Summary of How We Learn: The Surprising Truth about When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey
How We Learn, written by a science journalist Benedict Carey, promises to offer well-tested techniques that help us learn more effectively with less effort. It shatters some preconceptions about the ‘enemies of learning’, such as distraction, interruption, laziness, ignorance, restlessness, forgetfulness and even quitting – all of which can actually work in your favour.
For example, forgetting is good. You would think that remembering everything is a good skill. Not so. “Using memory changes memory— and for the better. Forgetting enables and deepens learning, by filtering out distracting information and by allowing some breakdown that, after reuse, drives retrieval and storage strength higher than they were originally,” states the book. Or, as the American psychologist William James noted, “If we remembered everything, we should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing.”