Learn Better

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.


The book will be available on March 7, 2017. Buy now at AmazonBarnes and Noble, IBooks, Indiebound, and Booksamillion.


“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


“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


“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.


“This critically important book offers valuable–and fun to master–insights about how to learn deeply and meaningfully in a time when all the “knowledge” in the world is just a swipe of the finger away.”

–Laura Moser, former education blogger at Slate.


“Learning is the project of a lifetime. In this humane and insightful book, Ulrich Boser reveals the tools that everyone from grade school children to their parents in the workplace can use to keep pace in a fast-changing world.”

–Kevin Carey, author of The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere.


“Learn Better is at once comprehensive and delightful, filled to the brim with definitive insights on how we learn best. Boser is an engaging guide who has thoroughly sifted through the vast research on the science of learning to offer key takeaways that can be put into practice immediately.  Essential reading for educators, parents, and anyone who wants to learn, once and for all, what it actually takes to ‘learn better.’”

–Christine Gross-Loh, bestselling author of The Path and Parenting Without Borders


“As Ulrich Boser reveals in an engrossing and highly entertaining way, the retention of facts, dates, and principles—learning—isn’t about what you do, but how you do it. One can’t simply vacuum up data, instead one has to “meaningfully process information.” Best of all for this old dog, anyone can master new skills by following the straightforward techniques detailed in Learn Better.”

–Carl Chancellor, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist


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.


Abacus. My daughters and I took an abacus class.

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