Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential

Coursera Learn How to Learn的教科书.

没有提到neuroscience. 我放在neuroscience下是因为我将来可能会去研究下大脑的变化.

Title: Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential
Authors: Barbara Oakley
Edition: 1
Finished Date: 2017-05-04
Rating: 3
Language: English
Genres: Neuroscience
Level: Entry
Publishers: TarcherPerigee
Publication Date: 2011-06-19
ISBN: 978-1101982853
Format: ePub
Pages: 304
Download: ePub
喜欢写长句和不common的词, 读起来很慢

受不了, 每个章节一个故事

Ch 1: Transformed

“What I learned in one career often enabled me to be creatively successful in the next phase of my life. And often, it was seemingly useless information from a previous career that became a powerful foundation for the next.” 但是change career并不能预测到底多少skill能否transferrable. 而且不是所有的skill都能transfer,还是有很多需要重新学. 而且百分比会很高. 所以, 作者的argument so what

A “mindshift” is a deep change in life that occurs thanks to learning. That is what this book is about

learning只是第一步. Deliberate practice和deep work最重要的那方面,才是最重要的

书里的所有提到”mindshift”的地方用中文讲”知识改变命运”. 但能改变命运的前提条件有很多, 知识不一定能改变命运

obstacles on learning new skillsets and on changing careers are lowered now

This books tends to emphasize changes from artistic to mathematical or technological skillsets, rather than the other way around

作者举的转职业的例子: musician -> doctors
作者认为的transferrable skill:

1. “the simple skill of persisting at difficult tasks”

1. “persist”作为一个skill不simple
1. 不同的领域的difficult tasks是不一样的. 他能达到音乐领域的最好, 使用相同的方法,也不能达到医学领域的最好

2. people skill

我觉得若在自己现在的领域做到最好, 某些high level的skill
是transferrable, 低level的是不行的.

How many of us are like that, with whatever subjects, skills, or areas of special expertise we have never seriously tried to tackle? 我的summary: 作者认为大多数人没有最够努力到需要拼天赋的程度


key mindshift

  • the value of the beginner’s mind: Learning something new sometimes means stepping back to novice level. But it can be a thrilling adventure!

practice: broaden your passion

  1. Have you unnecessarily limited yourself by heeding common advice to follow your passion?
  2. Have you always done what you are naturally good at?
  3. Have you challenged yourself with something that was really hard?
  4. What could you do or be if you decided to instead broaden your passion and tried to accomplish something that demanded the most from you?
  5. What skills and knowledge could you bring with you from your past that could serve you as you really challenge

1. 曾经没有限制自己, 但发现还是完不成. 现在一直在限制自己. 写到这里, 一直在限制自己和不限制自己之间摇摆. 那么多self-help的书都在说要限制
2. 没有. 数学不是我的强项
3. 有. 数学
4. 学cs. 加入qq群, 有不懂的就问???? 更加努力地学, i.e., 生活中其他的领域的事情都不做了
5. 勤奋, i.e., 生活中其他的领域的事情都不做了

Ch 2: Learning isn’t just studying

Exercise: a powerful (but not all-powerful) tool

new neurons are born everyday, particularly in the brain’s hippocampus, a vital area for learning and memory

exercise =>

  • stimulate production of a protein, BDNF, which nurtures the growth of both preexisting and newly born brain cells => reverse the decline of brain function in the elderly

  • spur the production of neurotransmitters: chemical messages that transmit signals from one cell to another and one part of the brain to another

As human age, we naturally lose synapses – connecting points between neurons

key mindshift: exercise

Exercise is a powerful enhancement for any mental shift you want to make in your life. Commitment followed through with exercise has great benefits for learning and mood.

我还是不懂. 我小学升初中,并没有做exercise, 但是我觉得我neurons有了很大的发展. 运动在我的大脑发展中占有很小的比例. 我想知道到底是什么让我的大脑发展的.

making neural change would demand hard work. And lots of it 作者说了一句人话…..

文中的Claudia问On a scale of 1 to 10, 比较做事之前和之后的打分, 是一种cognitive therapy

now you try! taking active steps

  1. What mindshift are you trying to accomplish?
  2. How could you use self-monitoring in your mindshift?
  3. What thoughts are keeping you stuck?
  4. Are you trapping yourself by thinking that you are “genetically predisposed” to being unable to learn languages or math?
  5. Do you tell yourself that you are too old to make career change?
  6. Are you inadvertently in a self-reinforcing cycle where it feels more comfortable to just continue as you are – though it leaves you dissatisfied?
  7. What positive steps could you take and what self-testing could you do to move to a new self-reinforcing cycle that begins pushing your mind to where you want it to be?
  8. What new behaviors could you immediately start to accomplish your mindshift?
  9. What do you need to do to “get off the couch and stand up”?

1. start to do dissertation
2. 每天写日记自己做了些什么. 每周问Judy是不是够可以写毕业论文了
3. 我怕遇到不懂的, 没人能帮我前进.
4. no
5. yes
6. 改变和不改变都不comfortable
7. 开始search paper
8. 开始search paper
9. 打开网站, 停止读你这本书, 然后永远都不会看完这本书, 然后又在我的脑子里产生压力

Ch 3: Changing cultures: the data revolution

Whatever you think you are, you are actually bigger than that.


you can often get started— or even complete an entire career transition— by reinventing yourself through the constantly updated world of online materials.

insight from neuroscience

Becoming an expert in something new, whatever the subject, means building small chunks of knowledge using day-by-day practice and repetition. Gradually, these small chunks can then be knit together into mastery

不只是repetition, 也不只是practice. 要deliberate practice和用deep work on不同的projects解决现实的问题

practice and repetition apply to learning in math and science

  1. first work through a difficult homework or example problem
  2. practice working the problem again from scratch without checking the solution for clues
  3. the next day, try this “from scratch” practice again, perhaps several times
  4. If the problem is a tough one, may practice it repeated over a number of days

“Deliberate practice” of the tougher aspects of the material allows you to develop expertise much more quickly


  1. When we learn something and then go to sleep, new synapse begin to form
  2. However, only few connections can form in a single night of sleep. => This is why it is important to space learning out day by day.
  3. Additional days of practice allow for more and stronger neural pathways to develop

key mindshift: deliberate practice of little chunks of learning

Practice and repeat little chunks of learning over the course of several days. This will create the neural patterns that underlie your gradually growing expertise. The more difficult the little chunks are to learn, and the more deeply you learn them, the more rapidly your expertise will grow.

2 types of people made the most revolutionary breakthroughs

  1. young people
  2. older and switch disciplines or careers

Key Mindshift: Switching Disciplines or Careers Brings Value

It’s normal to feel inadequate when you might begin trying to understand a new subject or to broaden or change your career. Even though what you are doing is difficult, you are bringing fresh perspectives into your studies and work. This can not only be useful to your new colleagues— it can freshen your own personal outlook. Don’t discount this.

usual path of studying by oneself:

  1. start with enthusiasm
  2. => make good early progress
  3. => hit a steep learning curve when things are moving too fast
  4. => compare himself to others who are progressing much faster
  5. => begin to feel deflated and find excuses to procrastinate
  6. => revisit after a while, only to find he had forgotten most of it and was back at square one
I have the same experience

lynda.com coursera
* course in the real life

It is clear that the best way for me to be successful is to focus on my strengths, while carefully choosing the weaknesses I want to work on.


2: using methods in “Learn how to learn”
3: Even one person can be better than you, he cannot be better than you in all aspect of life. 精神胜利法. 例如: 她学习比你好, 但你有个好老公
4: 精神胜利法(change attitude): You are in your own journey
5: 精神胜利法(change attitude): The past is past. You cannot change that. What you can control is your attitude on the next shot.

Ch 4: Your “Useless” past can be an advantage: slipping through back doors to a new career

若只看标题, Ch3不是已经讨论过了吗?

key mindshift: the value of hobbies

Hobbies often bring valuable mental flexibility and insight. If you are lucky, these insights can spill over and enhance your job. But even if they don’t, your brain can be getting a workout


Now you try: Do you have special skills or can you develop them?

  • Do you have an unusual skill that has been overlooked, but that could be valuable?
  • Are there new technical areas you could start now to gradually learn about that you’ve previously dismissed as something you weren’t able to do?

Ch 5: Rewriting the rules: nontraditional learning

Now you try: positive paths

find your own positive path to learning

  1. What are your learning goals?
  2. How can you best reach them?

1. create packages

have package project

2. YouTube video

start recording, not consider comments or other stuff

3. speed reading

just read

Ch 6: Singapore: a future-ready nation

$\pi$-shaped: 2 areas of deep knowledge, balanced by a group of knowledge and ability in other areas

说明,现在的社会环境比以前更加恶劣了. 我更加不想去新加坡工作啥的.大多数人连一个skill都学得不顶尖

second-skilling, e.g. counseling

若在不同领域的2个技能,很难培养的. 若本质工作用1个技能, 很难有更多时间把另1个技能培养成前面那个技能一样的高度

“there often wasn’t that much difference between someone who’d been working the same job six months versus six years. Second-skilling needn’t be as difficult as many people think” 这种技能真的不值得长久培养, 容易被取代. 而且若所有的人都能在6个月学会某个技能, 虽然是技能, 但是没有什么而价值

Ch 7: Leveling the educational playing field

Five Key Mindshifts That Enhance Learning

  1. Create vivid mind-map sketches that bring the material to life.
  2. Memorize by using visual association.
  3. Use pockets of time that are often neglected, such as sitting on a bus.
  4. “do it until it is subconscious” approach: Practice over and over again until you can work a tough problem with ease. 例如: 同一个数学问题重复做 => form chunks = do more difficult problems
  5. Visualize your successful future with whatever you are learning.
我的问题不在于我不能画mindmap, 而是若有新信息进来, 怎么处理信息?

Researcher Anders Ericsson has for many decades studied the development of expertise. 8 He has found that “deliberate practice”— practice that focuses intensely on the most-difficult-to-master aspects of the material— is what moves people ahead most quickly when they are trying to learn anything new or trying to get better at a task they already know well.

working memory

  • chunking offloads thinking processes from the working memory area (centered in the prefrontal cortex) to other parts of the brain
  • The more you are able to offload tasks onto subconscious, automatic processing through chunking, the more working memory you leave available for problem solving 这就是为什么当时我用Anki背了R的写法, 写代码的时候觉得顺畅了很多, 听课的时候也觉得轻松很多

key mindshift: develop neural chunks through deliberate practice

  1. while learn a difficult new topic or skill
  2. focus on deliberate practice: the toughest parts of the matter is
  3. brake whatever you are learning into tiny chunks
  4. practice that chunk of material until you have created a solid “neural chunk”: a pattern that you can easily call to mind and accomplish
  5. once that chunk is mastered, keep the bunk of focus and practice on what you find most difficult

In order to be lucky, require 3 things

  1. the opportunity

    turn problems in the life into opportunities

  2. preparation of the right skills and knowledge

  3. action

The only way to ensure your skills don’t become obsolete is to always keep learning. both within and outside area of expertise

现在的问题是根本没有时间学outside area expertise. 而且学了不一定代表掌握. 学了没有地方用或者没有时间时间, 有时候只能说申请工作的时候不要管自己的能力到不到,就去申请 故事里的Adam是intuition type的

reframing:see problems as opportunities 若所有事情上都用reframing,就是阿Q精神, 反而是不好的。 但文中没有提适用范围

  • neuroscience: cognitive reappraisal of emotion

    find positive ways to think about a negative occurrence extinguishes negative emotions arising from the fight-or-flight center of the amygdala

  • the heart of the cognitive behavioral therapies used to treat depression, anxiety, and the psychological challenges

  • if the thing definitely goes wrong


    illness cannot be recovered: focus on the quality of life rather than the absolute quantity

    若Te认为必须要做的事情。 若碰到困难, 积极思考方式: extend comfort zone & develop ability

focused and diffuse

  • cannot be in both modes at the same time: brain puts energy into either one mode or the other
  • diffuse: resting states, i.e., more wide-ranging patterns that our mind falls into when we are not focusing tightly on the task 不理解

  • learning seems to involve 2 steps

    1. focus attention, activate “task positive: network
    2. take focus off

meditation encourage focus, not diffuse. 同意!!

  • most meditation techniques focus on focused attention
  • diffused

    • open monitoring

      • Vipassana 但我搜了网上的定义, 用的还是focused mode


working memory and mind wandering

看到这里已经搞不清楚这章节的重点是什么, 大概是学习中碰到的不好的事情都去讲它好的方面

working memory = the total information you can hold temporarily in mind

counterintuitive relationship with both intelligence and creativity

  • intelligence

    • often equal to the strength of working memory

      • people with strong working memories: have the enviable ability to hold many aspects of a problem in their head at once => easier problem solving
      • people with a limited working memories: must find a way to simplify complex topics to work with them

        the process of finding ways to simplify can be tedious and time-consuming

        the benefit:

        • more likely to see shortcuts and have conceptual breakthroughs 就一个paper, 作者还值得拿出来说。 我看了一半的abstract,这篇paper的主题不是这个。 研究对象是4年级学生, 还不知道是不是能推广到成年人,

        • easy to teach others

          大学里的professors都是聪明人, 不是这个类型的人。 难道要都换掉? 而且也有利害的老师教得好的, 还不少
        • counter-correlation between school grades and creativity paper找不到。 即使能找到也只是一个paper。

          1. 不能确定结论是否正确
          2. 不能确定是否小孩子的结论能推广到成人世界, 而且不同领域的工作需要的思维方式是不一样的
        • a positive correlation between disagreeableness and creativity disagreeable不一定成绩就不好, 很大可能成绩很好。 这不是和上面的那条成绩好创造力低自相矛盾嘛。。。。吐槽这本书好累

    • Enhancing working memory can be tough

      • exercises to build working memory may strengthen ability to do one particular task, but they often don’t seem to build the overall capacity fo working memory itself

Ch 8: Avoiding career ruts and dead ends


  • competence: become master in the filed
  • selective ignorance focus on the most important to you then ignore the rest

Now you try! Competence is key

  1. some key ideas about what you have done in the past, or what you do need to do in the future, to truly master the subject matter that holds your future

    做更加多的projects。 若是课外的project就写blog post,若是学校的, 写paper

key mindshift: selective ignorance

  • selective about what you choose to become expert in

key mindshift: learning a new discipline takes time 所有人都知道

If you are learning something new and difficult, explore boot camp–like experiences to make new connections and immerse yourself in the new ideas. No matter how smart you may be, give yourself the time you need to truly learn the discipline.


大家都知道, 但是若不足够的实力,是没有“自主”的选择的

possible methods:

  1. leave: If the situation is toxic, remove yourself from it. e.g., drop high school
  2. double life: live a double life for a while, simulating the old lifestyle and interests while developing new interests on the side
  3. constrain: the more others say you will fail, the more it can foster your internal resolve

    Keep in mind, however, that it’s important to choose reachable and doable interim goals and checkpoints to assess your progress.

减缓neurons and synapse衰退when age


  • 1400 new neurons are born every day in the hippocampus

    only modest decline as you age

* new neurons is used to distinguish between similar experiences and store them as distinct memories
  • unless the brain continues to encounter novel experiences, many of these new neurons will die off before they mature and hook into the larger neural network: use it or lose it

  • 脑电波

    • midline frontal theta:

      • focus: hold something in working memory, and keep other thoughts from intruding arises from back of brain
    • theta wave communication: communication between front and back of brain

  • 防止新生的neurons死亡和减缓neurons and synapse衰退的方法

    • action video game is good if only playing within 30 min per day over a period of a few months

      • extraordinarily broad impact

        • they provide easy ways to see how sights, sounds, actions, and activities can produce changes in key learning processes like

          • attentional allocation
          • resistance to distraction
          • working memory
          • task switching

          game: Neuroracer

        • improve focus: change in theta rhythm

    • physical exercise:produce new neurons, i.e., give birth

    • learning: fertilizer new neurons,i.e., growth

      运动员一直在产生新的neurons, 但是exercise很枯燥, 没法让生出来的neurons生长, 所以最后运动员的neurons还是死了
      • young: any experience is novel
      • older: even if you think you are learning something new, it is often just a slight riff on something you already know

        Learning that makes an impact on the brain often means going just a bit beyond comfort zone then practice until it becomes a comfortable zone. Then repeat

    • do something new and different every day (goal: develop new-born neurons) => new experience


      • left hand to brush teeth if right-handed
      • sit in a different chair at the dinner table
      • traveling
      • learn foreign language
    • nutrition
    • a variety of hobbies, especially when those activities are combined with exercise


      • knit
      • sew
      • quilt
      • plumb
      • carpentry
      • play games
      • use computer
      • read

        key mindshift: comfort zones and synaptic reserve

beyond comfort zone by learning sth challenge => help build a synaptic reserve

Now you try! Where is your field heading?

You may be in a good job now, but will it stay that way? Take out your notebook or sheet of paper and write the title “Foretelling Career Challenges.” Then draw a line down the middle of the page to make two columns. In one column, outline possibilities for change in your area of expertise. In the other column, outline how you might successfully handle those changes.

Bonus exploration: If you are planning a major career shift, it can be wise to take tentative steps to test the waters— as Terry did when he started taking biology classes and enrolled in the Woods Hole neuroscience boot camp. If you are thinking of a career change, how can you test the waters and see if your projected career path might be the right one for you?

我不知道。 kaggle competition够吗?

Ch 9: Derailed dreams lead to new dreams

imposter syndrome: the feeling that you are not truly deserving of your accomplishments, or at the very least, far less able than those around you

  • emotionally harmful way of framing your achievement

    • If you succeed, you do not think the success was really your doing
    • If you fail, you see it as your fault
  • In particular, women seem to experience these feelings often

  • occur most commonly in high achievers

  • the challenge in overcoming the syndrome: the imposter’s humility can be praised by other people

    example: She is humble

  • self-doubts are by no means always bad

不觉得故事里的Princess就因为reframe了想法就成功了, 我更加想知道她怎么成为present of the organization的?在她家没钱的时候, 她为什么没去打工,而去做义工?

Now your try! embrace your inner imposter

You may be in a good job now, but will it stay that way? Take out your notebook or sheet of paper and write the title “Foretelling Career Challenges.” Then draw a line down the middle of the page to make two columns. In one column, outline possibilities for change in your area of expertise. In the other column, outline how you might successfully handle those changes. Bonus exploration: If you are planning a major career shift, it can be wise to take tentative steps to test the waters— as Terry did when he started taking biology classes and enrolled in the Woods Hole neuroscience boot camp. If you are thinking of a career change, how can you test the waters and see if your projected career path might be the right one for you?

Ch 10: Turning a midlife crisis into a midlife opportunities

故事里的明显是feeling type和intuition type的

a little of background noise: move easily into a different mode of perception – diffuse mode => think more broadly and creatively occasionally
i.e., more easily alternate between focused and diffuse modes, especially useful when learning new concepts, approaches, or perspectives.

when trying to remember sth., avoid overload working memory with extraneous information from environment
  • sound
  • visual: close eyes


  • focused mode: primarily center in the prefrontal cortex
  • diffuse mode: a network that connects more widespread areas of the brain


fast and loud music disrupts

  • music with lyrics is more distracting than music without lyrics
  • listening to a favorite style fo music can enhance study

key mindshift: 2 different mentors

  1. keep the mentee feel confident and pumped up
  2. criticize

Ch 11: the value of MOOCs and online learning

Ch 12: MOOC-Making: a view from the trenches

the easiest way to decide whether an online learning experience is right for you: check out an online ranking site http://class-central.com

  • metaphor and analogy – wrapped, wherever possible, into visuals and motion
  • well-done visuals that relate directly to the material

    If the instructor can’t take the time to develop helpful illustrations, it tells you a lot about how invested that instructor and their institution are in the course. But just slapping a complex image from the professor’s book on the screen also doesn’t cut it. People learn differently from videos than they do from books. Complex images need to appear part by part— you’ll learn better in the same amount of time if you’re not hit visually with everything at once.

  • lots of motion and rapid cutting

  • humor
  • friendly, upbeat instructors
  • a minimum of “ums” and “ahs”
  • welcoming online environment with mentors and TAs
  • a well-design, easy-to-follow course structure
  • quizzes
  • a final project

Now you try! a MOOC list

  • coursera
  • edX
  • FutureLearn
  • Khan Academy
  • Kadenze: art and creative technology
  • Open2Study: Australia-based, many subjects
  • OpenLearning: Australia-based, many subjects
  • Canvas Network
  • Open Education by Blackboard
  • World Science U
  • Instructables

professional- and specialist-oriented platforms

  • MasterClass: top masters teaching their subject

    • Annie Leibovitz teaches photography
  • Udacity

    a master’s degree in computer science through Georgia Tech

  • Lynda.com

  • Codeacademy: free coding classes in popular computer languages
  • Shaw Academy: Ireland-based.
  • Pluralsight: Online developer, IT, and creative training
  • Udemy: self-claimed experts 不值得去学
  • Stone River Academy: Web, app, and game development
  • Skillshare: Courses by self-claimed experts in creative arts, design, entrepreneurship, lifestyle, and technology.
  • Eliademy: Finland-based, simple platform for anyone, for example, K–12 teachers, to create, share, and teach online courses.
  • Treehouse: Courses on web design, coding, business, and related subjects.
  • General Assembly: Courses on design, marketing, technology, and data.
  • Tuts +: How to tutorials

Specialize in certain languages

  • Arabic-speaking world: Rwaq, Edraak
  • Austria: iMooX
  • Brazil: Veduca
  • China (simplified Chinese): XuetangX, CNMOOC, Zhihuishu
  • Europe: EMMA (European Multiple MOOC Aggregator), Frederica.EU
  • France: The France Université Numérique, OpenClassRooms, Coorpacademy
  • Germany: openHPI, Lecturio, Moocit, Mooin, OpenCourseWorld
  • Greece: Opencourses.gr
  • India: SWAYAM; NPTEL
  • Italy: EduOpen, Oilproject
  • Japan: JMOOC
  • Russia: Stepik, Intuit, Lektorium, Universarium, Openedu.ru, Lingualeo .com
  • Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world: Miríada X, Openkardex, Platzi
  • Sri Lanka: Edulanka
  • Taiwan (traditional Chinese): eWant
  • Ukraine: Prometheus

worth noting

  • Duolingo: free language learning app for many languages.
  • Crashcourse: A series of witty educational videos that have expanded from the initial humanities and science (YouTube).
  • VSauce: Incredibly funny and quirky educational videos (YouTube).

Ch 13: Mindshift or more

作者要大家expand horizons。 我觉得不对。 前提是先要增加深度,再增加广度。 若一开始就增加广度, 那么就不会增加深度了。而且作者的想法和so good they can’t ignore you, the one thing还有很多其他书是相悖的(

2 overlapping aspects of learning of mindshift

  1. the mindshift–deep changes in life that occur through learning – is something that can be done at any age, with any goal in mind

    “any” goal 可不一定。
  2. relate to career

    • career selection
    • career enhancement
    • career switching

      我更好奇,学mooc的人有百分之多少比例的人真的实现了这3点。 否则就是幸存者偏差
总在强调mentor和老师, 但好的老师和mentor是可遇不可求的

In summary

  • Chapter 1: Some skills (not know how many percentage) can be transferred to other fields
  • Chapter 2: When learning, neurons in the brain send signals and produce a protein BDNF which nurtures the growth of both existing and newly born brain cells. The author recommended exercise.
  • Chapter 3: While in sleep after the day of studying, few synapses in the brain develop. To produce a big quantity of synapses, daily practice/learning are required.
  • Chapter 4: Hobbies often bring valuable mental flexibility and insight. If you are lucky, these insights can spill over and enhance your job. But even if they don’t, your brain can be getting a workout
  • Chapter 7: chunks and deliberate practice. Practice the most difficult part of small portion of knowledge until into unconsciousness
  • Chapter 8: 转专业。 对我来说最有用的是关于脑细胞出生和mature的关系
  • Chapter 9: imposter syndrome. 当梦想没办法实现,然后去做其他的。 我完全不觉得书中的例子convincing。
  • Chapter 10: background noise能加快focused and diffused mode转变
    书里的内容引用的只是1个paper, 而且还是小学生的。
  1. 不能确定结论是否正确
  2. 不能确定是否小孩子的结论能推广到成人世界, 而且不同领域的工作需要的思维方式是不一样的
  • Chapter 11: 用多个故事来说明MOOC的每个优点
  • Chapter 12: 内容有点多

    • 作者自己做Learn How To Learn课程的历程
    • 视频编辑很重要
    • 传统教育和大多数MOOC课程无聊的原因
    • 如何选个好MOOC课程来学习
    • MOOC课程列表