofessional academic career. The book also has some great ideas that run counter to the conventional wisdom (in this case, foolishness) of our day. I'll list these separately: Good study habits: - Building my ability to memorize scripts, movies, jokes, etc. (on purpose: I still love quoting things) - Not cramming (accidental: I never had the need, though I procrastinated on projects) - Reviewing before bed (on purpose, but only for subjects I was particularly interested in) - Reading ahead (on purpose, but driven by annoyance at how similar arithmetic lessons were from grades 1 through 3) - Focusing on the edge of my understanding rather than burning study time on mastered material (on purpose: I didn't like "studying," so why would I waste "study" time on stuff I already knew?) - Teaching others (on purpose: helping someone understand new concepts makes you feel like a boss) - Paraphrasing (accidental: I never enjoyed the physical act of writing longhand, so I was often annoyed by any hint of verbosity in definitions or descriptions. I actually got in trouble once for not copying sections of my science textbook's glossary verbatim for an assignment!) - Joking about the material (accidental: you have to have a sense of humor) - Interleaving material (accidental: it just felt right. I never thought of myself as "studying" because "studying" was something that was supposed to feel miserable. I did my homework and I reviewed the syllabus before tests.) Good ideas: - Creativity is retrieving from long-term memory something that was never there - The necessary ping-pong between the brain's focused and diffuse modes - It's not a coincidence that we experience "aha!" insights when we step away from a problem we've been working hard for a while. Harness this phenomenon. - Memorization as critical to creativity and effective problem-solving. This is a big one for two reasons: 1. Some nonsense started getting popular around the turn of the 21st century that knowing facts is inconsequential so long as you know where to find them. 2. Memorization assignments fell out of fashion since they're confused with rote-learning. In fact, perfect memorization of longer scenes is *only* possible by "chunking" the details into an outline of overall concepts.

  13. 4 out of 5

    GridGirl

    “This is where the Law of Serendipity comes to play: Lady Luck favors the one who tries.” Wow! I wanna read this book over and over and over again! But actually, that is something this book told me not to do… The struggle is real! This is an excellent book for everyone who struggles with math. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 7-year old’s problem with multiplication tables or a physics master student trying to understand thermodynamics in quantum systems. This is also a great book for everyone trying t “This is where the Law of Serendipity comes to play: Lady Luck favors the one who tries.” Wow! I wanna read this book over and over and over again! But actually, that is something this book told me not to do… The struggle is real! This is an excellent book for everyone who struggles with math. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 7-year old’s problem with multiplication tables or a physics master student trying to understand thermodynamics in quantum systems. This is also a great book for everyone trying to learn anything new in their life. I am convinced that the majority of people would take a benefit in their personal and professional life from reading this book. I can’t say that every concept in this book was completely mind-blowing and new to me, but Barbara Oakley manages to explain why things that have worked for you for years are actually excellent learning strategies. This book also inspired me to use my planner more and it had a positive effect on my self-esteem (especially before and during exams). I am completely sure that, would I go through this book again, I’d notice advice that I haven’t put to practice yet and I’m planning to implement more of it to my life. For now I’m just happy with all the help this book provided me with. 5/5

  14. 4 out of 5

    Olga

    Гадаю, я буду не єдиною, хто після прочитання цієї книги (або проходження відповідних курсів на Coursera/Prometheus) подумає: "Чому, чому ніхто не розповідає про всі ці штуки ще у школі?" ;) Інструменти, прийоми та техніки навчання, до яких багато людей приходять інтуїтивно, повільно, з досвідом, методом проб та помилок, викладені тут чітко та структуровано, причому йдеться не тільки про "як", а й про "чому" і "як це працює", а це дуже важливо і дає більше мотивації все-таки спробувати. Крім аргу Гадаю, я буду не єдиною, хто після прочитання цієї книги (або проходження відповідних курсів на Coursera/Prometheus) подумає: "Чому, чому ніхто не розповідає про всі ці штуки ще у школі?" ;) Інструменти, прийоми та техніки навчання, до яких багато людей приходять інтуїтивно, повільно, з досвідом, методом проб та помилок, викладені тут чітко та структуровано, причому йдеться не тільки про "як", а й про "чому" і "як це працює", а це дуже важливо і дає більше мотивації все-таки спробувати. Крім аргументованого викладу з прикладами та посиланнями на джерела, дуже сподобалося те, що сама побудова книги відповідає принципам, про які розповідає: вчитися маленькими порціями, з перервами на інші заняття - маєте розділи та підрозділи, розмежовані невеликими історіями; асоціації та метафори дуже важливі - нате яскравий приклад чи порівняння до кожної теми; ефективне навчання базується на регулярному повторенні, поглибленні та самоперевірці - вкінці кожного розділу є підсумки та контрольні запитання, та й навіть сам порядок розділів відповідає цій логічній спіралі, і т.д. Попри те, що оригінальна назва та чимало акцентів у тексті - про вивчення математики та природничих наук, ця книга - чудовий помічник в опануванні будь-чого. Ставлю високу оцінку не тому, що вся інформація в книзі була для мене зовсім нова, а тому, що якби я дізналася про це раніше, вчитися в школі та університеті було б набагато легше та цікавіше. Меншій сестрі обов'язково подарую, і вам раджу. ;)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    This book is not at all what it says on the cover, it's just more tired "study tips" the same as you would get from any Universities student resource center. There's nothing inherently specific about learning Math and honestly I found the book to be full of an awful lot of fluff... It's a rather shockingly callous thing to do considering how many people struggle with Math to continually dance around the one fact present, it just takes a lot of time and effort and work and you may simply never cr This book is not at all what it says on the cover, it's just more tired "study tips" the same as you would get from any Universities student resource center. There's nothing inherently specific about learning Math and honestly I found the book to be full of an awful lot of fluff... It's a rather shockingly callous thing to do considering how many people struggle with Math to continually dance around the one fact present, it just takes a lot of time and effort and work and you may simply never crack it. Terrible book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mark Bao

    tl;dr: Read if you want to learn general study skills, skip if you're interested in skills specifically for math/science. Why did the author write a book about getting better at numbers and math and science and not really talk specifically about how to get better at math and science? This book is 90% about general study skills with lackluster tie-ins to how it might work with math/science. Don't go into this thinking you'll learn stuff specific to math/science – you'll be disappointed. As an intro tl;dr: Read if you want to learn general study skills, skip if you're interested in skills specifically for math/science. Why did the author write a book about getting better at numbers and math and science and not really talk specifically about how to get better at math and science? This book is 90% about general study skills with lackluster tie-ins to how it might work with math/science. Don't go into this thinking you'll learn stuff specific to math/science – you'll be disappointed. As an introductory book to study skills, it's not too bad, though it's overshadowed by more compelling books that specifically talk about general study skills like Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning and Cal Newport's books. Many of the productivity and study tips it mentions are good, but they fall into the classic non-fiction personal development book trap of telling you some common-sensical thing you should be doing and adding an anecdote in there. It's OK if it's common-sense advice, but it's not really that useful if it's common-sense advice without much follow-through information on how to implement that advice. Maybe it's just me. Admittedly, I've read a lot about productivity and study skills so most of this was a reminder at best, boring repetition at worst. If you've read books like Make It Stick or Cal Newport's books and want to get a more math- and science-focused advice on how to do better, don't pick this up. If you've read some but aren't sure, maybe pick up the audio version (which is what I did). Or go to a bookstore, skim through, and decide from there. It's not that there aren't gems in this book. There are a few. Diffuse mode vs. focused mode thinking, a core part of the book, is pretty interesting. The fact that the memory palace technique works well for unrelated things, which I never thought about. And some other ones that weren't so memorable. It's good for reminding you about all the productivity tips that you should be doing. But for me, there was nothing novel in here. I'm not sure what I'll read next to replace this. Here are some that I'm considering, if you're curious: • What Is Mathematics?: An Elementary Approach to Ideas and Methods • How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method • How to Think Like a Mathematician: A Companion to Undergraduate Mathematics • The Princeton Companion to Mathematics

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tereza Hladíková

    I didn't like the way Barbara repeats over and over the same agruments for nearly trivial statements. For example she was able to write about 30 pages only about the fact that you need to sleep and relax in order to enhance your learning. For me, it seems like a 1000-year-old advice but she kept repeating it as if I haven't read it already 16 times before in this chapter. The entire book could be summarized in 5 pages. Although I must admit that I surely enjoyed reading her life story, about how I didn't like the way Barbara repeats over and over the same agruments for nearly trivial statements. For example she was able to write about 30 pages only about the fact that you need to sleep and relax in order to enhance your learning. For me, it seems like a 1000-year-old advice but she kept repeating it as if I haven't read it already 16 times before in this chapter. The entire book could be summarized in 5 pages. Although I must admit that I surely enjoyed reading her life story, about how she approached the math and the science which was in the beginning of the book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sergey Teplyakov

    It’s amazing that majority of people (at least white collars) are spending tons of time dealing with new information but has very limited experience in doing this efficiently. This book is about your personal productivity in tackling new concepts. This book is about your brain and tips and tricks about improving you “brain muscles” by doing well-established techniques like chunking, interleaving, space repetition, memory palaces and more. Here is a small example: how are you reading books? Are yo It’s amazing that majority of people (at least white collars) are spending tons of time dealing with new information but has very limited experience in doing this efficiently. This book is about your personal productivity in tackling new concepts. This book is about your brain and tips and tricks about improving you “brain muscles” by doing well-established techniques like chunking, interleaving, space repetition, memory palaces and more. Here is a small example: how are you reading books? Are you highlighting key ideas? Maybe you’re like me and trying to highlight every useful piece of information. But study had shown that this technique not only useless, but could be harmful. You should try to understand the basic idea, try to recall it without looking into the book and only after that, you may highlight key pieced with some insightful notes on the martins. This is book is really well written and I highly recommend it for everyone who wants to be more efficient in their learning journeys.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eugene Ismailov

    На самом деле книга далеко не только про изучение математики. В ней описывается, как "подружиться" со своим мозгом. Понять его ограничения и возможности, и, исходя из этого, подходить к собственному обучению. Например, думаю, со всеми случалось, что в решении какой-то задачи упираешься в стенку и не знаешь куда двигаться дальше. Но стоит отвлечься (прогуляться или принять душ, например), как решение приходит само собой. Автор утверждает, что у мозга есть два режима работы - сфокусированный и расс На самом деле книга далеко не только про изучение математики. В ней описывается, как "подружиться" со своим мозгом. Понять его ограничения и возможности, и, исходя из этого, подходить к собственному обучению. Например, думаю, со всеми случалось, что в решении какой-то задачи упираешься в стенку и не знаешь куда двигаться дальше. Но стоит отвлечься (прогуляться или принять душ, например), как решение приходит само собой. Автор утверждает, что у мозга есть два режима работы - сфокусированный и рассеянный. Так вот, если в сфокусированном режиме не удается продвинуться, то надо переключится в другой режим, и, часто, мозг сам поможет тебе найти решение. Вообще, в книге очень много советов, которые помогают не только при обучении, но и в работе. Рекомендую.

  20. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Ibrahim ♥

    I have had higher expectations out of this book as it touches more mainly on learning and memory skills in general than on the specific study of mathematics and science. I got some useful tips on time management, curing procrastination, mnemonics, neurons that wire together they fire together and so on. The author is evidently so intelligent, full of compassion, and teaches from her wonderful personal experience.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sadra Aliabadi

    من درواقع این کتاب رو نخوندم. کورسش رو که با توجه به متریال کتاب توسط نویسنده در کورسارا بود رو گذروندم. کتاب ظاهرا بیشتر از این که در مورد یادگیری ریاضی باشه به شکل عمومی تر در مورد یادگیری هست. نویسنده به خوبی از آنالوژیهای متفاوت استفاده کرده تا حرفش رو برسونه. اگر به یادگیری علاقه مند هستید من یک خلاصه سه هزار کلمه ای از کتاب رو در وبلاگم منتشر کردم: https://sadraa.me/learning-how-to-learn/ میتونید اینجا بخونیدش. من درواقع این کتاب رو نخوندم. کورسش رو که با توجه به متریال کتاب توسط نویسنده در کورس‌ارا بود رو گذروندم. کتاب ظاهرا بیشتر از این که در مورد یادگیری ریاضی باشه به شکل عمومی تر در مورد یادگیری هست. نویسنده به خوبی از آنالوژی‌های متفاوت استفاده کرده تا حرفش رو برسونه. اگر به یادگیری علاقه مند هستید من یک خلاصه سه هزار کلمه ای از کتاب رو در وبلاگم منتشر کردم: https://sadraa.me/learning-how-to-learn/ میتونید اینجا بخونیدش.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Huyen

    Haven't finished yet... So far so good. Very applicable and readable. The book is not only for undergrads learning math and science but also for anyone who wants to learn any subjects that require more mental power. It's also good for grad students, faculty, researchers who want to stay productive. P.S. Finished.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Oleksandr Golovatyi

    Great book about how to improve your study process.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ivan Korneliuk

    Однім з пунктом моїх цьогорічних New Year Resolutions є ціль пройти 4 курси на Coursera. Але враховуючи те, що приблизно таку ж ціль я ставлю собі щороку, але так і не закіничив ще жодного курсу, то очевидно треба було щось змінити в підході до навчання. Таким мотивуючим фактором для мене став найпопулярніший курс на Coursera - Leanring how to learn, автором якого і є Барбара Оаклі. Її книга "Думай как математик" є додатковим матеріалом для курсу. Основна ціль книги - дати діючі інструменти для то Однім з пунктом моїх цьогорічних New Year Resolutions є ціль пройти 4 курси на Coursera. Але враховуючи те, що приблизно таку ж ціль я ставлю собі щороку, але так і не закіничив ще жодного курсу, то очевидно треба було щось змінити в підході до навчання. Таким мотивуючим фактором для мене став найпопулярніший курс на Coursera - Leanring how to learn, автором якого і є Барбара Оаклі. Її книга "Думай как математик" є додатковим матеріалом для курсу. Основна ціль книги - дати діючі інструменти для того щоб навчатися ефективніше. Що важливо, книга пояснює чому саме певні техніки працюють в той час як інші не надто ефективні, опираючись на різноманітні дослідження та приклади інших людей, яким багато чого вдалось в навчанні. Наприклад про режими роботи мозку - зфокусований та розсіяний. Обидва важливі для навчання. Чому важливий зфокусований режим - очевидно: для того щоб зрозуміти нові поняття нам потрібно зосередитись на них. Але іще більш важливо, при розв'язанні певної проблеми, вміти перемикатись в розсіяний режим, щоб дати мозку попрацювати над задачею в фоновому режимі. Для цього можна зайнятись физічними вправами, сходити на прогулянку, врешті решт помити посуд. Сальвадор Далі та Томас Едісон навіть використовували спеціальний трюк для цього. Для того щоб не зациклюватись на задачі, та переключитись в розсіяний режим вони сідали відпочити на крісло качалку. А для того щоб не заснути, брали з собою якійсь предмет в руки, який розбудить при падінні на підлогу (наприклад підшипник). Період засипання виявляєтсья дуже креативним. Як часто очевидне рішення здавалося б складної проблеми приходить до нас зранку після сну чи після ранкового душу? Значну частину книги приділенно процесу формування "фрагментів інформації"та їх важливості в навчанні. Ці фрагменти важливі для запам'ятовування та осідання в довготривалій пам'яті. Це як в програмуванні - спершу нові концепції незрозумілі та здаються складними. Але згодом, за допомогою практики, візуалізації та вдалих метафор формуються у стійкі шаблони проектування. Таким чином фрагменти інформації ущільнюються в пам'яті та формують зв'язки з іншими фрагментами, що дозволяє згодом легко їх з пам'яті дістававти (так, наприклад, задача знаходження елемента в масиві відразу активує в моєму мозку фрагмент бінарного пошуку, який в свою чергу активує інші фргменти - методи сортування, і т.д.) Часто сильним супротивником в навчанні є прокрастинація. В книзі наведено кілька корисних порад для боротьби з нею таких як метод pomodoro), складання тижневих та щоденних планів, та інших. Книга містить набір ефектифних практик для навчання. Крім того, вона на прикладах пояснює чому саме вони працюють. Ось ті що здались мені найважливішими: * Повторення за допомогою згадування матеріалу з пам'яті. Саме для цього потрібні проміжні тести та контрольні роботи. За останніми дослідженнями — це один з найефектифнішіх способів запам'ятовувати матеріал. На відміну від простого перечитування книги чи надмірного виділення ключових моментів в тексті, які часто навіть шкідливі через "ілізію кометентності" (це коли нам здається що ми засвоїли щойно прочитаний матеріал, але вже через короткий час не можемо згадати про що йшла мова). Така практика корисна і для читання книжок. Перед прочитанням розділу варто коротко його продивитись приділивши увагу ключовим моментам, а після прочитання — відкласти книгу та згадати основні ідеї по пам'яті. * Практика. А ще краще інтервальна практика - коли матеріал повторюється не відразу а через певний час, та interleaving practice - розв'язання різних типів задча, коли повторення матеріалу перемішується з повторенням інших тем. * Записування ключових моментів (бажано ручкою на папері). Цікава стаття на цю тему - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robyn-s... * Візуалізація та метафори для нових понять. Значно простіше запам'ятати нове поняття, якщо зв'язати його з чимось зрозумілим. * Переключення в розсіяний (Diffuse) режим. * Гарний сон - надзвичайно важливий компонент в начвчанні. Під час сну мозок опрацьовує нові знання в розсіяному, креативному режимі та впорядковує інформацію. Для того щоб налаштувати мозок на роботу уві сні, корисно перед сном згадати тему над якою зараз працюєш. Можливо вона присниться. * Методи запам'ятовування такі як Палац Пам'яті (всі ж дивились Шелока?). Резюмуючи - я вже майже закінчив курс "Learning how to learn", та записався на іще два (Machine Learning та Algorithms). Ця книга додала впевненості та мотивації, і тепер я впевнений що цього року я таки закінчу ці курси :) Отже книгу рекомендую всім хто шукає додаткової мотивації в навчанні.

  25. 4 out of 5

    محمد الحسين

    كتاب رائع يعلم كيفية التعلّم بفاعلية. الكثير من الطلاب يواجه صعوبة في فهم الرياضيات والمواد العلمية لأسباب مختلفة، أغلبها عائد لخلل في عملية التعلم في مراحل مبكرة. ولأن هذه المواد هي ذات طبيعة تراكمية (فهم دروس الصف الثاني يعتمد على فهم دروس الصف الأول... وهكذا) فإن معاناة أولئك الطلاب تصبح تراكمية أيضاً، وتستمر إلى عمر متقدم، فيعتقد الطالب أنه غير مؤهل لفهم هذه المواد، فضلاً عن التفوق فيها. يأتي كتاب (عقل للأرقام) بفكرة صادمة وهي أن الجميع يستطيع أن يتعلم الرياضيات والمواد العلمية إذا عرفنا الطر كتاب رائع يعلم كيفية التعلّم بفاعلية. الكثير من الطلاب يواجه صعوبة في فهم الرياضيات والمواد العلمية لأسباب مختلفة، أغلبها عائد لخلل في عملية التعلم في مراحل مبكرة. ولأن هذه المواد هي ذات طبيعة تراكمية (فهم دروس الصف الثاني يعتمد على فهم دروس الصف الأول... وهكذا) فإن معاناة أولئك الطلاب تصبح تراكمية أيضاً، وتستمر إلى عمر متقدم، فيعتقد الطالب أنه غير مؤهل لفهم هذه المواد، فضلاً عن التفوق فيها. يأتي كتاب (عقل للأرقام) بفكرة صادمة وهي أن الجميع يستطيع أن يتعلم الرياضيات والمواد العلمية إذا عرفنا الطريقة الملائمة لتعلم هذه المواد. ويفكك الكتاب عملية التعلم بشكل علمي مرتكزاً على نتائج دراسات في علم النفس وعلم الأعصاب. ثم يصب هذه النتائج في قوالب من سلوكيات بسيطة وواضحة يستطيع أي طالب أن يمارسها. فالكتاب يسد الفجوة بين النتائج العلمية والنصائح السلوكية العملية (وهو أمر ضروري للغاية في نظري)! أعجبني في الكتاب أن المؤلفة (د. بربرة أوكلي) كانت تعاني كثيرا من الرياضيات في الصغر وتكرهها بشدة: "كنت أفكر أن الأرقام والمعادلات يجب تجنبها، كما نتجنب الأمراض القاتلة". لذلك هربت من كل ما له علاقة بالرياضيات وتخصصت في اللغات والترجمة. ولكن أثناء عملها، تمت ترقيتها لمنصب يتطلب فهما جيدا لأساسيات الرياضيات، فاضطرت لتعلمها، ثم أكملت دراستها لتحصل على بكلريوس في الهندسة الكهربائية، ثم ماجستير في الهندسة، فدكتوراة في هندسة النظم! والآن هي بروفيسورة في الهندسة! من المواضيع الهامة التي أسهب الكتاب في الحديث عنها (مثالان فقط): * العقل المركز والعقل المنتشر: يشرح الكتاب أن التعلم الفعال يكون بالتنقل بين نوعين من التفكير (المركز والمنتشر). فالطالب الذي يحاول أن يحل مسألة صعبة لمدة 3 ساعات (تفكير مركز)، من الأفضل له أن يترك المسألة لبرهة من الزمن، أن يحاول حلها في اليوم التالي. غالباً سيجد أن المسأله صارت أسهل أو أنه أصبح ينظر لها من منظور مختلف. لماذا؟ لأن العقل المنتشر (diffused mind) كان يعمل بصمت على ربط الأفكار واستخلاص النتائج. (أعتقد أكثرنا مر بهذا الموقف). * التخلص من التسويف: هنا يشرح الكتاب لماذا نحب التسويف، وكيف أنه نوع من أنواع الإدمان، وعادة يمكن التخلص منها بفهم مكوناتها وتغيير بعض الظروف. يحلل الكتاب المكونات الثلاثة للعادات (الإشارة، الروتين، الجائزة) ويشرح كيف يمكن كسرها بسهولة. على سبيل المثال، الطالب الذي يسوف البدء بالمذاكرة لساعات بسبب الانشغال بالجوال، هو يستجيب لإشارة (cue) عبارة عن تنبيهات أو نغمات الجوال، فيقوم بروتين معين (وتساب يوتيوب ....إلخ) لأن هناك جائزة تعوّد على الحصول عليها وهي متعة وسائل التواصل والتخلص من ألم المذاكرة. يستطيع هذا الطالب أن يقلل من أثر الجوال بتركه خارج الغرفة، وبالتالي يقضي على فرصة أن تسرقه منبهات الجوال (إشارة cue). لماذا نتحدث عن التسويف في سياق تعلم الرياضيات والعلوم بالذات؟ لأن هذه المواد – كما أسلفت – تراكمية. بالتالي فإن للتسويف أثر سلبي مضاعف (هل رأيت طالباً يحاول أن يفهم منهج الفيزياء كله في ليلة الإمتحان؟) كما تحدث الكتاب بإسهاب عن مواضيع أخرى مثل: وسائل تقوية الذاكرة، الاستعداد الأمثل للإمتحانات، الطريقة المثلى للمذاكرة الجماعية، أهمية النوم، التخلص من القلق، كيفية الإجابة أثناء الامتحان، وغيرها. في رأيي هذا الكتاب رائع لكل من يريد أن يضاعف قدرته على التعلم. تقييمي له هو 4 من 5، فقط لأن أسلوب المؤلفة في الشرح كان متعب قليلاً، ولأن هناك مواضيع متعلقة هامة لم يتم التطرق لها.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    There's actually precious little here that is specific to numbers, math, or science. It's actually a book about how to learn no matter what you're studying, and because of that it is super useful. Self-learning is actually one of my strengths, and I already knew many of the "tricks" in here, but this is the kind of thing that is always a good refresher and there's always something to learn. Top tricks include the fact that you have two mental states, focused and diffuse, and need both to really l There's actually precious little here that is specific to numbers, math, or science. It's actually a book about how to learn no matter what you're studying, and because of that it is super useful. Self-learning is actually one of my strengths, and I already knew many of the "tricks" in here, but this is the kind of thing that is always a good refresher and there's always something to learn. Top tricks include the fact that you have two mental states, focused and diffuse, and need both to really learn and gain insight into something. So focus on studying for a while and then do something which allows your brain to wander. It will process while you're "not thinking". Another biggie is that recall is better than review, i.e. you should close your book and try to say the material you're learning instead of reading the material in the book yet again. There are also discussions about setting good learning habits, how to read textbooks (hint: skimming the text for the main ideas before you read is still in vogue), and work in groups. The author includes lots of short stories about science students and teachers and their advice. The text is broken up with lots of blurbs that are probably meant to hold your interest, but for me they were so frequent they made it harder to keep focusing on the text. Also, there are a lot of metaphors in here for how your mind works. That's a good thing because metaphors really help you learn and remember, but a lot of the metaphors didn't work well for me in terms of illustrating the point and making it clear. The author brings up that some math teachers don't use examples because they feel like concrete examples make it harder for you to see the beauty and inner nature of what they are teaching, so they stay very abstract. That is the absolute worst way for me to try to learn. I need to see examples in order to grasp the meaning of the abstractions someone is talking about. For those who have given talks where I've pressed you to come up with examples of what you mean: I am NOT sorry. This book was also quite a bit like Your Memory: How It Works and How to Improve It, although that one is focused more exclusively on being able to memorize. It turns out, though, the line between memorizing something and learning something is not so distinct. You can't really learn something unless you've got a lot of it memorized, and it's actually a lot easier to memorize something if you learn about it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    I am fascinated by all things related to one's mind. I am so glad I read this book! It leans more towards general studying techniques of math and science. But, it also focuses on a large amount of how to study and best retain any subject. A lot of things I already knew as I've read quite a few published papers in journals and universities. But, the section on test-taking is worth reading if you don't have time to read the whole book. The little snippets here and there interspersed throughout about s I am fascinated by all things related to one's mind. I am so glad I read this book! It leans more towards general studying techniques of math and science. But, it also focuses on a large amount of how to study and best retain any subject. A lot of things I already knew as I've read quite a few published papers in journals and universities. But, the section on test-taking is worth reading if you don't have time to read the whole book. The little snippets here and there interspersed throughout about scientists, doctors and teachers is fascinating in itself. Some of which I'd seen in published papers as one-line entries and it means so much more to me to know a little of their background. I felt like I was given an inside look at their lives. Also, the author, Barbara Oakley, kept everything interesting with bits of humor and funny diagrams. I'm trying to get my children to read this book. You really should read this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Magnus Itland

    The book is used as an optional textbook to the Coursera course "Learning How to Learn", and works beautifully in that context. It also stands well alone. The book should have had the same name as the course, this would have been more descriptive. The current title is somewhat misleading. This is a basic introduction to the science of learning. It can be of use both to the less brainy and the more brainy, but not so much to those who already have a broad overview of the cognitive sciences. Oakle The book is used as an optional textbook to the Coursera course "Learning How to Learn", and works beautifully in that context. It also stands well alone. The book should have had the same name as the course, this would have been more descriptive. The current title is somewhat misleading. This is a basic introduction to the science of learning. It can be of use both to the less brainy and the more brainy, but not so much to those who already have a broad overview of the cognitive sciences. Oakley is a popularizer, and good at it: The book has many memorable metaphors and images that help the reader recall the contents later. In this regard it practices what it preaches. I would recommend this book to everyone who is about to start college, and any who might be curious about the process of learning, unless they already have a broad but superficial understanding of this topic. That is what this book gives, and it is a reasonably fun read as well.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Akhil Mehta

    The book, even though it says so in the title, has no particular drift towards math and sciences. I was expecting a STEM-put-ultra-simply type books, much in the vogue of some old russian calculus and physics textbooks, which employed plots like conversation and simple language to eradicate the fear for the so called hard sciences. The science I got instead was "memorizing avogadro's constant 6.022x10^7 by making it into a rhyme" (Avogadro's constant is actually 6.022x10^23) Two stars for being a g The book, even though it says so in the title, has no particular drift towards math and sciences. I was expecting a STEM-put-ultra-simply type books, much in the vogue of some old russian calculus and physics textbooks, which employed plots like conversation and simple language to eradicate the fear for the so called hard sciences. The science I got instead was "memorizing avogadro's constant 6.022x10^7 by making it into a rhyme" (Avogadro's constant is actually 6.022x10^23) Two stars for being a general compilation of practical ideas about improving learning (Researchers say so, but your mileage may vary). Go through it using a technique from the book -> Read Chapter Intros, Summaries, and all the boxes.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dale Pearl

    The title of the book is somewhat deceptive. This is a book breaks down learning as a science and providers real world sampling on how to get good at anything, not just math and science. It's a light read because it's full of simple advice. This is a must read for anyone attending school regardless of the level. Read this book multiple times, organize your life on a schedule, provide your body with proper sleep and exercise. Combine that basic self help alongside this simple "how-to" on how to ma The title of the book is somewhat deceptive. This is a book breaks down learning as a science and providers real world sampling on how to get good at anything, not just math and science. It's a light read because it's full of simple advice. This is a must read for anyone attending school regardless of the level. Read this book multiple times, organize your life on a schedule, provide your body with proper sleep and exercise. Combine that basic self help alongside this simple "how-to" on how to make your mental weaknesses your strengths and you'll be on the fast track to whatever your dreams may be.

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