The Atlantic

How to Learn New Things as an Adult

A new book explores the psychology of mastering skills and absorbing information.
Source: Jorge Silva / Reuters

Quick, what’s the capital of Australia? No Googling! (And no points if you’re Australian—that means the information is more meaningful to you, which means you’re more likely to know it.) Did you get it? Or are you sure you learned it at some point, but forgot right around the time that you forgot how the Krebs cycle works? In his new book, Learn Better, author and education researcher Ulrich Boser digs into the neuroscience of learning and shows why it’s so hard to remember facts like that one. Boser explains why some of the most common ways we try to memorize information are actually totally ineffective, and he reveals what to do instead.

Because we’re all getting , I interviewed Boser recently about what people can do to boost their memories and skill sets, even if they’re long past flash-card age. An edited

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