Executive Position Job Order  |  Executive Candidate Registration
Global Executive Search Recruiting Firm

Book Review: How We Learn: The Surprising Truth about When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey
- Executive Leadership Articles

RMA - Global Executive Search Recruiting Firm Solutions - Executive Search Recruiting Solutions Career Center - Executive Search Resources For Employers & Job Seekers Employers & Hiring Professionals - RMA Is Your Source For Top Executive Candidates Job Seekers & Executive Candidates - Your New Career Begins Here! Industry Expertise - Executive Search Recruiting Expertise In 30 Industries Company - Over 20 Years of Executive Search Recruiting Experience News & Articles - Executive Search Recruiting News & Articles Contact RMA - The Trusted Executive Search Recruiting Firm
Your Source For Top Executive Candidates
News & Articles »
News & Articles
Executive Search Firm News
Executive Leadership Articles
Follow RMA On Google+
Follow RMA On Facebook
Follow RMA On Twitter
News & Articles - Executive Search Recruiting News & Articles
Book Review: How We Learn: The Surprising Truth about When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey - Executive Leadership Articles

Book Review: How We Learn: The Surprising Truth about When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey

Executive Leadership Articles

Book Review: How We Learn: The Surprising Truth about When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey

We’ve all been there: we crammed the material and regurgitated it on demand when we needed it for a presentation, a certification exam, or some other high-stakes setting where specific knowledge was called for. Yet within a few days we could remember almost none of it. Sure, we jumped through the flaming hoop and earned our cred, but did we learn the material?

Of course we didn’t. Despite our best efforts at crunch time, we stuffed relevant info into one part of our brains, squeezed it out on demand, and then let it seep out of ourselves, to be replaced by the next thing requiring our short-term recall.

Author Benedict Carey shares how as a high-schooler, he was a straight-A student, a hard worker who did all the things good students are supposed to do. He had a quiet, dedicated study area. He shut out distractions like music and TV. He woke up early for extra studying the morning of tests. But he didn’t get into the universities he wanted, and he dropped out of college entirely after his first semester.

When he went back for another shot, he was a little less driven. He studied enough, but gone were his routine, his singular focus, and his obsession with grades. Where school had once been his whole life, now school was a part of his life. He hit the books at a variety of times in between socializing, goofing off, and doing the things college students do. He thrived with this less structured, cool approach to schooling. Today he is a science and medicine journalist for the New York Times.

Over the years, he’s read and reported on research about learning, and in How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens (Random House, 2014), he expresses disappointment that the science hasn’t led to changes in the way we think about learning. “The brain is not like a muscle,” he writes, “at least not in any straightforward sense. It is something else altogether, sensitive to mood, to timing, to circadian rhythms, [and] to location and environment.” What we were taught about good study habits is contradicted by science about how the brain takes in new information, how it stores it, and how it retrieves it.

The conventional wisdom makes it difficult for some of Carey’s lifehacks to be believed in many cases. It “requires some suspension of disbelief because the research defies everything we’ve been told about how best to learn.”

The first part of the book, which some readers may find just a bit sloggy, addresses the stuff of our brains: how we learn and where all that learning resides. As a former educator, this reviewer find it a refreshing examination of concepts many people outside education misunderstand. Readers are encouraged not to skip this section, even though it may be tempting to get to the good stuff.

The good stuff is in part two, where Carey addresses the breaking of good habits as well as breaking up study time. “They are all small alterations in how we study or practice that we can apply individually, in our own lives, right now,” says Carey. Among these are varying our learning environments so that our brains don’t connect the material to a specific mindspace, and spacing our study sessions for new information: it turns out that for rote memory, reviewing material every two month over 26 months is far better for retention than reviewing the same material every two weeks over 26 months.

There is no universal learning system that works for everyone, which makes the term “standardized learning” a horrible oxymoron. Learning defies standards, so specific recommendations in this book are unlikely to have the same effects across the board. However, because the writer provides the science behind the reasoning (even at times admitting that scientists don’t know exactly why certain tricks work), there’s a lot of impetus in these pages for self-reflection. If nothing else, the book should inspire tweaking of these practices in order to find the practices that work best for each of us, and perhaps for those we teach.

Recommended for teachers, trainers, managers, and people looking to optimize the way they take in new material.

 

RMA® Executive Search Recruiting Firm Locations:

 
United States & Canada:   Europe, Asia & Pacific:
 
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Beijing, China
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Hong Kong, China
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • London, England
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Mumbai, India
  • New Delhi, India
  • Paris, France
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Rome, Italy
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • Zurich, Switzerland
 
 

Book Review: How We Learn: The Surprising Truth about When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey - Executive Leadership Articles

RMA Executive Search Recruiting Firm  /  News & Articles  /  Articles  /  Management: Religion In The Office




Start at the Career Center


News & Articles Links: