how to use this book
Here’s what WE did:
We used pictures, because your brain is tuned for visuals, not text. As far as your brain’s
concerned, a picture really is worth a thousand words. And when text and pictures work
together, we embedded the text in the pictures because your brain works more effectively
when the text is within the thing the text refers to, as opposed to in a caption or buried in the
We used redundancy, saying the same thing in different ways and with different media types,
and multiple senses, to increase the chance that the content gets coded into more than one area
of your brain.
We used concepts and pictures in unexpected ways because your brain is tuned for novelty,
and we used pictures and ideas with at least some emotional content, because your brain
is tuned to pay attention to the biochemistry of emotions. That which causes you to feel
something is more likely to be remembered, even if that feeling is nothing more than a little
humor, surprise, or interest.
We used a personalized, conversational style, because your brain is tuned to pay more
attention when it believes you’re in a conversation than if it thinks you’re passively listening
to a presentation. Your brain does this even when you’re reading.
We included loads of activities, because your brain is tuned to learn and remember more
when you do things than when you read about things. And we made the exercises challenging-
yet-do-able, because that’s what most people prefer.
We used multiple learning styles, because you might prefer step-by-step procedures, while
someone else wants to understand the big picture first, and someone else just wants to see
an example. But regardless of your own learning preference, everyone benefits from seeing the
same content represented in multiple ways.
We include content for both sides of your brain, because the more of your brain you
engage, the more likely you are to learn and remember, and the longer you can stay focused.
Since working one side of the brain often means giving the other side a chance to rest, you
can be more productive at learning for a longer period of time.
And we included stories and exercises that present more than one point of view,
because your brain is tuned to learn more deeply when it’s forced to make evaluations and
We included challenges, with exercises, and by asking questions that don’t always have
a straight answer, because your brain is tuned to learn and remember when it has to work at
something. Think about it—you can’t get your body in shape just by watching people at the
gym. But we did our best to make sure that when you’re working hard, it’s on the right things.
That you’re not spending one extra dendrite processing a hard-to-understand example,
or parsing difficult, jargon-laden, or overly terse text.
We used people. In stories, examples, pictures, etc., because, well, because you’re a person.
And your brain pays more attention to people than it does to things.