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How We Learn: The Surprising Truth about When, Where, and Why It Happens Hardcover – 9 Sep 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (9 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812993888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812993882
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.1 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,134,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Advance praise for "How We Learn"

"This book is a revelation. I feel as if I've owned a brain for fifty-four years and only now discovered the operating manual. For two centuries, psychologists and neurologists have been quietly piecing together the mysteries of mind and memory as they relate to learning and knowing. Benedict Carey serves up their most fascinating, surprising, and valuable discoveries with clarity, wit, and heart. I wish I'd read this when I was seventeen."--Mary Roach, bestselling author of "Stiff "and" Gulp"

""How We Learn "is as fun to read as it is important, and as much about how to live as it is about how to learn. Benedict Carey's skills as a writer, plus his willingness to mine his own history as a student, give the book a wonderful narrative quality that makes it all the more accessible--and all the more effective as a tutorial."--Robert A. Bjork, Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles

"Fact #1: Your brain is a powerful and eccentric machine, capable of performing astonishing feats of memory and skill. Fact #2: Benedict Carey has written a book that will inspire and equip you to use your brain in a more effective way. Fact #3: You should use your brain--right now--to buy this book for yourself and for anyone who wants to learn faster and better."--Daniel Coyle, bestselling author of "The Talent Code"

"Whether you struggle to remember a client's name, aspire to learn a new language, or are a student battling to prepare for the next test, this book is a must. I know of no other source that pulls together so much of what we know about the science of memory and couples it with practical, practicable advice."--Daniel T. Willingham, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and author of "Raising Readers in an Age of Distraction"

Advance praise for "How We Learn"
"This book is a revelation. I feel as if I've owned a brain for fifty-four years and only now discovered the operating manual. For two centuries, psychologists and neurologists have been quietly piecing together the mysteries of mind and memory as they relate to learning and knowing. Benedict Carey serves up their most fascinating, surprising, and valuable discoveries with clarity, wit, and heart. I wish I'd read this when I was seventeen."--Mary Roach, bestselling author of "Stiff "and" Gulp"
""How We Learn "is as fun to read as it is important, and as much about how to live as it is about how to learn. Benedict Carey's skills as a writer, plus his willingness to mine his own history as a student, give the book a wonderful narrative quality that makes it all the more accessible--and all the more effective as a tutorial."--Robert A. Bjork, Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
"Fact #1: Your brain is a powerful and eccentric machine, capable of performing astonishing feats of memory and skill. Fact #2: Benedict Carey has written a book that will inspire and equip you to use your brain in a more effective way. Fact #3: You should use your brain--right now--to buy this book for yourself and for anyone who wants to learn faster and better."--Daniel Coyle, bestselling author of "The Talent Code"
"Whether you struggle to remember a client's name, aspire to learn a new language, or are a student battling to prepare for the next test, this book is a must. I know of no other source that pulls together so much of what we know about the science of memory and couples it with practical, practicable advice."--Daniel T. Willingham, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and author of "Raising Readers in an Age of Distraction"

""How We Learn" makes for a welcome rejoinder to the faddish notion that learning is all about the hours put in. Learners, [Benedict] Carey reminds us, are not automatons."--"The New York Times Book Review"
" "
"The insights of "How We Learn" apply to far more than just academic situations. Anyone looking to learn a musical instrument would benefit from understanding what frequency and type of practice is most effective. Even readers with little practical use for Carey's information will likely find much of it fascinating, such as how intuition can be a teachable skill, or that giving practice exams at the very beginning of a semester improves grades. "How We Learn" is a valuable, entertaining tool for educators, students and parents."--"Shelf Awareness"
"This book is a revelation. I feel as if I've owned a brain for fifty-four years and only now discovered the operating manual. For two centuries, psychologists and neurologists have been quietly piecing together the mysteries of mind and memory as they relate to learning and knowing. Benedict Carey serves up their most fascinating, surprising, and valuable discoveries with clarity, wit, and heart. I wish I'd read this when I was seventeen."--Mary Roach, bestselling author of "Stiff "and" Gulp"
""How We Learn "is as fun to read as it is important, and as much about how to live as it is about how to learn. Benedict Carey's skills as a writer, plus his willingness to mine his own history as a student, give the book a wonderful narrative quality that makes it all the more accessible--and all the more effective as a tutorial."--Robert A. Bjork, Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
"Fact #1: Your brain is a powerful and eccentric machine, capable of performing astonishing feats of memory and skill. Fact #2: Benedict Carey has written a book that will inspire and equip you to use your brain in a more effective way. Fact #3: You should use your brain--right now--to buy this book for yourself and for anyone who wants to learn faster and better."--Daniel Coyle, bestselling author of "The Talent Code"
"Whether you struggle to remember a client's name, aspire to learn a new language, or are a student battling to prepare for the next test, this book is a must. I know of no other source that pulls together so much of what we know about the science of memory and couples it with practical, practicable advice."--Daniel T. Willingham, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and author of "Raising Readers in an Age of Distraction"

"This book is a revelation. I feel as if I've owned a brain for fifty-four years and only now discovered the operating manual. For two centuries, psychologists and neurologists have been quietly piecing together the mysteries of mind and memory as they relate to learning and knowing. Benedict Carey serves up their most fascinating, surprising, and valuable discoveries with clarity, wit, and heart. I wish I'd read this when I was seventeen."--Mary Roach, bestselling author of "Stiff "and" Gulp"
""How We Learn" makes for a welcome rejoinder to the faddish notion that learning is all about the hours put in. Learners, [Benedict] Carey reminds us, are not automatons."--"The New York Times Book Review"
" "
"The insights of "How We Learn" apply to far more than just academic situations. Anyone looking to learn a musical instrument would benefit from understanding what frequency and type of practice is most effective. Even readers with little practical use for Carey's information will likely find much of it fascinating, such as how intuition can be a teachable skill, or that giving practice exams at the very beginning of a semester improves grades. "How We Learn" is a valuable, entertaining tool for educators, students and parents."--"Shelf Awareness"
""How We Learn" is more than a new approach to learning; it is a guide to making the most out of life. Who wouldn't be interested in that?""--Scientific American"
"Whether you struggle to remember a client's name, aspire to learn a new language, or are a student battling to prepare for the next test, this book is a must. I know of no other source that pulls together so much of what we know about the science of memory and couples it with practical, practicable advice."--Daniel T. Willingham, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and author of "Raising Readers in an Age of Distraction"
""How We Learn "is as fun to read as it is important, and as much about how to live as it is about how to learn. Benedict Carey's skills as a writer, plus his willingness to mine his own history as a student, give the book a wonderful narrative quality that makes it all the more accessible--and all the more effective as a tutorial."--Robert A. Bjork, Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
"Fact #1: Your brain is a powerful and eccentric machine, capable of performing astonishing feats of memory and skill. Fact #2: Benedict Carey has written a book that will inspire and equip you to use your brain in a more effective way. Fact #3: You should use your brain--right now--to buy this book for yourself and for anyone who wants to learn faster and better."--Daniel Coyle, bestselling author of "The Talent Code"

This book is a revelation. I feel as if I ve owned a brain for fifty-four years and only now discovered the operating manual. For two centuries, psychologists and neurologists have been quietly piecing together the mysteries of mind and memory as they relate to learning and knowing. Benedict Carey serves up their most fascinating, surprising, and valuable discoveries with clarity, wit, and heart. I wish I d read this when I was seventeen. Mary Roach, bestselling author of"Stiff"and"Gulp"
"How We Learn" makes for a welcome rejoinder to the faddish notion that learning is all about the hours put in. Learners, [Benedict] Carey reminds us, are not automatons. "The New York Times Book Review"
""
The insights of "How We Learn" apply to far more than just academic situations. Anyone looking to learn a musical instrument would benefit from understanding what frequency and type of practice is most effective. Even readers with little practical use for Carey s information will likely find much of it fascinating, such as how intuition can be a teachable skill, or that giving practice exams at the very beginning of a semester improves grades. "How We Learn" is a valuable, entertaining tool for educators, students and parents. "Shelf Awareness"
"How We Learn" is more than a new approach to learning; it is a guide to making the most out of life. Who wouldn t be interested in that? " Scientific American"
Whether you struggle to remember a client s name, aspire to learn a new language, or are a student battling to prepare for the next test, this book is a must. I know of no other source that pulls together so much of what we know about the science of memory and couples it with practical, practicable advice. Daniel T. Willingham, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and author of"Raising Readers in an Age of Distraction"
"How We Learn "is as fun to read as it is important, and as much about how to live as it is about how to learn. Benedict Carey s skills as a writer, plus his willingness to mine his own history as a student, give the book a wonderful narrative quality that makes it all the more accessible and all the more effective as a tutorial. Robert A. Bjork, Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
Fact #1: Your brain is a powerful and eccentric machine, capable of performing astonishing feats of memory and skill. Fact #2: Benedict Carey has written a book that will inspire and equip you to use your brain in a more effective way. Fact #3: You should use your brain right now to buy this book for yourself and for anyone who wants to learn faster and better. Daniel Coyle, bestselling author of "The Talent Code""

Book Description

The powerful, super-fresh new science of how the brain learns --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As Benedict Carey explains, "this book is not about some golden future. The persistent, annoying, amusing, ear-scratching present is the space we want to occupy. The tools in this book are solid, they work in real time, and using them will bring you more in tune with the beautiful, if eccentric, learning machine that is your brain."

Ironically, perhaps paradoxically, Carey invites his readers to use their minds to think about their minds in new ways. He examines an emerging theory that accounts for new ideas about when, where, and why learning happens: The New Theory of Disuse. "It's an overhaul, recasting forgetting as the best friend of learning, rather than its rival."

There really is a "science of learning" and it requires the same rigor and focus that the study of physics or calculus does. His research and analysis of others' research invalidate some assumptions about learning, validate others. When asked, "How much does quizzing oneself like with flashcards help?" here is Carey's response:

"A lot, actually. Self-testing is one of the strongest study techniques there is. Old-fashioned flashcards work fine; so does a friend, work colleague, or classmate putting you through your paces. The best self-quizzers do two things: They force you to [begin italics] chose [end italics] the right answer from several possibilities; and they give you immediate feedback, right or wrong. As laid out in Chapter 5, self-examination improves retention and comprehension for more than an equal amount of review timer. It can take many forms as well. Reciting a passage from memory, either in front of a colleague or a mirror, is a form of testing. So is explaining it to yourself while pacing the kitchen, or to a work colleague or friend over lunch.
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By Martin Turner HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an interesting survey of recent research about how we learn. If it's the first book on the subject you read, then it will come as a surprise and many of the ideas will seem quite revolutionary. If you've read several books, then there will be little here that is surprising or new.

In summary, we are in exciting times for memory studies, because the rise of fMRI scanners, coupled with research on epilepsy and more general psychological experiments in memory have proven some things that were often believed to be at least in part true (such as the benefits of music while studying) and rather more things, particularly those associated with rote learning and cramming, to be false.

This is an American book, and I suspect that a lot more of what is in it is surprising coming from an American context. People in the UK brought up on the Guardian, TES or even Child Educational will have seen almost everything that's in here before, though it's always nice to see that there is actual evidence for things that progressive educationalists have believed for a long time. Unfortunately, a lot of the evidence is less clear-cut that one might like, though at least Benedict Carey is diligent enough to present the findings as they are, rather than glibly stating that 'experiments have shown'.

Verdict: if this is your first book on memory or learning, a very interesting read.
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By S. D. Spicer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Oct. 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I wasn't quite sure if I was reading a self-help book or a book for educators. In the end I felt it in some ways it filled both categories. It's a book full of interesting insights, written in a tone that is easy to read, and as an educator myself; easy to apply to classroom situations. Perhaps a little too anecdotal in style in places, it is nevertheless fully researched with an impressive bibliography.
His chapter on the positive uses of distraction in learning - i.e. taking a break to allow a subject to incubate was a revelation to me. The pencils question was an easy solve (but then I teach a creative subject) and the student's 'break the rules' answer was a good one. Certainly it gave food for thought in a classroom situation where there are constant distractions and how they could be used in a positive manner.
Carey's view of learning differs from main stream learning theory. Carey's learning is quite linear, as opposed to Kolb et al and cycles of learning. Whether or not this is the birth of a new science, time will tell. Until then he has some good ideas and reflections on the stage of education and how things should change.
Overall I think this is book that teachers, parents and students who want to maximise their learning or the effectiveness of their teaching should take time to read. It's a approachable, has unique insights and practical application.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an intriguing enough book but too often when reading it, I got the feeling it was missing the mark somewhat.

Don't expect a step-by-step guide here on how to learn effectively- it's a much more fluid narrative than that, and that in itself is no bad thing. There is though an over-emphasis to my mind on learning memorising techniques to enhance your learning capabilities and although it seems obvious, this book often seems to ignore a simple fact of life- memorising things does not necessarily mean you learn about them.

The true nature of our brain is still barely understood despite the bluster of neuroscientists and of all the parts of that mysterious brain we perhaps understand the least about, it is memory. To give it such an important part in the learning process is therefore a big leap into the unknown, and to embed a learning process so deeply into memorisation techniques is, to my mind anyway, a little risky. Whatever, I do like a number of the authors points, notably that 'learning to forget' can actually be a useful tool to hone. The book is also well organised and although the narrative is sometimes dense, it is well researched and easy to navigate yourself through. Worth a look, particularly if you are an educationalist.
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