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The Straight-A Conspiracy: A Student's Secret Guide to Ending the Stress of High School and Totally Ruling the World Paperback – 8 Jun 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (8 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1456477145
  • ISBN-13: 978-1456477141
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,203,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Hunter Maats and Katie O’Brien were classmates at Harvard College. Since graduating, they have worked as tutors, teachers, and public speakers on a mission to put education back into the hands of students everywhere. For more information, visit

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joss Duggan on 5 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I was in school, I was paralysed by fear of failure. My rationale was that if I never gave 100% then I'd always have an excuse if I under-performed. This was all based on the underlying belief that my ability in school, the grades I attained, were a reflection of unchangeable intelligence. That if I worked really hard and still got poor grades, then I'd be academically worthless. It never occurred to me that if different studying processes were applied, then success becomes inevitable if you then put in the hours of deliberate practice.

This is the book I wish I had read when I was a teenager. I could have saved myself so much stress and fear in my adolescence if I had understood the fundamental concepts that are explained in The Straight-A Conspiracy. I have two young nephews and they're both getting copies as soon as they get to secondary school!!! That said, even as an adult its an enlightening read - everyone should read this book, including the Secretary for Education!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pat on 27 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
Students looking for a study skills book might not pick this one; they should. It is the best study skills book I have come across. It deals with all the essential aspects including basic brain structure, the myth that top students don't need to make an effort, motivation and how to work effectively. The writers make their points clearly with plenty of humour which keeps the reader in a positive frame of mind.

All the advice is sound; following it should help readers to reduce stress and enjoy their studies. I am not convinced that absolutely everyone can achieve straight A grades, however 'The Straight A Conspiracy' has convinced me that students can escape the straight-jacket of other people's expectations and shape and achieve their personal goals.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Shelton on 3 Dec. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a 32 year old looking to change careers and learn computer programming i decided to brush up on some study skills first. I enjoyed this book so much i bought a copy for my niece and have recommended to a few friends too. While it is aimed at teenagers it is still relevant to any age group. It is easy to read and packed with great techniques and information from start to finish. I no longer think "i can't do that, i don't have a math brain" or "I'll never be able to do that" it has given me confidence to approach previously daunting tasks i had been putting off.
I would also recommend "Study smarter not harder" by " kevin paul" to read alongside this.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book to be a thought provoking. The book that tries to share key insights (based on neuroscience) into how to learn effectively and efficiently. While the book specifically addresses teenagers, it probably would apply to any adult who enjoys learning. I found this book convincing enough to "try it out" by sharing it with my 4 children and selected co-workers and friends. Will share those results in a year from now. :-)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 43 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A Reader's Wish Come True 16 Jun. 2012
By Robin S. - Published on
Format: Paperback
Hunter Maats, author, tutored my daughter throughout High School where he practiced (and perfected) this scientific and revolutionary approach to learning. Average grades shot up to Straight A's by Junior year, just in time for the highly competitive and time-sensitive college application process! My daughter is now a happy senior at Emerson College with a bright future in Broadcast Journalism.

As a mother and a therapist, I appreciate the way in which the authors discuss the role of teenage emotionality and distractibility, and its effect on learning. There's an important chapter about managing emotions; a cognitive thought process that allows the brain to override interfering emotion and redirect attention. This process affords students the confidence and self-sufficiency to teach themselves, eventually taking parents out of the academic picture (which was imperative in my case).

This book is as important a book as any I've ever read. Finally, a book that dispels misconceptions about learning. It's smart, engaging and readable. The tone is entertaining and set in teenage-friendly language. I thank these insightful authors, Hunter Maats and Katie O'brien, for making a tremendous difference...
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I wish I could give this book to my younger self 27 Jun. 2012
By Racoon - Published on
Format: Paperback
I spent the latter part of my school days in low-level panic thinking I was stupid. I went to a very well respected school and University but, never, in all those years was I given a teacher or tutor who gave me the relief and the clarity of thinking this book afforded me. While reading this I had a deep insight about how my fear of being stupid and incapable was the subliminal reason I dropped out of college. If only I had a book such as this placed in my hands during those few weeks of decision making. Yeah, yeah, I turned out fine anyway (through a lot of self reflection, hard work and trial and error). But given the possibility would I love the chance to go back in time and give this to my younger self? Yes, in a heartbeat!

The book is written directly to students in an informal witty style - no academic droning here! The authors take big ideas and break them down into a clear, fun, engaging and practical journey. It is illustrated with hilarious cartoons that help you remember key ideas long after you have finished. One of the illustrations had me laughing my lunch right out of my mouth.

Besides the fun, there is scientific research aplenty to answer my intellectually questioning mind, and inspirational fortification to silence my emotionally self-doubting mind. On a practical day-to-day level, it altered the way I engage in all areas of my life: my organization, my business dealings and my ability to question and break down ideas in a productive way. Yesterday I was talking to my boss in such a clear focused way: a new authoritative, clear, insightful person. Why had I never thought to ask these questions before?

Most importantly it allowed me to reflect on all I want to be in the world. It reinvigorated my goals and my clarity on how to realise those goals.

I would recommend this book to students, to teachers, to any old dogs that want to learn new tricks.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A great tool for improvment 5 Nov. 2012
By R. Johns - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Staright-A Conspiracy hits home with me.

What I liked:

+ It is a book which everyone can pick up.
+ It has a lot of insight and offers great explanations (even though I myself found it to be almost too thurrow).
+ Demonstrates the potential of every person and really convinces the reader that they, as well as everyone else, can pursuit and achieve greatness.

What I thought could be improved:

- The Straight-A conspiracy has a lot of small boxes with "interesting" and vaguely related facts. I myself found some of them amusing, but they were, generally, just distracting.
- (I cannot believe I am writing this, but) The book tries too hard to be easy to read. It talks directly to the reader in a almost silly way from time to time.

Overall, it is a book I wish I would have read five years ago; however, even to a student at university, such as myself, the book was a good read. If you are struggling with school or just generally want to improve your outlook on learning new things, this is one of many books which might help you.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
What Real Star Students Know 9 Jun. 2012
By D. Florence - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book isn't written by a well meaning adult who has raised successful children, a college counselor or a famous reporter. This book is the real deal, insider view of two superstar students who have done it all. One of the authors tutored my 11 year old daughter (now 13)and I've been lucky enough to have a first hand view of what these practices can accomplish. This book is the first book I've ever read on the topic of getting great grades, that you can hand to a teenager and the might actually finish it. The authors speak directly to the student (although I have my own copy too) and it destroys myths that student buy into. One of the greatest myths that gets passed around students is, "the kids at the top are born that way", that they somehow possess some mental abilities that other students don't have. I'm here to tell you that is a LIE...HUGE LIE. Yet bright, capable students like my daughter fall for this everyday. The top students around my daughter brag that they "never" study and that "the test was so easy" yeah sure, what a con-job that is. So, are you tired of being tricked into being a less than superstar student. Then wake up! Will you have to shut off the darn TV...Yup! Put down the cellphone once in a while...YEP!! But, if you read this book and implement what is being said on those pages, you can be who you already KNOW you are! This is the kind of book you keep in your nightstand and reach for again and again, though all the different challenges and phases of student life. I'm so impressed with the tons of information and clearly presented plan in the book. The only thing that should stop you from reading this book is, if you enjoy having other people pass you by on their way to the top!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
life changing 9 Jun. 2012
By Holly Davis - Published on
Format: Paperback
I read a friend's copy of The Straight-A Conspiracy: A Student's Secret Guide to Ending the Stress of High School and Totally Ruling the World (Volume 1) and it changed my whole attitude to successful learning. I am ordering a copy for myself and all my family with school age children. About time!
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