How much do I want to read more? 6/10
I'm glad the author said that:
"Like so many others, I grew up believing that learning was all self-discipline: a hard, lonely climb up the sheer rock face of knowledge to where the smart people lived. I was driven more by a fear of falling than by anything like curiosity or wonder."
It gives the perspective that there's something else out there,
that learning is not all about repetition, exams, study. We are biased with school.
Curiosity and wonder trigger the real education and learning.
I almost got killed by this erroneous perspective of "study harder, longer" to have better grades. Eating energy, time and sleep for dumb things like staring at a manual for hours.
Introduction: Broaden the Margins
Time’s running out, there’s too much to learn, and some of it is probably beyond reach.
But there’s something else in there, too, a lower-frequency signal that takes a while to pick up, like a dripping faucet in a downstairs bathroom: doubt.
Like so many others, I grew up believing that learning was all self-discipline: a hard, lonely climb up the sheer rock face of knowledge to where the smart people lived. I was driven more by a fear of falling than by anything like curiosity or wonder.
those two or three kids in algebra or history who had—what was it?—a cool head, an ability to do their best without that hunted-animal look.
It was as if they’d been told it was okay not to understand everything right away; that it would come in time; that their doubt was itself a valuable instrument.
I felt like a chump. Like I’d been scammed by some bogus self-improvement cult, paid dues to a guru who split with the money. So, after dropping out, I made an attitude adjustment. I loosened my grip. I stopped sprinting. Broadened the margins, to paraphrase Thoreau.
Distractions can aid learning. Napping does, too. Quitting before a project is done: not all bad, as an almost done project lingers in memory far longer than one that is completed.
Taking a test on a subject before you know anything about it improves subsequent learning.
Something about these findings nagged at me. They’re not quite believable at first, but they’re worth trying
the collective findings of modern learning science provide much more than a recipe for how to learn more efficiently. They describe a way of life.
The brain is not like a muscle, at least not in any straightforward sense. It is something else altogether, sensitive to mood, to timing, to circadian rhythms, as well as to location, environment. It registers far more than we’re conscious of and often adds previously unnoticed details when revisiting a memory or learned fact. It works hard at night, during sleep, searching for hidden links and deeper significance in the day’s events.
If the brain is a learning machine, then it’s an eccentric one. And it performs best when its quirks are exploited.
These approaches aren’t get-smarter schemes that require computer software, gadgets, or medication.
On the contrary, they are all small alterations, alterations in how we study or practice that we can apply individually, in our own lives, right now.
The hardest part in doing so may be trusting that they work. because this research defies everything we’ve been told about how best to learn.
Ex: Sticking to one learning ritual, in other words, slows us down.
devoting a block of time to repetitively practicing just that. Wrong again. Studies find that the brain picks up patterns more efficiently when presented with a mixed bag of related tasks than when it’s force-fed just one
Yet we now know that a brief distraction can help when we’re stuck on a math problem or tied up in a creative knot and need to shake free.
In short, it is not that there is a right way and wrong way to learn. It’s that there are different strategies, each uniquely suited to capturing a particular type of information. A good hunter tailors the trap to the prey.
Dyslexia improves pattern recognition. Bilingual kids are better learners. Math anxiety is a brain disorder. Games are the best learning tool. Music training enhances science aptitude.
But much of this is background noise, a rustling of the leaves. The aim in this book is to trace the trunk of the tree, the basic theory and findings that have stood up to scrutiny—and upon which learning can be improved.
First section: Cognitive science is a step up the ladder from biology and, most important for us, it clarifies how remembering, forgetting, and learning are related.
Second section: Retention tools.
Third section: comprehension techniques, the kind we need to solve problems in math and science.
Fourth section: co-opt the subconscious mind to amplify those techniques. “learning without thinking”
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.
some of what we’ve been taught to think of as our worst enemies—laziness, ignorance, distraction—can also work in our favor.