13 Best Books on Learning and Building Great Study Habits

13 Best Books on Learning and Building Great Study Habits

Books about learning are something special. Not only do they give us knowledge, the meta concept of how to learn to learn. Once you discover these concepts, they will make all future knowledge become a little bit easier to grasp.

Learning, after all, is not something we do from first grade until we graduate from college. Learning is something that is done for life.

The days when you could simply go to college and learn everything you need to know, and the quit learning, are long in the past. If those days EVER truly existed.

These days if you want to stay ahead or just stay competitive, you need to constantly learn new things. That is why these learning books for adults are just as important as the grade school or college education you may have received many years in the past.

In this article, we profile 13 books that will help you learn better and create study habits that will help you permanently retain this information.

Let's get to it…

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13 Books on Learning and Improving Your Study Habits

1. Accelerated Learning Techniques for Students: Learn More in Less Time! by Joe McCullough

This book unlocks the secrets of efficient learning techniques that allow students to master any subject or skill. The book promises to help you learn more in less time, and it does so by providing actionable tips for processing new information, communicating more effectively, remembering lessons, becoming proficient at a skill, and more. (Side bar: If you're having trouble remembering the material, then The Feynman Technique can help you solve this issue.)

McCullough shares with readers several ways of enhancing thinking skills, while also equipping them with efficient learning strategies. Specifically, this book will help you:

The book helps you understand the different types of brainwaves humans have. It also teaches you how to reach the alpha state that McCullough theorizes is the best state of consciousness for learning something new.

McCullough provides practical information to help students improve their learning techniques. Moreover, the theories presented make this book useful for educators, school administrators, or anyone who is involved in education.

2. Make It Stick! by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. MacDaniel

This book presents the most recent research on learning. The premise is that learning is a skill that all of us can acquire. The book counters our long-held notions about the learning techniques we commonly use in academia.

Two of the authors are cognitive scientists who have spent most of their careers studying how people learn and how memory works. Meanwhile, Peter C. Brown is a writer by trade. The three teamed up to give readers a book that’s filled with examples in story form to get their point across.

Through this book, readers will learn several concrete learning strategies for retaining what you’ve studied. These include:

  • Retrieval
  • Repetition
  • Interleaving
  • Elaboration
  • Generation
  • Reflection
  • Calibration
  • Use of mnemonic devices
  • Maintaining a growth mindset

This book is ideal for life-long learners, those working in the field of education, coaches, and trainers.

3. Novice to Expert: 6 Steps to Learn Anything, Increase Your Knowledge, and Master New Skills by Steve Scott

The main goal of this book is to help you master a skill that will help you tap into your passion, know yourself more, meet individuals who share the same interests as you do, and share what you’ve learned with other people.

This book outlines six steps you need in order to achieve mastery in just about anything. These steps are:

  • Identifying your preferred learning style
  • Choosing a specific skill you want to master
  • Developing the learning habit and surrounding yourself with relevant information
  • Using practical methods for note-taking
  • Creating a project center around the skill you want to master
  • Deliberately spending time each day practicing the skill

The book is an ideal resource for students who are mastering the skill of self-directed learning, clearing the path on what needs to be done to learn something new. It is also great for those who need a guide on how to increase their productivity and to develop good habits at work.

4. Learn to Read with Great Speed: How to Take Your Reading Skills to the Next Level and Beyond in only 10 Minutes a Day by Michal Stawicki

If you’re looking for a straightforward book on speed reading, you might want to check out this one. Although it is a thin volume, it gets straight to the point and delivers what you expect: helpful tips and strategies to help you become a speed reader. (Also, if you are interested in this subject, here are 9 steps that can help you read faster.)

Stawicki provides concrete examples of how to apply speed-reading strategies, as well as exercises to sharpen your newfound skill. Results are immediately apparent after doing the exercises, so you are always aware of your progress.

This book also presents the possible challenges you’ll encounter when speed reading, as well as the best techniques to overcome them. You need to commit just 10 minutes of your time each day to become a master at speed reading.

The book is ideal for those who are studying, or those whose careers require them to do a lot of reading. (And even if you're not a “reader,” here are 17 benefits of building the reading habit.)

5. The Learning Habit: A Groundbreaking Approach to Homework and Parenting that Helps Our Children Succeed in School and Life by Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, Rebecca Jackson, and Robert Pressman

This book is valuable for parents who need a guide on how to support their kids as they navigate through life in a society full of new challenges that past generations didn’t have to deal with.

The authors offer sound strategies for helping kids succeed in life, but the book requires the parents to fully commit to the suggested activities in order to get the maximum benefit.

In this book, “screen time,” the all-too-common cause of contention in many families, is discussed, in addition to a solution that can help keep the peace at home. Furthermore, the authors provide research-backed methods to help kids learn eight crucial skills that will serve them well later in life, including time management, goal setting, increasing your focus, and making better decisions.

6. Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves by Sharon Begley

We are never too old to learn something new. And in this book, you’ll find fascinating bits of information about the brain’s neuroplasticity.

The premise of the book is that our brains are capable of healing themselves after trauma, breaking cycles of some mental disorders, generating new neurons well into our old age, and compensating when we have disabilities. It shares the story of how researchers have uncovered the brain’s amazing capacity for neuroplasticity and neurogenesis (the ability to grow new neurons).

The scientific content of the book is supplemented with discussions with the Dalai Lama, providing the readers with a new viewpoint about how meditation can change the way the mind functions.

The book provides a new way of understanding how our brains work. It also offers a ray of hope that healing is possible for those who suffered from trauma, stroke, and mental disorders.

7. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

This award-winning book takes readers on a tour of the mind and introduces them to two systems that are at work when the brain is engaged in the thought process.

System 1 and system 2 function differently. System 1 is intuitive and emotional, giving us the ability to quickly make conclusions, regardless of the facts. Meanwhile, system 2 is more logical and requires deliberation on the part of the thinker. Kahneman reveals that system 1 is more active in a majority of people.

The book’s content is relevant for both individuals and policy makers engaged in decision-making. It is ideal for those who want to develop a deeper understanding of themselves and of others.

8. The Power of Neuroplasticity by Dr. Shad Helmstetter

In this book, Dr. Shad Helmstetter explains how the brain continues to grow and change over time. He also gives readers a glimpse of what happens when people do not take advantage of opportunities for self-improvement.

This book promises to change your life for the better with the help of recent research in neuroscience. The author provides actionable suggestions on how to apply the information found in the book to increase mental alertness, improve intelligence, boost health, overcome attitudes that hold you back, and achieve goals.

9. Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques by Michael Michalko

This book helps you alter the way you view your own creativity by demystifying the process of creativity and allowing you to see the limitless potentials there are before you.

By applying the creative-thinking techniques provided in this book, readers will:

  • Discover new ways of making money
  • Open up opportunities for business
  • See problems from a different viewpoint
  • Look at previously unexplored angles for problem solving
  • Improve and/or create new products and processes
  • Come up with the most innovative ideas
  • Increase productivity

This book is well-organized. Each chapter provides the blueprint for a specific creative-thinking technique, including instructions on how to do the techniques, as well as anecdotes and discussions to explain why the technique works in enhancing your creativity.

10. How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey

In this book, Benedict Carey tells readers that the brain isn’t a muscle in a literal sense, but that our brains are eccentric learning machines sensitive to environmental and internal factors such as moods and the circadian rhythm.

This book shows how we can tap into the quirks of our own gray matter and use them to our advantage.

The information provided by Carey in his book is both fascinating and insightful. It allows us to understand what goes on when we learn something.

This book is ideal for students who want an out-of-the-box guide to help them understand the learning process, as well as for educators looking for ways to support their students in succeeding in the classroom and in life.

11. Speed Reading with the Right Brain: Read Faster by Reading Ideas Instead of Just Words by David Butler

This book is not your usual guide to speed reading.

The approach is completely unique and different from other speed-reading books, which typically offer techniques for increasing the number of words you read per minute. In this book, the author offers strategies that engage your visualizing skills in order to comprehend what you read faster.

You will be introduced to the right-brain system of speed reading through exercises that help you assimilate what you’ve read more deeply and retain information longer.

12. Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life: Train Your Brain to Get More Done in Less Time by Margaret Moore and Paul Hammerness

The authors describe the result of their collaborative work as a “prescriptive book.” In it, they share strategies for organizing your life by organizing your thoughts.

The book has a two-step approach to helping you achieve a richer, more meaningful life. Hammerness and Moore call it the “one-two punch.” First, Hammerness explains the organizing principles involved in focus and attention. Then, Moore guides you on how to use techniques for applying the principles in your own life.

The information that the authors share is life-changing and captivating. Although what they share is based heavily on neuroscience and psychology, the suggested techniques are not only practical, but doable and inspirational as well.

13. The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything…Fast! by Josh Kaufman

Perhaps you’ve heard of the 10,000-hour rule in skill acquisition. This book counters the long-held belief that it takes an average of 10,000 accumulated hours in order to master an activity.

In this book, Kaufman shares a systematic approach to skill mastery in the quickest way possible. His method requires 20 hours of deliberate practice.

The method involves deconstructing complex skills, learning how to get the most out of practice, and identifying and eliminating common obstacles to learning. Kaufman himself has field tested his method, using it to acquire new skills such as playing a musical instrument, programming an app, and learning a new sport.

Final Thoughts on Learning Books

Hope you enjoyed these 13 books on learning and retaining the information that you encounter in life. If you'd like to discover even more books, then browse through this list of 250+ self-help books that are broken down into wide range of categories.

And if you'd like to discover additional resources that can help you learn new skills, then I recommend checking out these three platforms.

Finally, If you'd like to start your morning on the “right foot” then join over 1 million others and start your day with the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley.  This newsletter is a 5-minute read that's informative, witty and FREE.

Check out these Learning Books on study habits, neuroplasticity, memory and learning new skills quickly | books to help you learn | learn how to learn | learning habits