I’m reading less and less paper today. I still love the feeling of a book, but I’m also a fan of tablets and e-readers. Especially when it comes to textbooks and course material, I’m more partial to go for the digital versions these days. It helps when I can copy-paste quotations for my own material.

Also, most e-books come with bonus downloadables. Specially the educational ones.

With that in mind I think it’s time to review my first e-book. And of course it should be about learning techniques.

Get the best grades!

It’s called “Get the best grades with the least amount of effort” and is written by Dr. Marc Dussault.

The first two things that I noticed where the fact that it’s a lot of material and that it’s a relative easy read. A good thing, because the last thing you want reading a large volume is academic language that is difficult to get past.

He takes a while to get to the actual techniques though, and depending on what you expect from a book that could be a good or bad thing.

Once I got there, I must say I did not read that much that was new to me. But of course I’ve been reading a lot about the subject, and am writing about it as well now.

But he does present a lot of very good material, and in a logical structural way to boot. That makes it easy to stay motivated and also easy to track back any material you want to consult again later on.

A constant seems to be how he sets goals: he keeps them realistic and not too distant. I’m a big fan of that method as well to keep yourself motivated.

He also offers clear strategy hooks like the Pareto principle (I need to write something about this in a future blog post) and seems keen on the distinction between what is urgent and what is really important. And he does present a wide array of practical tips and tricks.

The only thing I’m really missing is a clear link with study styles of the individual student. Still it’s sort of present, and easy enough to link to his material.

All in all it’s one of the most complete guide of tips and tricks I’ve come across, and a very useful read for students of all ages. And even teachers could pick up some tricks to help their students.

Now keep in mind the title says ‘least amount’. It does not say you don’t need to work, only that it presents techniques to make you work more efficient, so that less actual study time is needed.

You can get the book here.

 

When a 16 years old writes a book about studying techniques that becomes a bestseller, people tend do notice. And when it’s about one of my favourite subjects, I become interested. But as I was running him through google, he released this one. And I decided to pick up this instead.

Now in his early twenties, Rob finished up his high school getting straight A’s and became an undergraduate in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. He’s currently working on getting his master and PHD in criminology … another subject I like as an ex-cop.

This book almost reads as a novel. It’s written with a nice flow to it that still shows the author’s young age. But that’s ok, because he really knows how to connect to his audience. For instance, he frequently refers to the internet and social media, and how they can both help and get in the way of your efforts.

He also manages to find the balance between book knowledge from his chosen field of study and practical tips he tried out himself. This is someone who really puts a lot of thought and passion into the subject and I’ll probably use some of his material as inspiration for blog posts to come.

I knew quite a few of this stuff from other sources, but the practicality in which he presents it makes it very easy to remember and use. So much that I recommend it to students and teachers alike. Even parents of younger teens should probably take note.

I specially like how he also is a fan of relating study material to events and situations of the student’s own life and how powerful a tool that can be. I made a recent blogpost about that myself and I can’t stress enough how well that works.

He is also very much on board with modern technology and how to use it to your benefit. A big fan of doodle and mind maps for sure. And he explains the benefits of them in a simple yet effective way. He even mentions a pillow with speakers in them which can be used to gently play audio books or material to you while you sleep. That’s supposed to help. (In fact there are plenty of studies that suggest it does help … providing you are the kind of sleeper that does not wake up from it)

So this is very much a book I am a fan of, and I can’t wait for his first work about criminology…

In the mean time, get this one at AmazonAmazon UK or your local store if they can order it.

I’m a teacher and I like to study, which is why I started this blog. I also like to study other people. So I also got very interested in body language.

To be honest, that dates back to the time I played poker more seriously. I wasn’t bad at it btw, I consistently won money but wasn’t good enough (or perhaps dedicated enough) to turn pro.

Live poker and teaching have one thing in common: reading body language is a very valuable skill to have. In fact, it’s profitable in a lot of situations: from salespeople to public servants, a lot of people could use it professionally. And even in your personal life knowing a bit about body language will help you.

I haven’t posted one fact on this blog before. I was a police officer for 4 years when I was younger. I won’t go into details why I did that and why I quit, but it still is an experience I cherish. And it explains why in my search for material on body language I ended up buying the book of this review.

A few professional poker players started promoting a book by Joe Navarro called read ‘m and reap. In this book Joe taught people how to use body language as an edge in live poker games. But the reason It really peaked my interest is that he was an ex FBI agent specialized in interrogation. A bit like Tim Roth’s character in de series Lie to me.

I read the book and started using his stuff. Pretty soon I made a lot more in live poker games than I did online. (The reason I kinda quit poker is because I started to dislike it, not because I started losing)

At the same time I started to study for my teacher’s degree. And my communications teacher also was pretty big on body language. So I decided to buy another book by Joe called ‘What every body is saying’. And boy was I impressed.

This book is well written and very readable. It does not have the typical barrage of big words academics use. However the depth he reaches is astonishing and the way he constantly interchanges theory and practical use is of an academic level, without having to be a university student to be able to process it.

He has you convinced he knows what he is talking about by page 10, and you are really sucked in to it by page 20. In fact you’ll find yourself engaged in this book like you normally would be with a great fiction book. But of course it is all very real. And of course it is all illustrated very well.

So if you want to know more about body language I believe this is the book to start with. In fact, it is probably the only book you’ll ever need. Although I’ve read most of his other stuff as well now, he really is someone you can’t get enough of.

What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People (Amazon)
What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People (Amazon uk)
Phil Hellmuth Presents Read 'Em and Reap: A Career FBI Agent's Guide to Decoding Poker Tells (Amazon)
Phil Hellmuth Presents Read 'Em and Reap: A Career FBI Agent's Guide to Decoding Poker Tells (Amazon uk)
Lie to Me Complete Series Seasons 1-3 DVD Set (Amazon)
Lie to Me - Complete Season 1-3 [DVD] (amazon uk)

Like most non-hardcore chess fans, I’ve first learned of Josh Waitzkin by watching the awesome movie ‘Searching for Bobby Fisher’ which dramatizes his first years as a young chess prodigy.

I got reacquainted with him by buying the chessmaster program. He wrote the chess courses for that program. And I started to read up on this guy.

I was surprised he mostly quit competitive chess after being a national champion for several times. The real interesting part is he then went on to start martial arts and became world champion in competitive Tai Chi. Also I found out he wrote a book called ‘the art of learning’.

As I’m a teacher, that really peaked my interest. So I got a copy and was not disappointed at all. While not a theoretical book on learning techniques, it was very inspirational and does include a lot of nice tips and tricks Josh used himself as motivation. He is able to learn a lot very fast, and after you’ve read the book you realize why.

The book follows his life journey, first as a chess prodigy, then as a world class martial artist. In fact it was part of my inspiration to start this blog (even though I first read it a few years ago), as the book really connects life and learning. It shows how better learning also improves your life quality, and how you can find motivation and inspiration in life.

It has something for everyone, the author never loses sight of his humanity. He highlights his flaws and how he overcame them when possible. And most of all, the book grips you and entertains. Once you start a chapter, it’s very hard to let it go until you at least finished that particular chapter.

So if you are looking for a book to inspire you, but is also very entertaining, I can fully recommend this one.

The Art of Learning: Get it at Amazon

The Art of Learning: Get it at amazon.uk

Searching for Bobby Fischer (Amazon)

 

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