- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: TarcherPerigee; 1 edition (July 31, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 039916524X
- ISBN-13: 978-0399165245
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 346 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra) 1st Edition
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“A good teacher will leave you educated. But a great teacher will leave you curious. Well, Barbara Oakley is a great teacher. Not only does she have a mind for numbers, she has a way with words, and she makes every one of them count.”
—Mike Rowe, creator and host of Discovery Channel’s "Dirty Jobs" and CEO of mikeroweWORKS
“If you struggled through math and slept through science, there’s hope. In A Mind for Numbers, polymath Barbara Oakley reveals how to unlock the analytic powers of our brains so we can learn how to learn. This book should be required reading for students—and for my mother.”
—Adam Grant, New York Times-bestselling author of Give and Take
"Superb not only for those who are struggling or who are expert at math, but for readers who wish to think and comprehend more efficiently."
“An ingeniously accessible introduction to the science of human cognition—along with practical advice on how to think better.”
—James Taranto, The Wall Street Journal
“In my book The Math Instinct, I described how we have known since the early 1990s that all ordinary people can do mathematics, and in The Math Gene, I explained why the capacity for mathematical thinking is both a natural consequence of evolution and yet requires effort to unleash it. What I did not do is show how to tap in to that innate ability. Professor Oakley does just that.”
—Keith Devlin, NPR Weekend Edition’s “Math Guy”
“A wonderful book! How do you come to love math and science, and how do you come to learn math and science? Read A Mind for Numbers. Barbara Oakley is the magician who will help you do both.”
—Francisco J. Ayala, University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine, and former President and Chairman of the Board, American Association for the Advancement of Science
“Being good at science and mathematics isn’t just something you are; it’s something you become. This users’ guide to the brain unmasks the mystery around achieving success in mathematics and science. I have seen far too many students opt out when they hit a rough patch. But now that learners have a handy guide for ‘knowing better’ they will also be able to ‘do better.’”
—Shirley Malcom, Head of Education and Human Resources Programs, American Association for the Advancement of Science
“A Mind for Numbers is an excellent book about how to approach mathematics, science, or any realm where problem solving plays a prominent role.”
—J. Michael Shaughnessy, Past President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
“I have not been this excited about a book in a long time. Giving students deep knowledge on how to learn will lead to higher retention and student success in every field. It is a gift that will last them a lifetime.”
—Robert R Gamache, Ph.D., Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and International Relations, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
”A Mind for Numbers helps put students in the driver’s seat—empowering them to learn more deeply and easily. This outstanding book is also a useful resource for instructional leaders. Given the urgent need for America to improve its science and math education so it can stay competitive, A Mind for Numbers is a welcome find.”
—Geoffrey Canada, President, Harlem Children's Zone
"It's easy to say 'work smarter, not harder,' but Barbara Oakley actually shows you how to do just that, in a fast-paced and accessible book that collects tips based on experience and sound science. In fact, I'm going to incorporate some of these tips into my own teaching."
—Glenn Harlan Reynolds, Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law, The University of Tennessee
“A Mind for Numbers is a splendid resource for how to approach mathematics learning and in fact learning in any area. Barbara Oakley’s authoritative guide is based on the latest research in the cognitive sciences, and provides a clear, concise, and entertaining roadmap for how to get the most out of learning. This is a must-read for anyone who has struggled with mathematics and anyone interested in enhancing their learning experience.”
—David C. Geary, Curators’ Professor of Psychological Sciences and Interdisciplinary Neuroscience, University of Missouri
“For students afraid of math and science and for those who love the subjects, this engaging book provides guidance in establishing study habits that take advantage of how the brain works.”
—Deborah Schifter, Principal Research Scientist, Science and Mathematics Programs, Education Development Center, Inc.
“A Mind for Numbers explains the process of learning in a fascinating and utterly memorable way. This book is a classic, not only for learners of all ages, but for teachers of all kinds.”
—Frances R. Spielhagen, Ph.D., Director, Center for Adolescent Research and Development, Mount Saint Mary College
About the Author
Barbara Oakley is a professor of engineering at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Her research has been termed "revolutionary" by the Wall Street Journal. She has received many national awards for her teaching, including the American Society of Engineering Education Chester F. Carlson Award for outstanding technical innovation in STEM pedagogy and the Theo L. Pilkington Award for exemplary work in bioengineering education. Her Coursera-UC San Diego course Learning How to Learn, created with her co-instructor Terrence Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute, is the most popular massive open online course in the world, with nearly 2 million students to date.
Top customer reviews
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I'm going back to school again for a degree in engineering and successfully achieved a 4.0 this first quarter using these strategies. This would have been completely impossible for me in the past.
I am a student majoring in the sciences who suffered as a child with basic math and reading. I failed miserably in school and did not do well until after I had my daughter at the age of 19 and entered into full time college where I put my mind to things, determined to accomplished them; graduating with a 4.0 GPA. This book is something I wish I had before I started my endeavor in schooling because it would have benefited me mentally and even helped retain information. I recommend this book for every person; student or not; just read it to sharpen your mind. For students, I recommend studying this book as though it were a textbook and taking notes. I had a notebook specifically for this book when I realized it was a book worth taking notes from.
As a mother, homeschooling a dyslexic daughter, I appreciate her truthfulness which gives hope for my 8 year old daughter who struggles to read a clock, but excels in engineering and design as well as having a complex vocabulary (though a struggling reader) and horsemanship. I am now in the place to teach the passion for learning, and teaching how to learn to another person. This book will surely help me through the experience.
This book offers many general and effective learning strategies, but not specific magic bullets for 'math' and 'science'. Although it's fair to say that these general strategies indeed do help students "excel at math and science" (as well as in any other subject), I simply think a disclaimer is necessary.
So I'm giving this book three stars ("it's ok") because I think that the title is somewhat misleading. This book is marketed, very clearly, for readers in need of help in 'math' and 'science'. "Even if you flunked algebra" is part of the subtitle. 'Science' is listed one time in the S section in the index. 'Algebra' isn't listed at all. 'Math and science' are listed together in the M section where we find "challenges of math and science" and "mind's eye, developing through equation poems." Electromagnetic waves come up in this section, and chemistry comes up in the mnemonic metaphor part. But this is about as specific as it gets. There are plenty of helpful anecdotes about science and great scientists' creative perspectives, just not much for specific intractable problems found only in math and science. I'm really not sure if a book like that is possible.
Oakley describes with clarity a lot of the ideas and strategies that almost unthinkingly I use on a daily basis. But she also describes many strategies that I never developed, which eventually held me back. She does this from a neurological standpoint, describing in terms of neurological pathways, how we think, and how we strengthen pathways to develop memories and concepts in our minds. As a scientist I have a lot of respect for ideas that come from the most fundamental principles, from the most basic level of understanding.
While the book alludes to maths and science, really it describes how almost all learning happens. It doesn't describe mathematics specific strategies for coping with algebra or geometry. It is far more general.Indeed, it is general enough that it could really help with learning languages, history or sports with a bit of creativity.
Oakley describes why too much focusing can hinder learning (it reinforces current ideas and memories and prevents the creation of new ones); how to chunk complex ideas so that you can memorise and use them effortlessly; and how to memorise large amounts of information..
Now as a teacher I plan to use this to help my students to become better learners. Hopefully it helps them to become better learners than I ever was, and allows them to reach far greater heights.
The author's approach was to relate her own struggles with mathematics, and the methods she used to improve her mathematical abilities, These are folk remedies. She presents scientific research to support her lessons. Also, she uses anecdotes from other students and teachers to amplify these lessons.
It was so good that I brought two (2) copies: one for myself and one for my niece as starts high school. I hope that it encourages her to study mathematics and science.