Concise Learning is bound for many bookshelves for two key reasons: first, all libraries can receive a free digital copy of the book by emailing the author through his Web site (www.conciselearning.com); and second, Krasnic promotes a study strategy that efficiently organizes and connects information. His method is supported by research in psychology.
Krasnic instructs students to make use of visual maps, thereby actively engaging with subject material. This learning technique is complemented, in the second half of this manual, by thirteen skills that Krasnic associates with success in school and college. This book is targeted at students transitioning into college. That said, the author believes his study technique has “near infinite” applications.
Krasnic is a staunch advocate of visual mapping—even the acknowledgments section of the book is written as a visual map. Among Concise Learning’s special features are a list of free and proprietary visual mapping programs, six of visual map artist Adam Sicinski’s works, and guidance on where to find visual map templates online. The book earns the “concise” in its title by presenting much of its content visually.
The handbook is designed to be exceedingly readable. It makes ample use of headings and bullet points and includes textual signposts so readers can skip sections of less interest. Drawing the browsing reader in, Krasnic dots his text with inspirational quotes from the likes of George Santayana, Albert Einstein, and Queen Elizabeth II.
These accessories notwithstanding, the message is front and center in this book—Krasnic wants his students to be successful. He teaches them how in a conversational style, addressing them directly as he would in front of a classroom. Indeed, Krasnic has nearly a decade of college teaching experience behind him. He relies on this experience to back his learning strategies, often referencing his students’ testimonies that his recommendations are effective. Krasnic hopes to have many more students like them, and the book serves partly to promote his Student Success workshops.
Brimming with marketing copy (e.g., “CLM and SOS: your way to effective and efficient learning”), the book does, for the most part, deliver on its promises. It’s a quick read with some valuable takeaways.