At a time when we are constantly being asked to retrain ourselves to adapt to new technologies and changing industries, Dr. Barbara Oakley, Ph.D., shows us how we can uncover talents we didn’t realize we had—no matter what our age or background. Oakley has an eclectic resume, from waitress to Army officer, Russian translator to radio operator, and most recently professor of engineering and author of New York Times bestseller, A Mind for Numbers. Alongside legendary neuroscientist Terrence Sejnowski, she has also taught the world’s most popular massive open online course (MOOC), “Learning How to Learn” for Coursera/UC San Diego, reaching over 2 million people in just the past two years. Now, in her new book Mindshift, she draws upon her own experiences and the latest in neuroscience research to move past simplistic ideas of “aptitude” and “ability” and turn perceived weaknesses into strengths.
Dr. Oakley discusses:
- “Bad” traits, such as a poor memory, come with hidden advantages—like increased creativity
- Even the world’s most brilliant scientists can be forced to hit career reset buttons and what they do about it
- “Career catastrophes,” such as being laid off, often lead to incredible learning and new experiences
- · Being “not too smart” can turn out to be a huge asset when learning tough topics.
People may feel like they’re at a disadvantage if they pursue a new field later in life; yet those who change careers can bring valuable insights from one discipline to another. Our biggest stumbling blocks can be our own preconceptions, but with the right mental insights, we can tap into hidden potential and create new opportunities.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
BARBARA OAKLEY, PH.D., is a professor of engineering at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan; a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, San Diego; and Coursera’s inaugural “Innovation Instructor.” Her research involves bioengineering with a focus on the complex relationship between neuroscience and social behavior. Together with Terrence Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute, she co-teaches Coursera’s “Learning How to Learn,” the world’s most popular massive open online course. Dr. Oakley has received many awards for her teaching, including the American Society of Engineering Education’s Chester F. Carlson Award for technical innovation in education and the National Science Foundation New Century Scholar Award. She is the author of seven other books, including the New York Times-bestselling A Mind For Numbers. Learn more at BarbaraOakley.com.