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Publisher's Summary

To most of us, learning something "the hard way" implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier.

Make It Stick turns fashionable ideas like these on their head. Many common study habits and practice routines turn out to be counterproductive. Underlining and highlighting, rereading, cramming, and single-minded repetition of new skills create the illusion of mastery, but gains fade quickly. More complex and learning come from self-testing, introducing certain difficulties in practice, waiting to re-study new material until a little forgetting has set in, and interleaving the practice of one skill or topic with another. Speaking most urgently to students, teachers, trainers, and athletes, Make It Stick will appeal to all those interested in the challenge of lifelong learning and self-improvement.

©2014 Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel (P)2014 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What listeners say about Make It Stick

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Effective, efficient, enlightening !

Well worth the effort. Regardless of your motivation for learning, be it fot fun, self interest or necessity, you might as well do it effectively. This book provides the empirically tested tools to do just that. 5 Stars.

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So valuable

So many really interesting ideas, extremely valuable book for anyone wanting to improve their learning, memory retention or general awareness. Very well delivered also.

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Really great review of proper techniques

The book I guess in retrospect doesn't tell us any big "secret" or anything (unless you still believe simply repeating something 18 times in a row will make you memorise it long term) but the value of the book still can't be understated. It's written by accomplished cognitive psychologists who really lay out the current state of knowledge and - more valuably to me - why we fall for less effective techniques. It made it really motivating to incorporate certain methods even if they felt less effective in the short term and I can attest that my long term retention is much improved.

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  • turtle
  • 24-04-2015

Excellent Resource for Students and Teachers

I listen to and read a lot of nonfiction books in order to learn new skills and hone the ones I have. I'm used to self-help books being about 20% fact and 80% opinion. However, Make It Stick turned that trend on its head. It uses tons of studies, and bases the arguments and recommendations on those instead of cherry-picking facts to suit an opinion. I really appreciated the empirical evidence; it makes it a lot easier to trust the conclusion. I'm planning on assigning this book to my students every semester from here on out.

59 people found this helpful

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  • Lee Ann Dodson
  • 31-10-2014

Such a great read I didn't want to stop driving

What did you love best about Make It Stick?

I began listening to this book while I was driving from Northern Florida to Asheville, NC... It was so engaging that the ten hour drive flew by. The book was formatted in such a way that the concepts about learning and retaining information were integral to its own flow. In essence, it practiced what it preached.

What did you like best about this story?

The authors research regarding how we actually learn, as opposed to the way we have been taught to learn was based on years of careful research and presented in a manner which was entertaining as well as very informative. I have recommended it to every person I know who is either a student, or a teacher, or a life long learner like myself.

What about Qarie Marshall’s performance did you like?

The funny thing is I don't remember the 'performance' at all. That is a good thing. If the narrator is noticeable for one reason or another, I find that distracting and it destroys the flow of listening and learning in a seamless fashion. It was therefore excellent.

150 people found this helpful

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  • ANDRÉ
  • 22-11-2014

FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO KNOW HOW TO LEARN

Make it Stick, I think, is the best book that teaches how to learn-- the strategies, what really, really works, not only empirical data, but the researches, the scientific data. Do you think that reading all over again is a good plan to ace tests? Think again. There is so much good information that in the middle of the book I had to buy the written version. But don't be mistaken, the audible version delivers it all.
Make it stick is a must! Everybody who wants to increase brain power, that has a limited time to study, has to listen/read it.
Excellent book!

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

258 people found this helpful

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  • Jim Fuqua
  • 15-12-2014

Science vs Anecdotal Evidence

Math became quite advanced in the 1600s. Medicine could barely claim a scientific basis until the 1900s. Education? Education is just starting to get there.

The flip flops between "phonics" being the best method to teach reading and "whole language" being the best method to teach reading go back at least to the 1850s because education establishments depended on anecdotal and not rigorous scientific evidence to establish policy. There have been at least four flip flops regarding reading instruction because science was not used to resolve the issue. Many scientific arguments have been made on the subject but not enough large scale controlled studies.

This book is not about reading instruction. It is about the use of the scientific method to resolve the effectiveness of competing alternative methods of instruction.

Some of the discoveries disclosed by scientific inquiry discussed in this book are diametrically opposite to today's teaching methods and many are quite counter intuitive.

I won't go into detail about the content of this book, but one research project discussed in the book demonstrated how little we know.

Take two groups of students and allow one group to use computer monitors that display crisp and clear instructional material. The second group gets the same material, but the monitors are sub-standard and the images are blurred but readable with difficulty.

Who learns more? The answer? Experiments demonstrated that the students using the poor equipment learned more and retained significantly more. Why? They had to struggle. Unbelieveable, but apparently true.

I think about that when I struggle with some of the more confusingly worded Khan Academy problems. You learn from a struggle and not from spoon feeding.

This book is not about anecdotal evidence to support educational theories. It is about what has been proven to work in rigorous scientific studies. It was written by educational researchers at universities and not classroom teachers who often hold diametrically opposite views about what works. Take fifty classroom teachers and you may have twenty different opinions on how best to teach any given thing.

Our big companies such as Google and Amazon use small scale "A/B tests" on a large number of issues daily. They use the results to scientifically tailor the services they deliver to the public.

Primary and Secondary educational establishments run by governmental entities deal more in tradition. There is a trend toward "evidence based" instruction, but often the "evidence" was not scientifically generated with control groups and the examination of alternative methods.

This is a wonderful book. Perhaps there will be a day when every educational manager will take it's message to heart and adopt methods that can withstand rigorous scientific examination.



Jim Fuqua

147 people found this helpful

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  • K. Parker
  • 23-02-2015

High-quality and high impact ideas

Terrific book about important research and results for optimal learning. Contains very practical ideas for implementation as well. Highly recommended

34 people found this helpful

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  • joel
  • 24-11-2014

Amazing Book!

What did you love best about Make It Stick?

Good mix of theory a practical tips!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Make It Stick?

Learning by mistakes and Blooms Taxonomy.

Any additional comments?

This is probably the most important book I have ever read. I would highly recommend this book to law students or any other student for that matter.

46 people found this helpful

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  • Guilherme
  • 19-06-2015

Good key conceps but a lot of useless content

I think the author decided to use all the opportunities possible to hammer a few key conceps into the readers / listeners heads.
I get it, you have to self test regularly and review the material in regular intervals and before the lecture. Just don't waste eight hours saying the same thing and using case studies to fill lines on a book.
This book could easily be reduced to 4 hours. Three stars for beating around the bush but good book otherwise

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  • Brendan
  • 27-02-2020

It's not even wrong

A surface level self help style of book. Modern day folklore wrapped in a veneer of science jargon and references to studies.

I made it 2/3 into the book with a vague sense that Brown was cherry-picking to craft a narrative, before finding a subject that I had already read about and saw it present studies so uncritically as to be just shy of miss-representation.

I recommend spending time with any of these:

Thinking Fast and Slow
The Tyranny of Metrics
Mind in Motion - Tversky
The Deep History of Ourselves - LeDoux
Moonwalking with Einstein
The Memory Code
Global Brain

and any of the works of Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins or Steven Pinker, as well as other works on machine learning & neuroscience.

This is not to say the other reviewers are wrong and this work is awful... There is a lot to be commended if you've never investigated cognition and consciousness before. However what is genuinely good can also be obtained through other sources.

10 people found this helpful

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  • John J. Floro
  • 26-05-2015

Great info!

This book does a great job of explaining which practices work best for learning, which practices do not, and the why behind them. Highly recommend.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Frank Logue
  • 14-09-2014

Life Hacks for effective learning

If you could sum up Make It Stick in three words, what would they be?

Science-based learning

Any additional comments?

Want to learn some "life hacks" that help you better learn on any topic that interests you? This is your book.

The problem is that basic advice on how to study works using your short term memory, without giving you long term retention. This highly interesting book will teaches the science behind why that is true and shows scientifically verified methods to learn more effectively. Beyond just rote memorization, these techniques help with higher cognitive function as well.

They teach
1) the value of testing (including or perhaps especially self testing),
2) the boost given in "interleaving" different but related topics on a regular basis,
3) the reason why having to generate your own answers to questions before starting to study a topic opens your mind more fully to the material, and more.

Two cognitive scientists work with the hard science, but they teamed with a gifted storyteller to get the points across in this easy to read book that can transform how you learn. This is a truly great book that should change how we teach and how we learn.

74 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-06-2020

Horrible ending

Great book but i am subtracting 2 stars for the last example about the acupuncture clinic. Acupuncture has no scientific ground and, while the authors were not specifically endorsing it, simply presenting it in the same neutral light as the other examples is not something that scam deserves.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ashkan
  • 21-01-2020

Exceptional insight into learning strategies

For a long time I've been looking to update my machinery for studying. This book put things into perspective, helped me make changes I always thought I should make but wasn't sure if will prove effective. The book guides a self realization journey about the illusions many modern learners can't let go off.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 31-08-2020

It questions what you do...

I found the Audio book extremely useful. It made me question what I did previously, what I should be doing and what I can do in the future. Very powerful findings.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-08-2020

Delivered in a way congruent with its message.

Frequent revisiting of the key content. The book is a must for anyone involved in education.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-06-2020

Great content and pleasure to listen it

I did enjoy the content as an enthusiast of memory improvement. Also, reader provided a good experience of listening. Totally recommend it!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Carmel Simmons
  • 05-04-2020

Brilliant advice.

Fantastic book. I bought the paper copy too.It will change the way I teach. Thoroughly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-04-2021

Excellent book

Excellent book about learning, most of the advice is research based, and very helpful.
The stories found inside also help you imagine how all the strategies suggested might be applied.

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  • Jens
  • 05-04-2021

Should be a staple for all learners

Intuitive and profound in its simplicity this book is a fantastic guide to more efficient and longer lasting learning. The audiobook delivery is a bit bland and American but overall good production.

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  • Hudders1997
  • 31-03-2021

Changed my method of learning forever

Loved it. Will never go about trying to learn anything the same again after listening to this. Fully recommend

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-01-2021

Unstick Yourself

The book offers many interesting insights into the way we are taught and how we learn things. Make It Stick, offers many examples to illustrate various studying techniques and methods and offers a balanced view of the empirical data to support these claims. The book is useful for anyone wanting to learn about different approaches to learning, though the final chapter felt like a massive advert to plug a bunch of affiliate platforms.
Enjoyable and interesting, the narrator could have been more expressive.

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