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Learn Like a Pro

Science-Based Tools to Become Better at Anything

Barbara Oakley PhD and Olav Schewe

St. Martin's Essentials

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ISBN10: 1250799376
ISBN13: 9781250799371

Trade Paperback

160 Pages



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Do you spend too much time learning with disappointing results? Do you find it difficult to remember what you read? Do you put off studying because it’s boring and you’re easily distracted? This book is for you.

Dr. Barbara Oakley and Olav Schewe have both struggled in the past with their learning. But they have found techniques to help them master any material. Building on insights from neuroscience and cognitive psychology, they give you a crash course to improve your ability to learn, no matter what the subject is. Through their decades of writing, teaching, and research on learning, the authors have developed deep connections with experts from a vast array of disciplines. And it’s all honed with feedback from thousands of students who have themselves gone through the trenches of learning.

Successful learners gradually add tools and techniques to their mental toolbox, and they think critically about their learning to determine when and how to best use their mental tools. That allows these learners to make the best use of their brains, whether those brains seem “naturally” geared toward learning or not. This book will teach you how you can do the same.


Praise for Learn Like a Pro

"Learn Like a Pro is the book I wish I’d had when I was a student. It is jam-packed with practical, evidence-based advice for overcoming procrastination, strengthening memory, and reading more effectively. You’ll find a nugget of learning gold on every page.”—Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of When, Drive, and To Sell is Human

“If you want to learn how to learn, I can’t think of better guides than Barbara Oakley and Olav Schewe. They transformed themselves from struggling students into master teachers, and they’ve written an unusually digestible, immediately useful book about how to build your knowledge, improve your memory, and boost your motivation to keep getting smarter."—Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

"As both an educator and a lifelong student, I've found that most of us hack our way through when it comes to learning. We collect only an ad hoc hodgepodge of techniques that happen to cross our paths. But now I finally see the light. There's a method to optimizing our learning, a collection of best practices, and we're fools not to take on learning as a proper discipline. This book covers the leading methods in such a simple and fun way, it can't help but inspire you to jump in!"—Eric Siegel, Ph.D., founder of Predictive Analytics World and author of Predictive Analytics

"In Learn Like a Pro, the authors provide a lively and nicely illustrated guide to specific activities that can make any of us more effective learners—and they intersperse instructive and entertaining cartoons as to why that is the case in terms of underlying neural changes in the brain."—Robert A. Bjork; Distinguished Research Professor; University of California, Los Angeles

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt


How to Focus Intently and Beat Procrastination

You’re reading this book because, no matter what you’re trying to learn, you want to make sure every minute of your studies counts. So let us start by giving you one of the simplest,...

About the author

Barbara Oakley PhD and Olav Schewe

Barbara Oakley, PhD, PE is a Professor of Engineering at Oakland University and Michigan’s Distinguished Professor of the Year for 2018; she is also Coursera’s inaugural Innovation Instructor.

Olav Schewe is the founder and CEO of Educas, an educational technology startup, that develops solutions to help students learn how to learn. He is also an educational consultant to one of the world’s largest educational tech companies, Kahoot!.

Rachel Oakley
Ofu Yu