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Publisher's Summary

Whether you are a student struggling to fulfill a math or science requirement, or you are embarking on a career change that requires a higher level of math competency, A Mind for Numbers offers the tools you need to get a better grasp of that intimidating but inescapable field.

Engineering professor Barbara Oakley knows firsthand how it feels to struggle with math. She flunked her way through high school math and science courses, before enlisting in the army immediately after graduation. When she saw how her lack of mathematical and technical savvy severely limited her options - both to rise in the military and to explore other careers - she returned to school with a newfound determination to re-tool her brain to master the very subjects that had given her so much trouble throughout her entire life.

In A Mind for Numbers, Dr. Oakley lets us in on the secrets to effectively learning math and science - secrets that even dedicated and successful students wish they'd known earlier. Contrary to popular belief, math requires creative, as well as analytical, thinking. Most people think that there's only one way to do a problem, when in actuality, there are often a number of different solutions - you just need the creativity to see them. For example, there are more than three hundred different known proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem. In short, studying a problem in a laser-focused way until you reach a solution is not an effective way to learn math. Rather, it involves taking the time to step away from a problem and allow the more relaxed and creative part of the brain to take over.

A Mind for Numbers shows us that we all have what it takes to excel in math, and learning it is not as painful as some might think!

©2014 Barbara Oakley (P)2014 Gildan Media LLC

Critic Reviews

"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 )

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Helpful!

This book is not about math techniques. Rather this book is about effective ways to learn any material. I really enjoyed the practical tips in this book. I have already put into use a few of them for my everyday life.

68 of 70 people found this review helpful

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  • CC
  • 04-30-15

A mind for learning and doing anything.

Great book and can be applied to learning or doing anything. The section on procrastination is worth the read all on its own.

43 of 44 people found this review helpful

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  • aja
  • El Cajon, CA, United States
  • 04-15-17

Content better suited to print book

I think I'd get more from the book reading it in print, or perhaps using print and audio.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book for Learning to Learn

I am a senior citizen and came across this book by accident. It is the best book on how to learn (any subject)! I only wish I'd read it when I was a young student. Quite happily I am grateful to be able to use the techniques it suggests as I continue to learn...for the best is yet to come!!!

77 of 81 people found this review helpful

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  • temak
  • united states
  • 04-05-15

nice

I'd like to see some of the illustrations described but it's OK. really powerful tools

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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great advice

Many useful and practical learning techniques and when to use them. Also an important look at the techniques that don't work (which we use every day in school.)

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

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A must read for math and science majors

Great book. Exceeded my expectations. Very insightful and provided me with great tips and techniques for mastering math and science, as well as any other subject!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant Life changing Paradigm Shifting & Fun!

If you could sum up A Mind for Numbers in three words, what would they be?

This book will help you understand your limitations and give you tools to overcome them. Each chapter will change your life and the way you think. I would have never given this book a second glance, thinking it was about math! It is about so much more than math and science. It is about fostering creativity, writing skills, and any other area which you wish to improve.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Mind for Numbers?

I hate picking just one, but I would have to say the tips for overcoming procrastination were great.

What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

Top notch

What did you learn from A Mind for Numbers that you would use in your daily life?

Everything! Seriously, I can't say enough good things about this book. I was truly surprised at the insightfulness, cutting edge scientific research, and even a little humor. I feel like I owe Dr. Oakley more money! In my everyday life, I have been able to summon and harness my creativity, when it is useful to me.

Any additional comments?

Buy this book.

33 of 36 people found this review helpful

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breaks it down nicely

great productive information , breaks down strategies for studing well and clearly. mainly encompasses math and science learning but can be applied to any subject

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Armstrong
  • Abbott, TX, United States
  • 01-20-16

Just another fluff book, with a few decent ideas

There are not many actual suggestions to help improve your memory in this book. There ARE tons of filler chapters that are just stories of people that improved their lives through hard work and making themselves study. I've encountered books like this before; the author actually has a few good ideas to share, but together those ideas would only fill a few pages, so they have to make the book longer with a bunch of fluff. I learned one mnemonic device that I had never heard of before, and that's literally the only thing I could take away from this book, but if you don't know of any right now, you'll probably learn a few that will improve your memory. -If you can stand all the fluffy pillow filler.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful