Learn Better

Ulrich Boser is the founder of The Learning Agency and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress

I n the five years since I decided to start a study skills and academic coaching business based on practical applications of the science of learning, there’ve been two celebrated mainstream books published on learning how to learn: Make it Stick (2014) and Learn Better (2017).

I love them both, but I suggest starting with, Learn Better: Mastering the Skills for Success in Life, Business, and School, or, How to Become an Expert in Just About Anything, by Ulrich Boser because it’s more fun. Boser also lives in Washington DC, so why not buy a copy from my neighborhood East City Book Shop to carry with you always in case you run into him?

In Learn Better, Boser presents a framework for approaching learning that describes effective learning as a process by which people, “value, target, develop, extend, relate, and rethink” the knowledge they’re trying to acquire.

There’s enough science in the book to support this framework, but there are also enough everyday examples from Boser’s personal adventures in learning that you don’t even have to believe in science to believe him when he assures you that anybody can learn anything. Consider that Boser himself isn’t a scientist, but Amazon still named Learn Better the “best science book of the year”.

The science of learning is the foundation of all effective study skills and academic coaching. When clients ask me what they can do to prepare to make the most of our sessions, I suggest they start by reading Ulrich Boser’s Ten Commandments of Learning to Learn, a short introduction to the idea that there are entire books written about learning how to make the most of your study skills.

Next month, Make it Stick!

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