A Mind for Numbers

How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)

by Barbara Oakley

Number of pages: 336

Publisher: Tarcher Perigee

BBB Library: Education

ISBN: 978-0399165245

About the Author

She is a professor of engineering at Oakland University and a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Bio-logical Engineering.


Editorial Review

In this book, you may be surprised to learn that the brain is designed to do extraordinary mental calculations. We do it every time we catch a ball, or maneuver our car around a pothole in the road. We often do complex calculations, solve complex equations unconsciously, unaware that we sometimes know the solution as we slowly work toward it. In fact, we all have a natural feel and flair for math and science. We just need to master the lingo and the culture.

Book Reviews

"One of the principles presented in the book is the idea that learning is more effective when spread across longer time, with regular repetitions and time in between to consolidate knowledge. This principle is well known in psychology.” – In-mind.org

"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

"I get the feeling this is going to be a book that I read on a yearly basis (spaced repetition) to continuously improve these concepts. This post could have been a lot longer, but I’d rather encourage you to read the book yourself and practice the exercises at the end of each chapter." — Scott Muc

"This book has something for everyone interested in the learning of mathematics.” – Mathematical Association of America

Books on Related Topics

Wisdom to Share

In fact, we all have a natural feel and flair for math and science. We just need to master the lingo and the culture.

When you are stressed, you lose the ability to make those connections. This is why your brain doesn’t seem to work right when you are angry, stressed, or afraid.

Chunking information helps your brain run more efficiently. Chunks are pieces of information that are bound together through meaning.

Understanding is like superglue that holds the underlying memory traces together.

Avoiding something painful seems sensible. But sadly, the long-term effects of habitual avoidance are more painful.

To prevent procrastination, there is a great way to reframe things: focus on the process, not the product.

Your attention should be on building processes, habits, that coincidently allow you to do the unpleasant tasks.

Storytelling in general has long been a vitally important way of understanding and retaining information.

Chess grand masters don’t construct their neural structures through last-minute cramming. Instead, their knowledge base is gradually built over time and with plenty of practice that builds their understanding of big-picture context.

Truly great teachers make the material seem both simple and profound, set up mecha-nisms for students to learn from each other, and inspire students to learn on their own.