What the Best College Students Do [NOOK Book]

Overview

The author of the best-selling What the Best College Teachers Do is back with humane, doable, and inspiring help for students who want to get the most out of their education. The first thing they should do? Think beyond the transcript. Use these four years to cultivate habits of thought that enable learning, growth, and adaptation throughout life.
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What the Best College Students Do

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Overview

The author of the best-selling What the Best College Teachers Do is back with humane, doable, and inspiring help for students who want to get the most out of their education. The first thing they should do? Think beyond the transcript. Use these four years to cultivate habits of thought that enable learning, growth, and adaptation throughout life.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bain (What the Best College Teachers Do), the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of the District of Columbia, weaves a narrative from a series of interviews with a group that includes physicians, lawyers, politicians, Nobel laureates, and MacArthur “Genius Grant” winners to create a qualitative study of the habits of people who distinguish themselves in their postcollege careers. These interviews are supplemented with sociological and psychological research on the characteristics of a “good” student. Common threads include passion, creativity, and flexibility. Indeed, the diversity of Bain’s subjects, including comedian Stephen Colbert and engineer (and Palm Pilot inventor) Jeff Hawkins, adds veracity to Bain’s arguments about embracing curiosity and failure on the path to making an impact. In the last chapter, Bain offers more concrete advice to college students, but again, the author challenges these future leaders by framing his collected wisdom in the form of questions and considerations. Rejecting the notion that a liberal arts education leads to becoming “jack of all trades and master of none,” Bain finds that broad brushstrokes allowed the most successful among us to draw connections between the world at large and a chosen specialty. This straightforward book about learning habits should appeal to the teenager heading off to college and mindfully planning his/her approach to education. (Aug.)
Fortune online

Some very good books are worth reading for a few splendid pages alone. Ken Bain's What the Best College Students Do is one such book. His interview with the TV satirist Stephen Colbert is revealing both for its insight into Colbert and for its ideas on how higher education ought to work… What the Best College Students Do combines interviews with a review of academic research on university learning. The book builds on Bain's 2004 bestseller, What the Best College Teachers Do. To some extent, both books state what we already know—that straight A's are nice, but hardly guarantee a happy or productive life. Instead, it takes a personal sense of purpose. The 'best' students are curious risk-takers who make connections across disciplines. By following those instincts—rather than simply chasing 'success'—the best students achieved it. Bain's new book is a wonderful exploration of excellence.
— David A. Kaplan

Pamela Barnett
What the Best College Students Do delivers on the promise of its title with rich descriptions of what the best college students do, how they think, and what they believe. Bain challenges his readers to give up the standard model of short-term success, in favor of deep learning with payoffs in living purposefully and well. I wish every college student, and every parent, could approach higher education with this sage orientation. It isn't just about the 'A.'
Thomas Luxon
Ken Bain, author of the best-selling What the Best College Teachers Do, has written the perfect follow-up. He skillfully weaves together some of the best research about effective learning strategies with moving stories about remarkable life-long learners. Some of them had great teachers. But most of them succeed because of what they did for themselves. If every college teacher read the first book and every student read this new one, we'd have taken a huge step toward solving some of the great challenges for higher education.
José Antonio Bowen
We are always telling students to 'find their passion.' Now we have a book that looks at how that happens, and how we can encourage students to use their uniqueness, and be more curious and more resilient. Ken Bain can really tell a story and it is very rare for a book based upon research to be such a compelling read.
Fortune online - David A. Kaplan
Some very good books are worth reading for a few splendid pages alone. Ken Bain's What the Best College Students Do is one such book. His interview with the TV satirist Stephen Colbert is revealing both for its insight into Colbert and for its ideas on how higher education ought to work... What the Best College Students Do combines interviews with a review of academic research on university learning. The book builds on Bain's 2004 bestseller, What the Best College Teachers Do. To some extent, both books state what we already know--that straight A's are nice, but hardly guarantee a happy or productive life. Instead, it takes a personal sense of purpose. The 'best' students are curious risk-takers who make connections across disciplines. By following those instincts--rather than simply chasing 'success'--the best students achieved it. Bain's new book is a wonderful exploration of excellence.
Choice - D. Truty
Bain reports on research about highly 'creative,' productive, and socially conscious students and how they negotiated college to attain their goals. They developed a 'deep,' transformative learning orientation, tenaciously pursuing what mattered to them over high grades. He reports that these successful students turned failure/mistakes into learning opportunities; learned to make choices/decisions in murky situations by reflecting and learning from past experience; and maintained self-esteem, which sustained them through failures or setbacks on their way to achieving goals. Bain writes in noncomplex language and artfully weaves scholarly literature and rich narratives from dozens of interviewees into a provocative, interesting, and fast-moving book... This book is informative and beneficial not only for current and future college students, but also professors, researchers, and parents and caregivers who strive to foster successful learning in children.
Kirkus Reviews
Bain (History and Academic Affairs/Univ. of the District of Columbia; What the Best College Teachers Do, 2004, etc.) taps into the experiences of dynamic, innovative individuals to tease out how their college experience shaped them. The author does not present much groundbreaking material, but his interviews with Nobel Prize winners, professional athletes and entertainers and well-regarded educators and researchers demonstrate the many vital approaches a student can bring to their college experience. Bain writes with clarity and modulated enthusiasm about intrinsic motivation, adaptive experts and the necessity of invention and the importance of mindfulness. He convincingly argues for the significance of a liberal education--"engaging in dialogues that brought their own perspectives to bear yet tested them against the values and concepts of others and against the rules of reason and the standards of evidence"--but what really piques Bain's interest is the act of immersing oneself in any activity that ignites true passion. Creativity comes to those who become "lost in something other than themselves." The experiences of successful students are certainly burnished by exposure to the length and breadth of a liberal curriculum, but they are spurred by awe and fascination. The best students seek the meaning behind the text, its implications and applications, and how those implications interact with what they have already learned. To think in so rich and robust a way as Bain describes--"trying to answer questions or solve problems that they regard as important, intriguing, or just beautiful"--is an aspiration of the first order. A soundly encouraging guide for college students to think deeply and for as long as it takes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674070387
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 7/16/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 250,152
  • File size: 795 KB

Meet the Author

Ken Bain is Professor of History and former Provost at the University of the District of Columbia.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 7: Curiosity and Endless Education



On a hot September afternoon, four hundred students crushed into a small auditorium looking for seats on the long rows that curved around like giant horseshoes. Students eased their way down an aisle and to a row where they slide past other people to find a chair. As the room filled with chattering voices, each one grew louder to compete with the clamor around them.

After a few minutes, a tall, thin man wearing white running shoes, brown trousers, and a blue shirt entered and stood at a podium in the front of the room. From their seats, most of the students could look down at the top of his head. He clipped on a lavaliere microphone and cleared his throat.

“I know it’s hot in here,” he said, almost shouting over the chatter. “But we’ve got work to do.” As the students stopped talking, he continued. “This is History 112, and I suppose most of you are here because you think you’re required to take this class. Well, you are not,” he said as he moved from behind the podium and looked toward the back row.

A soft murmur rippled across the room as students turned from side to side and whispered some expression of disbelief. “But wait,” he quickly added, thrusting his hands in the air as if to stop some oncoming locomotive. “This course is by definition a part of getting a liberal education at this institution, but nobody in the world is requiring you to pursue such broad learning. You will not be whipped in the public square if you don’t. No one will imprison or fine you. You are in charge of your own education.”

As students listened, he continued. “I want you to think about whether you really want to get this kind of education. I want you to understand both its beauty and utility, then you can decide if it is for you.” The room grew still now, and a soft breeze floated around the space as the air conditioning finally kicked in.

Within a few minutes, he had unfurled a brief history of liberal education, and told them that “liberal” came from the Latin for “free” (liber), and it was the kind of schooling that free (as opposed to slave) children received in the ancient world. In the modern version, students explored a host of disciplines from the sciences to the humanities, taking a deep approach to important issues that those disciplines could help them address.

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Table of Contents

1 The Roots of Success 1

2 What Makes an Expert? 32

3 Managing Yourself 64

4 Learning How to Embrace Failure 99

5 Messy Problems 133

6 Encouragement 164

7 Curiosity and Endless Education 199

8 Making the Hard Choices 221

Epilogue 258

Notes 263

Acknowledgments 281

Index 283

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Truly wonderful.

    I've always wondered what greatly accomplished people did to have succeeded and how I could tap into that bit of knowledge. Ken Bain does a magnificent job doing more than just giving you advice on how to get good grades but to see the entire world around you as a place for learning and seeing things in a new light. I highly recommend this book to any student who is not sure on what to do or what dreams to follow. It will comfort you to know that great people come from all different backgrounds. Don't miss out in discovering your innate passion for success.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013

    I had to read "What the Best College Students Do" for

    I had to read "What the Best College Students Do" for a college honors program intro course. At first the book was great, the 'first hand' accounts made the book interesting and read a lot better than most of my college texts. However, I found the book redundant, Bain never told us what the best college students do besides being a deep learner and I'm not sure what that is. He continues to give the same examples until in the last chapter he finally gives some ways to engage in reading. The book was a quick read and a nice change from the usual college text, but as far as what the 'best college students do' I'm still not sure.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Great advice when presented by good professors

    I'm guessing the other reviewers did not take a deep approach to learning and understanding what the author had to say.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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