A Mind for Numbers

A Mind for Numbers : How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)

4.21 (3,764 ratings by Goodreads)
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The companion book to COURSERA(R)'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!show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 150 x 228 x 24mm | 339.99g
  • Tarcher/Putnam,US
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations, black & white line drawings
  • 039916524X
  • 9780399165245
  • 3,927

About Barbara Oakley

Barbara Oakley is a professor of engineering at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She has received many awards for her teaching, including the coveted National Science Foundation New Century Scholar Award.show more

Review quote

"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" "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" "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 Viceshow more

Rating details

3,764 ratings
4.21 out of 5 stars
5 45% (1,686)
4 37% (1,383)
3 14% (543)
2 3% (120)
1 1% (32)
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