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Best Learning Books: 70 BEST Books on Learning and Studying

Arthur Worsley
by Arthur Worsley
M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.
5 MINUTE READ

Looking for the best books on learning and studying of all time?

You’re in the right place!

Here’s what you’ll find on this page…

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 Books on Learning and Studying Ever Written

Why these best books on learning and studying and not others? The best learning and study books below are the top picks from my long list of learning books, ranked by a combination of Goodreads rating, number of Goodreads reviews and first publication date. The aim is to surface what’s most loved, what’s most popular and what’s proven timelessly relevant.

Think something’s missing? Email me and I’ll add it to the next round of updates. I honestly love hearing from you so please, do get in touch!

Books 1-10: The Top 10 Best Learning and Study Books of All Time

The top 10 best books on learning and studying of all time are…

Best Books on Learning and Studying: The Art of Memory
1. The Art of Memory – Frances A. Yates
Published 1966 // 464 pages // Rated 4.2 over 1,300 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books on Learning and Studying: Outliers
2. Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell (FREE Summary)
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
Best Books on Learning and Studying: The Brain That Changes Itself
3. The Brain That Changes Itself – Norman Doidge (FREE Summary)
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
Best Books on Learning and Studying: Mastery
4. Mastery – George Leonard (Summary)
The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment
Published 1991 // 176 pages // Rated 4.1 over 8,500 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books on Learning and Studying: How to Read a Book
5. How to Read a Book – Mortimer J. Adler (FREE Summary)
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
Best Books on Learning and Studying: Effortless Mastery
6. Effortless Mastery – Kenny Werner (FREE Summary)
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
Best Books on Learning and Studying: Thinking in Systems
7. Thinking in Systems – Donella H. Meadows (Summary)
A Primer
Published 2008 // 240 pages // Rated 4.2 over 10,800 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books on Learning and Studying: The Mind of a Mnemonist
8. The Mind of a Mnemonist – Jerome S. Bruner by Alexander R. Luria
A Little Book about a Vast Memory, with a New Foreword
Published 1965 // 192 pages // Rated 4.0 over 1,600 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books on Learning and Studying: On Intelligence
9. On Intelligence – Jeff Hawkins (Summary)
Published 2004 // 261 pages // Rated 4.1 over 6,400 reviews on Goodreads
Best Books on Learning and Studying: Mindset
10. Mindset – Carol S. Dweck (FREE Summary)
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: 60 Great Books on Learning and Studying to Read Next

Here are the next 60 best study books and learning books from my database…

11. Mastery – Robert Greene (FREE Summary)
An exploration of Mastery – its benefits, principles and strategies – enriched with instructive and inspirational biographies of historical and contemporary masters – by modern-day Machiavelli and author Robert Greene.
Published 2012 // 318 pages // Rated 4.2 over 31,900 reviews on Goodreads
12. The Feldman Method – Andrew H. Thomson
Published 1980 // 204 pages // Rated 4.4 over on Goodreads
13. The Complete Problem Solver – John R. Hayes
Published 1981 // 376 pages // Rated 4.5 over on Goodreads
14. The Master and His Emissary – Iain McGilchrist
The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World
Published 2009 // 608 pages // Rated 4.3 over 1,900 reviews on Goodreads
15. In Search of Memory – Eric R. Kandel
The Emergence of a New Science of Mind
Published 2006 // 430 pages // Rated 4.1 over 4,800 reviews on Goodreads
16. The Nurture Assumption – Judith Rich Harris (Summary)
Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do
Published 1998 // 462 pages // Rated 4.1 over 1,600 reviews on Goodreads
17. How the Mind Works – Steven Pinker
Published 1997 // 660 pages // Rated 4.0 over 19,000 reviews on Goodreads
18. Atomic Habits – James Clear (FREE Summary)
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
19. Attention And Effort – Daniel Kahneman
Published 1973 // 246 pages // Rated 4.1 over 600 reviews on Goodreads
20. Super Memory – Super Student – Harry Lorayne
How to Raise Your Grades in 30 Days
Published 1972 // 180 pages // Rated 4.1 over 200 reviews on Goodreads
21. The Memory Book – Harry Lorayne (FREE Summary)
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
22. How to Develop a Perfect Memory – Dominic O’Brien (FREE Summary)
The perfect manual for anyone wanting to effortlessly retain names, faces, facts, figures, speeches and languages. All the tools you need to develop a perfect memory – by 8-time World Memory Champion, Dominic O’Brien.
Published 1993 // 288 pages // Rated 4.2 over 300 reviews on Goodreads
23. The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg (FREE Summary)
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
24. The Pyramid Principle – Barbara Minto (Summary)
Logic in Writing, Thinking, & Problem Solving
Published 1987 // 254 pages // Rated 4.0 over 2,800 reviews on Goodreads
25. Pragmatic Thinking and Learning – Andy Hunt (FREE Summary)
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
26. The Art of Learning – Josh Waitzkin (Summary)
A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence
Published 2007 // 265 pages // Rated 4.0 over 17,400 reviews on Goodreads
27. A Mind for Numbers – Barbara Oakley (FREE Summary)
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
28. Science of Sports Training – Thomas Kurz
How to Plan and Control Training for Peak Performance
Published 1991 // 478 pages // Rated 4.3 over on Goodreads
29. Deep Work – Cal Newport (FREE Summary)
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 (FREE Summary)
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
31. The Talent Code – Daniel Coyle (Summary)
Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Everything Else
Published 2009 // 288 pages // Rated 4.0 over 22,300 reviews on Goodreads
32. Brain Rules – John Medina (Summary)
12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School
Published 2008 // 301 pages // Rated 4.0 over 32,200 reviews on Goodreads
33. Rhetorica ad Herennium – Marcus Tullius Cicero
Published -50 // 496 pages // Rated 4.0 over 500 reviews on Goodreads
34. How the Brain Learns – David A. Sousa
Published 1998 // 309 pages // Rated 4.1 over 400 reviews on Goodreads
35. Antifragile – Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Things That Gain from Disorder
Published 2012 // 426 pages // Rated 4.1 over 43,400 reviews on Goodreads
36. Developing Talent in Young People – Benjamin S. Bloom
Published 1985 // 572 pages // Rated 4.2 over on Goodreads
37. So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport (Summary)
Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love
Published 2012 // 288 pages // Rated 4.1 over 33,500 reviews on Goodreads
38. How to Become a Straight-A Student – Cal Newport (Summary)
Published 2006 // 217 pages // Rated 4.0 over 8,300 reviews on Goodreads
39. The Rise of Superman – Steven Kotler (Summary)
Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
Published 1990 // 256 pages // Rated 3.9 over 4,300 reviews on Goodreads
40. Learning How to Learn – L. Ron Hubbard
Published 1992 // 202 pages // Rated 4.2 over on Goodreads
41. Make It Stick – Peter C. Brown (FREE Summary)
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
42. Music, Language, and the Brain – Aniruddh D. Patel
Published 2007 // 528 pages // Rated 4.1 over 700 reviews on Goodreads
43. Design for How People Learn – Julie Dirksen
Published 2011 // 259 pages // Rated 4.2 over 1,300 reviews on Goodreads
44. The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance – K. Anders Ericsson
Published 2006 // 901 pages // Rated 4.3 over 200 reviews on Goodreads
45. Peak – K. Anders Ericsson (FREE Summary)
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
46. Synaptic Self – Joseph E. LeDoux
How Our Brains Become Who We Are
Published 2002 // 416 pages // Rated 4.0 over 5,100 reviews on Goodreads
47. Bounce – Matthew Syed (FREE Summary)
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
48. Range – David Epstein (Summary)
Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
Published 2019 // 352 pages // Rated 4.1 over 42,400 reviews on Goodreads
49. How To Pass Exams – Dominic O’Brien
Accelerate Your Learning, Memorise Key Facts, Revise Effectively
Published 1995 // 256 pages // Rated 4.1 over 300 reviews on Goodreads
50. From Novice to Expert – Patricia E. Benner
Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing Practice, Commemorative Edition
Published 1984 // 336 pages // Rated 4.1 over 200 reviews on Goodreads
51. The Smartest Kids in the World – Amanda Ripley (Summary)
And How They Got That Way
Published 2013 // 306 pages // Rated 4.1 over 12,900 reviews on Goodreads
52. 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades – Thomas Frank (FREE Summary)
A short, practical guide for students on being more productive and studying more effectively – by veteran student-success writer, Thomas Frank of College Info Geek.
Published 2015 // 83 pages // Rated 4.3 over 3,100 reviews on Goodreads
53. Writing to Learn – William Zinsser
How to Write–And Think–Clearly about Any Subject at All
Published 1988 // 272 pages // Rated 3.9 over 1,000 reviews on Goodreads
54. Teaching at Its Best – Linda B. Nilson
A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors
Published 1998 // 375 pages // Rated 4.1 over 200 reviews on Goodreads
55. Why Don’t Students Like School? – Daniel T. Willingham (Summary)
A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom
Published 2009 // 180 pages // Rated 4.0 over 4,200 reviews on Goodreads
56. The Overnight Student – Michael L. Jones
Published 1990 // 63 pages // Rated 4.1 over on Goodreads
57. How Learning Works – Susan A. Ambrose
Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching
Published 2010 // 301 pages // Rated 4.1 over 1,100 reviews on Goodreads
58. Searching for Memory – Daniel L. Schacter
The Brain, the Mind, and the Past
Published 1996 // 416 pages // Rated 4.0 over 400 reviews on Goodreads
59. Talent is Overrated – Geoff Colvin (Summary)
What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else
Published 2008 // 240 pages // Rated 3.9 over 19,400 reviews on Goodreads
60. Reasoning – Michael Scriven
Published 1976 // 272 pages // Rated 4.1 over on Goodreads
61. The Gift of Failure – Jessica Lahey
How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed
Published 2014 // 243 pages // Rated 4.1 over 4,800 reviews on Goodreads
62. The Practicing Mind – Thomas M. Sterner (Summary)
Bringing Discipline and Focus into Your Life
Published 2006 // 170 pages // Rated 3.9 over 7,500 reviews on Goodreads
63. Endure – Alex Hutchinson
Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance
Published 2018 // 321 pages // Rated 4.1 over 9,100 reviews on Goodreads
64. Learning How to Learn – Joseph D. Novak
Published 1984 // 216 pages // Rated 4.0 over on Goodreads
65. Designing Brain-Compatible Learning – Gayle H. Gregory
Published 1999 // 287 pages // Rated 4.3 over on Goodreads
66. Fluent Forever – Gabriel Wyner (Summary)
How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It
Published 2014 // 326 pages // Rated 4.1 over 9,200 reviews on Goodreads
67. Tools of Titans – Timothy Ferriss (FREE Summary)
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
68. Limitless – Jim Kwik
Core Techniques to Improve Performance, Productivity, and Focus
Published 2020 // 343 pages // Rated 4.1 over 8,000 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
70. How People Learn – John D. Bransford
Brain, Mind, Experience, and School
Published 1998 // 384 pages // Rated 3.9 over 700 reviews on Goodreads

More Book Recommendations

Enjoyed this list of the best books on learning and studying of all time? Here’s a breakdown of all the book lists and book recommendations on the site…

More Best Books of All Time (by Type)

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More Best Nonfiction Books (by Topic)

These are some lists of best nonfiction books to read...

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Best Books on Learning

Arthur Worsley
I founded TAoL to discover and share the best wisdom on how to live long and prosper. Before that I studied Psychology, Philosophy & Physiology at Oxford and consulted at McKinsey. Still curious? Learn more or take my FREE productivity quiz.

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