Here you’ll find a selection of articles I’ve written about learning—part of the project of writing my forthcoming book, Brilliant: The New Science of Smart. If you have questions about these articles, or a topic you’d like me to write about, please email me at


Why Morning Routines Are Creativity Killers
Everything about the way we start our day runs counter to the best conditions for thinking creatively

The Science of Intuition
An eye-opening guide to your sixth sense
O, The Oprah Magazine

What the Jazz Greats Knew About Creativity
Learning how to break down inhibitions and prime your senses leads to more creative thinking


Your Brain on Fiction
New support for the value of fiction is arriving from an unexpected quarter: neuroscience
The New York Times

Why Third Grade Is So Important: The “Matthew Effect”
Children who have made the leap to fluent reading will learn exponentially, while those who haven’t will slump

The Upside of Dyslexia
The latest findings on dyslexia are leading to a new way of looking at the condition: not just as an impediment, but as an advantage
The New York Times

Is English Making Us Dyslexic?
Why it might be time to revamp our native tongue


Why It’s Important to Talk Math With Kids
“Number talk” at home is a key predictor of young children’s achievement in math once they get to school

Why Guessing Is Undervalued
Being able to estimate may be more important than doing quadratic equations

How to Deal With Kids’ Math Anxiety
Helping students to focus on their work without the powerful distraction of fear


Workplace Woes: The “Open” Office Is a Hotbed of Stress 
Lack of privacy is the least of it. Research shows that open-plan offices sap motivation and create “cognitive load”

Does Listening to Music While Working Make You Less Productive? 
Music can lift your mood and give you a relaxed focus, but it decreases your performance on cognitively demanding tasks

We Should Follow Those Who Finish Second, Not First 
Success in business can actually be a poor indicator of skill

Can You Learn Everything “On The Job”?
Learning outside of the classroom is most effective when you have a “cognitive apprenticeship” with a skilled superior


The Power of Smart Listening
Skilled listeners use specific strategies to get the most out of what they hear

How To Speak Like A Native
The surprising truth about learning a foreign language: accent isn’t the most important thing

Speaking Thark: What Invented Languages Can Teach Us
Klingon and Elvish and other fantasy languages shed light on linguistic theories


The New Way Doctors Learn
A simple technique dramatically improved the memory recall of Harvard Medical School students. Try it for yourself

What Actors Can Teach Us About Memory and Learning
The most effective memorization techniques draw on physical and emotional engagement as much as they do pure brain power

Remember More Without Trying
Want to absorb information without even knowing it? Researchers have unlocked the secrets of implicit learning

Why “I Hate Religion, But I Love Jesus” Is So Popular
We are drawn to stories — and are more likely to remember them — when they rhyme. Next up: The Scarlet Letter as a rap


What Your Eyes Say About Who You Are
Using eye-tracking technology, scientists are discovering clues to how we think and learn

How Your Dreams Can Make You Smarter
New research shows dreaming about a task gives you an edge in real life

The Secret Code Of Learning
Our body language can reveal more about what we know than our verbal language

Couch Potatoes, Rejoice! Learning Can Be Passive
New research overturns the theory that you can only learn by doing


America Needs More Geeks: How to Make Science Cool
Why the image of the scientist needs a makeover

The Bigger Ball Drops Faster—and Other Myths of Physics
Our minds are filled with folk science—and it gets in the way of real learning

Born to Be Bright: Is There a Gene for Learning?
New research has identified genetic markers associated with academic achievement—and failure


Quality Homework—A Smart Idea
How effectively do children’s after-school assignments advance learning?
The New York Times

The Protégé Effect
Why teaching someone else is the best way to learn

What Distinguishes a Superschool From the Rest
A new study shows a vast difference between schools in prosperous neighborhoods. What creates the handful of high-flying superstars?

How to Get—And Keep—Someone’s Attention
Want to captivate an audience? Here’s how

Why Asking Questions Might Not Be the Best Way to Teach
A recent study throws the efficacy of the Socratic method into doubt

Special or Not? Teach Kids To Figure It Out 
Children—and adults—are terrible at evaluating their own abilities, a crucial requirement for getting better at anything


Your Head Is In The Cloud
Outsourcing our memory—and expecting that information will be continually and instantaneously available—is changing our cognitive habits
Time Magazine

Who’s Afraid of Digital Natives?
Let’s not get intimidated by kids and their Internet savvy

Salman Khan: The New Andrew Carnegie?
The emergence of free, high-quality online courses could change learning forever

“Digital Literacy” Will Never Replace The Traditional Kind
We’re overestimating how much computers will teach our kids


Beyond Strategy and Winning, How Games Teach Kids Empathy
The biggest benefits of playing games are social


The Myth of “Practice Makes Perfect”
It’s not how much you practice but whether you’re quick to fix your errors that leads to mastery

How Much Practice is Too Much?
We don’t just need to learn a task in order to perform it well; we need to overlearn it

The Secret to Grace Under Pressure
The best way to psych yourself up for a test or presentation is to make it seem insignificant. Here’s how

Tiger Moms: Is Tough Parenting Really the Answer?
Amy Chua’s memoir has hit a national nerve: Are we adequately preparing our children to survive in the global economy?


10 Ways You Get Smarter as You Get Older
Researchers are identifying ways in which older minds hold their own against younger ones and even surpass them
O, The Oprah Magazine

Want to Prevent Aging? Learn a New Language
Creating deep cognitive reserves protects you from brain degeneration


Do Students Know Enough Smart Learning Strategies?
It’s not just what you know. It’s what you know about what you know

In Praise of Tinkering
How the decline in technical know-how is making us think less

Can Stereotyping Girls Harm Boys Too?
A new study shows that genetic explanations for performance aren’t good for anybody

Can Education Entrepreneurs Do Well And Do Good?
Business and education don’t always mix, but a new generation of edupreneurs is responding to genuine needs in the classroom in ways big companies haven’t

What’s Your Best Guess? Predicting Answers Leads to Deeper Learning
Making predictions about what they’ll learn makes students curious to find out more

The Real Learning Curve
The way we lock in knowledge and skills is often counterintuitive. A debut column on the lowdown of learning

Discovering How to Learn Smarter
You, and your child, can learn to be smarter

How to Be Brilliant
Review of The Genius in All of Us, by David Shenk
The New York Times Book Review

The Resilient Brain
Review of The Mind’s Eye, by Oliver Sacks
The New York Times Book Review

The Incredibles
Review of Radical Evolution, by Joel Garreau, and More Than Human, by Ramez Naam
The New York Times Book Review

Patch Job
Review of Kluge, by Gary Marcus
The New York Times Book Review


What Your Dog Is Thinking
Dogs can count, use touchscreen computers and understand hundreds of words. Soon we might find out what they really think of us

Life After High School
Are these four fraught years the crucible in which our adult identities are forged, or are they a passing phase, faded as an orchid corsage?
Time Magazine

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