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Why These Best Books on Learning and Study Skills Matter
Learning is a skill – one you can greatly improve. And whether you’re an athlete, student, hobbyist, employee or entrepreneur; whether you want to study smarter, accelerate your learning, unlock your potential or just read more this year, the 70 books below help you get better at getting better.
NOTE: Two big ways to supercharge your study skills, no matter who you are, are to upgrade your memory and productivity. Click here (memory), here (productivity) and here (self discipline) for even more book recommendations to help set you up for success.
TIP: If you’re a school or college student looking for an awesome primer on smart studying, my top recommendation (summary here) is way down at #52 on this list. Go check it out!
P.s., In the coming years, I’ll be reading every book on this list and passing on the best ideas in articles and free book summaries. If that sounds like something you’d value click here to sign up for free updates and I’ll send my latest posts and smart study tips to your inbox.
Any questions, let me know!
But for now, without further ado – here’s the list…
The 70 Best Learning And Studying Books Ever Written
Why these best learning and studying books and not others? To stay objective, I rank all my book recommendations by what’s most loved (Goodreads rating), what’s most popular (Goodreads review count) and what’s proven timelessly relevant (first publication date).
This isn’t a whimsical list. It’s a data-driven, crowdsourced collection of the best learning and studying books ever published as decided by book lovers just like you. (Note: To maximise diversity, I only include the top ranking book from any series in a list.)
And if you think something's missing? I LOVE book recommendations so if there are any other best learning and studying books that you think deserve mentioning, email me and I’ll be sure to include them in the next round of updates.
Until then, enjoy this ultimate list of the 70 best learning and studying books of all time...
Books 1-10: The Top 10 Best Learning And Studying Books of All Time
The top 10 best learning and studying books of all time are...
2. Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell
The Story of Success
A systematic debunking of the myth that success is mostly determined by talent and hard-work - with quantitative and qualitative evidence from medicine, sport, business, history, music, science and more - by journalist and author, Malcolm Gladwell.
Published 2008 // 309 pages // Rated 4.2 over 636,600 reviews on Goodreads
3. The Brain That Changes Itself - Norman Doidge
Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science
An informative and readable journey into the history, science and consequences of recent research in neuroplasticity - the brain's incredible ability to change and reorganise itself - by psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and researcher, Norman Doidge.
Published 2007 // 427 pages // Rated 4.2 over 34,200 reviews on Goodreads
5. How to Read a Book - Mortimer J. Adler
The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading
THE classic guide to reading faster, deeper and more effectively than you ever realised was possible - by deep-thinkers, philosophers and life-long learners, M. Adler and C. van Doren.
Published 1940 // 426 pages // Rated 4.0 over 20,700 reviews on Goodreads
6. Effortless Mastery - Kenny Werner
Liberating the Master Musician Within, Book & CD
An inspirational and practical guide for advanced and expert practitioners in any field on finding mastery by getting out of your head and surrendering to your art - by jazz pianist and composer, Kenny Werner.
Published 1996 // 191 pages // Rated 4.2 over 1,900 reviews on Goodreads
10. Mindset - Carol S. Dweck
The New Psychology of Success
A research-grounded dive into the self-fulfilling nature and impact of Fixed- and Growth-Mindset beliefs in personal development - by social and developmental psychology professor, Carol Dweck.
Published 2006 // 276 pages // Rated 4.1 over 111,300 reviews on Goodreads
Books 11-70: The Best Learning And Studying Books to Read Next
Here are the next best learning and studying books from my database...
18. Atomic Habits - James Clear
An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
A powerful and practical guide to transforming your habits, making change stick and achieving remarkable results – by author and habit-guru, James Clear.
Published 2018 // 319 pages // Rated 4.4 over 251,200 reviews on Goodreads
21. The Memory Book - Harry Lorayne
The Classic Guide to Improving Your Memory at Work, at School, and at Play
A practical guide to remembering anything, faster, with simple, millennia-old mnemonics and proven memory boosting techniques - by memory masters, Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas.
Published 1974 // 224 pages // Rated 4.0 over 2,100 reviews on Goodreads
23. The Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg
Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
A page-turning dive into the power and ubiquity of unconscious habits in shaping our decisions and destinies (plus a practical guide to changing them) - by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Charles Duhigg.
Published 2012 // 375 pages // Rated 4.1 over 400,600 reviews on Goodreads
25. Pragmatic Thinking and Learning - Andy Hunt
Refactor Your Wetware
A practical and extensive collection of ideas, frameworks, tools and tips to supercharge your learning at school, at home and at work - by programmer and life-long learner, Andy Hunt of Pragmatic Programmers.
Published 2008 // 251 pages // Rated 4.1 over 4,000 reviews on Goodreads
27. A Mind for Numbers - Barbara Oakley
How to Excel at Math and Science
A practical, research-based guide to unlocking the power of your brain to learn math, or anything else you put your mind to, even if you think you're hopeless - by professor Barbara Oakley.
Published 2014 // 322 pages // Rated 4.2 over 16,600 reviews on Goodreads
29. Deep Work - Cal Newport
Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
A timely reminder of the value of deep, focussed work and the dangers of losing yourself in the shallows of entertainment and distraction - by author and associate professor, Cal Newport.
Published 2016 // 296 pages // Rated 4.2 over 101,900 reviews on Goodreads
30. Black Box Thinking - Matthew Syed
Why Some People Never Learn from Their Mistakes - But Some Do
A fascinating account of how cognitive biases and fixed mindsets cause individuals and institutions to fail to learn from their mistakes (and what to do about it) - by athlete and author, Matthew Syed.
Published 2015 // 320 pages // Rated 4.3 over 8,900 reviews on Goodreads
41. Make It Stick - Peter C. Brown
The Science of Successful Learning
Tools, strategies and stories to help students, teachers and trainers learn more effectively based on 10 years of collaboration between 11 cognitive psychologists - collected and synthesised by author Peter Brown and psychology researchers Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel.
Published 2014 // 313 pages // Rated 4.1 over 13,800 reviews on Goodreads
45. Peak - K. Anders Ericsson
Secrets from the New Science of Expertise
A practical, fact-based primer on the primacy of purposeful and deliberate practice in expert performance - by psychologist and scientist, Anders Ericsson, and science writer, Robert Pool.
Published 2016 // 304 pages // Rated 4.2 over 14,200 reviews on Goodreads
47. Bounce - Matthew Syed
Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success
A thoughtful investigation into the primacy of practice and mindset over talent when learning and mastering new skills - by top-ranked table tennis champion and journalist, Matthew Syed.
Published 2010 // 320 pages // Rated 4.1 over 7,400 reviews on Goodreads
67. Tools of Titans - Timothy Ferriss
The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers
A curated collection of interview notes on health, wealth and wisdom from over 100 conversations with top performers and curious characters – by author, podcaster and life-hacker Tim Ferriss.
Published 2016 // 707 pages // Rated 4.1 over 37,800 reviews on Goodreads
69. The Mind Map Book - Tony Buzan
How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain's Untapped Potential
THE handbook for structuring knowledge with Mind Mapping rather than mnemonic systems and memory palaces - by founder of the World Memory Championships, Tony Buzan.
Published 1993 // 320 pages // Rated 3.8 over 2,800 reviews on Goodreads
More Book Recommendations
Enjoyed this list of the best learning and studying books of all time?
You'll also like TAoL's other book recommendations...
More Best Books of All Time (by Type)
These are some lists of overall best books to read...
More Best Nonfiction Books (by Topic)
These are some lists of best nonfiction books to read...
More Best Fiction Books (by Genre)
These are some lists of best fiction books to read...
Or, you can read all my book recommendations.
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