A Mind for Numbers

by Barbara Oakley · read June 19, 2020


Read this book as an accompaniment to the Coursera online course, which I'm really enjoying! The book itself provides an excellent explanation of the core ideas of the course, plus some additional material and discussion questions. There were a few chapters near the end that didn't seem totally necessary, but overall I think this is an excellent resource, especially for students in STEM courses.

My key takeaways from the book were: the importance of switching between focused thinking and diffuse thinking (shifting your attention so that your brain works in the background), the emphasis on repeating ideas over time and being patient in learning incrementally to build strong ideas, and the concept of "chunking", which solidifies a concept or strategy in your mind so that you can easily use it when you need it. Looking forward to applying some of these ideas as I continue to learn!

Julia Cooke © 2022