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Publisher's Summary

“There are words that are so familiar they obscure rather than illuminate the thing they mean, and ‘learning’ is such a word. It seems so ordinary, everyone does it. Actually it’s more of a black box, which Dehaene cracks open to reveal the awesome secrets within.” (The New York Times Book Review)

An illuminating dive into the latest science on our brain's remarkable learning abilities and the potential of the machines we program to imitate them.

The human brain is an extraordinary learning machine. Its ability to reprogram itself is unparalleled, and it remains the best source of inspiration for recent developments in artificial intelligence. But how do we learn? What innate biological foundations underlie our ability to acquire new information, and what principles modulate their efficiency?

In How We Learn, Stanislas Dehaene finds the boundary of computer science, neurobiology, and cognitive psychology to explain how learning really works and how to make the best use of the brain’s learning algorithms in our schools and universities, as well as in everyday life and at any age. 

©2020 Stanislas Dehaene (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"[An] expert overview of learning.... Never mind our opposable thumb, upright posture, fire, tools, or language; it is education that enabled humans to conquer the world.... Dehaene's fourth insightful exploration of neuroscience will pay dividends for attentive readers." (Kirkus Reviews)

“[Dehaene] rigorously examines our remarkable capacity for learning. The baby brain is especially awesome and not a 'blank slate'.... Dehaene’s portrait of the human brain is fascinating.” (Booklist)

"A richly instructive [book] for educators, parents, and others interested in how to most effectively foster the pursuit of knowledge." (Publishers Weekly

What listeners say about How We Learn

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not easy to listen to, but worth forcing yourself

As the author says, meta-cognition is important.

It might not be fun to listen to at times, but stick through it. After all, we're supposed to do more and more difficult activities with our brains. The information that you'll extract by the end will have made it worthwhile.

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so cool

thought I knew a lot.....I was wrong. uniquely informative. apparently babies are pretty awesome

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Very Interesting!

As educators, some of what he talks about we know intuitively... but here is the science to support it. This gave me a different and beneficial perspective that I can take with me into the classroom. I listened to it, but I think having the text might be more beneficial to reference back to.

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A fascinating and illuminating must for parents, teachers, policy makers and scientists.

Neuroscience, artificial intelligence, educational pedagogy, language, literacy, math and sleep strung together in articulate relatable prose to guide the next generation of parents and educators; this was a fascinating and illuminating read. Dehaene’s 4 pillars will hopefully be discussed and applied firmly on a foundation of science.

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A favorite science author

Consistently great books, and this one is no exception. Make neuroscience very easily understood. Great read.

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interesting and informative

good primer on human and machine learning, together with a little glimpse of cutting edge AI mixed in here and there