The companion book to COURSERA®'s wildly popular massive open online course "Learning How to Learn"

Whether you are a student struggling to fulfill a math or science requirement, or you are embarking on a career change that requires a new skill set, A Mind for Numbers offers the tools you need to get a better grasp of that intimidating material. 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 learning effectively—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. 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. The learning strategies in this book apply not only to math and science, but to any subject in which we struggle. We all have what it takes to excel in areas that don't seem to come naturally to us at first, and learning them does not have to be as painful as we might think!
Mindshift reveals how we can overcome stereotypes and preconceived ideas about what is possible for us to learn and become.
 
At a time when we are constantly being asked to retrain and reinvent ourselves to adapt to new technologies and changing industries, this book shows us how we can uncover and develop talents we didn’t realize we had—no matter what our age or background. We’re often told to “follow our passions.” But in Mindshift, Dr. Barbara Oakley shows us how we can broaden our passions. Drawing on the latest neuroscientific insights, Dr. Oakley shepherds us past simplistic ideas of “aptitude” and “ability,” which provide only a snapshot of who we are now—with little consideration about how we can change.
     Even seemingly “bad” traits, such as a poor memory, come with hidden advantages—like increased creativity. Profiling people from around the world who have overcome learning limitations of all kinds, Dr. Oakley shows us how we can turn perceived weaknesses, such as impostor syndrome and advancing age, into strengths. People may feel like they’re at a disadvantage if they pursue a new field later in life; yet those who change careers can be fertile cross-pollinators: They bring valuable insights from one discipline to another. Dr. Oakley teaches us strategies for learning that are backed by neuroscience so that we can realize the joy and benefits of a learning lifestyle. Mindshift takes us deep inside the world of how people change and grow. Our biggest stumbling blocks can be our own preconceptions, but with the right mental insights, we can tap into hidden potential and create new opportunities.
Mindshift reveals how we can overcome stereotypes and preconceived ideas about what is possible for us to learn and become.
 
At a time when we are constantly being asked to retrain and reinvent ourselves to adapt to new technologies and changing industries, this book shows us how we can uncover and develop talents we didn’t realize we had—no matter what our age or background. We’re often told to “follow our passions.” But in Mindshift, Dr. Barbara Oakley shows us how we can broaden our passions. Drawing on the latest neuroscientific insights, Dr. Oakley shepherds us past simplistic ideas of “aptitude” and “ability,” which provide only a snapshot of who we are now—with little consideration about how we can change.
     Even seemingly “bad” traits, such as a poor memory, come with hidden advantages—like increased creativity. Profiling people from around the world who have overcome learning limitations of all kinds, Dr. Oakley shows us how we can turn perceived weaknesses, such as impostor syndrome and advancing age, into strengths. People may feel like they’re at a disadvantage if they pursue a new field later in life; yet those who change careers can be fertile cross-pollinators: They bring valuable insights from one discipline to another. Dr. Oakley teaches us strategies for learning that are backed by neuroscience so that we can realize the joy and benefits of a learning lifestyle. Mindshift takes us deep inside the world of how people change and grow. Our biggest stumbling blocks can be our own preconceptions, but with the right mental insights, we can tap into hidden potential and create new opportunities.
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