Learn Better

Amazon Editors’—  “Best Book Of The Year.”

“Thought-provoking work unpacks the complex subject of how we learn,” —Publisher’s Weekly

“Alternately humorous, surprising, and profound,” — Walter Isaacson

Excerpted in SlateVox, Wired, Scientific American, and US News & World Report

Featured on NPR and the Atlantic.

Spin-offs in the New York Times and the Washington Post.


For centuries, experts have argued that learning was about memorizing information: You’re supposed to study facts, dates, and details, burn them into your memory, and then apply that knowledge at opportune times. But this approach to learning isn’t nearly enough for the world that we live in today, and in Learn Better, I demonstrate that how we learn can matter just as much as what we learn.

In the book, I map out the new science of learning, showing how simple techniques like self-questioning can help people gain expertise in dramatically better ways. Among the important findings and practical tips, I tell a series of fascinating stories. I explains how artist Jackson Pollock learned to paint—and why an ancient Japanese counting device allows kids to do math at superhuman speeds.

This powerful book will revolutionize the way students—and society—approach learning and aims to spark dramatic changes in our nation’s school system.

Below are reviews, extras, as well as photos that never made it into the book. You can buy the book now at AmazonBarnes and Noble, IBooks, Indiebound, and Booksamillion.


“Learning makes us human, yet few of us truly understand how the brain, the heart, and the body work together to create new knowledge. Learn Better pulls back the curtain on the hidden ways we are wired for learning, in ways that are alternately humorous, surprising, and profound.”

—Walter Isaacson,  President and CEO of the Aspen Institute and author most recently of The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

“Boser’s thought-provoking work unpacks the complex subject of how we learn… littered with personal anecdotes about his own struggles and successes with learning, crammed with descriptions of exciting research in the area…. This work infuses a sense of fresh excitement and accessibility into a topic sometimes considered stodgy.”

Publisher’s Weekly

“Author and education researcher Ulrich Boser digs into the neuroscience of learning and shows why it’s so hard to remember facts.”

Olga Khazan, The Atlantic

“Witty, engaging writing… It’ll challenge you to re-think the way you see facts and process information. Pick up this new book and see why your brain is even smarter – and better – than you think,”

Tim Chan, Spy

“Boser’s smart and approachable writing style engaged me at once as he laid out six methods for becoming an expert at whatever you like, whether it’s basketball, parenting, or quantum physics,”

Adrian Liang, Amazon’s Top Picks

“This book is a great read. I enjoyed every moment of it. I enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on my own experiences in the classroom and my own experiences as a student.”

—John King, former Secretary of Education

Boser conveys the science of learning “in an accessible and enjoyable style in Learn Better. He scrupulously reports the research of others, and shares the results of studies he led himself at the Center for American Progress.”

Annie Murphy Paul, KQED

“When it comes to how we learn, much of what we think we know is, in fact, wrong.”

Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard

“Useful book for presenting meta-information on learning things.”

Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

“Learn Better offers real insights on learning, the role of educators, and how the two can come together in deep and meaningful ways for students and all life-long learners. Boser makes the science of learning accessible and interesting for educators, parents, and policymakers.”

—Randi Weingarten, President American Federation of Teachers

“Brimming with helpful insights and interesting stories, this surprising and engaging new book provides an important, much-needed introduction to the science of learning.  It belongs on the bookshelf of every learner.”

—Linda Darling-Hammond, President of the Learning Policy Institute and Charles E. Ducommon Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University.

The book “lays out the science in very accessible and readable ways… Boser explodes a lot of myths about learning.”

Bob Rothman, Education Week

“Wide-ranging in its scope and approach… very useful insights into how learning operates throughout our lives, not just in the classroom.”

Natalie Houston, Chronicle of Higher Education

“Best book on education that I’ve read in long time.”

Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at the UCL Institute of Education 



VOX: Sorry Kids, Schools Need More Testing, Not Less.


U.S. NEWS: A Better Way To Learn In City Schools:Kids gain a better understanding of a topic – and hone critical thinking skills – by arguing about it.


THE SEATTLE TIMES: Say No To Highlighters, Yes to Flash Cards: A Q&A with Ulrich Boser


SLATE: Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect: If you want to actually get better at something, you need to first figure out what you’re doing wrong.


VOX: I learned how to do math with the ancient abacus – and it changed my life


FAST COMPANY: Five Popular Myths About Learning That Are Completely Wrong


INC: Want to Be a  Better Learner? Consider How Pilots train to Fly a Plane: Research shows it’s possible to improve skills through targeted training and a focused process




PACIFIC STANDARD: An Interview with Tom JacobsWhy It’s Counterproductive to Call Someone Smart


THE ATLANTIC: A talk with Olga KhazanHow to Learn New Things as an Adult

BuzzFeed Quiz


Take the Learning to Learn Quiz  I created a Buzzfeed quiz based on the book along with some guides that give additional concrete advice.




Guide for Students. I developed a “Learn Better” Guide for Students, which gives some take-home tips and advice.


Guide for Teachers. Here’s the “Learn Better” Guide for Teachers and Parents, which offers research-based advice on helping learners.


Guide for Policymakers. I also produced a “Learn Better” Guide for Policymakers, that outlines recommendations for how to improve learning at scale.



ShadowBox. As part of my reporting, I took a test drive of Gary Klein’s “ShadowBox” program and learned to think like a cop.


   Hoops Tutor. This is my basketball tutor, Dwane Samuels, scoring on me.


Me discussing Learn Better with Joshua Starr, CEO of PDK and former superintendent of Montgomery County Schools.



Info GraphicThis tool is a quick guide on how to use the research from my book for better learning outcomes.


VideoCheck out this video on Youtube about how the abacus can help students learn math.

And if you’re looking for the list of errors and clarifications, that’s here.