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Recommended Resources of the Month


  • Study Skills
  • Academic Writing
  • Oral Presentations

English Resources

How to Succeed in College and Beyond: The Art of Learning

Written by a professor of English at Cornell University with decades of teaching experience and based on the input of many students and colleagues, this book serves as an authoritative and well-research resource on how to succeed as an undergraduate student. The book consists of five parts. Of special interest to students studying in Hong Kong are parts II and III, titled “The College Experience” and “Further Essentials”. Part II offers designated chapters with suggestions for each of the four years of an undergraduate degree, plus an extra chapter with suggestions for graduating students.

A selection of interesting titbits of advice are: “no time period is too short to accomplish something”; “[f]ind a few comfortable and quiet study places on campus, places where you work effectively and are not easily distracted”; “[even if you] feel [...] desperate to make friends quickly[,] it is important to retain your core values and judgment and to avoid becoming part of a herd”; “[d]evelop leadership skills [...]; belong to groups in which your initiative matters”; and “you usually can’t fix the past[,] [b]ut you can start from where you are”. Such pithy lines are generally boldfaced in the book, making it suitable for casual browsing.

Keys to Effective Learning: Habits for College and Career Success

Aimed at fostering university students’ self-learning skills and habits, this book expounds on habits of success – persisting, anticipating, communicating, imagining, inquiring, contributing, listening, and perceiving. Featuring inspiring case studies and self-reflection exercises, this book will help you progress towards academic success via accountability, teamwork, and critical thinking.

Highlights include “Critical and Creative Thinking” (ch. 5), “Reading Across the Disciplines” (ch. 7), and “Memory” (ch. 9).

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

This book by renowned psychologist Steven Pinker is a linguistically informed reaction to style guides such as The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, which has been unjustly venerated for many decades.

Topics covered include the purpose of punctuation, how to write unambiguous sentences, and how to write coherently, to enumerate just a few. The author also debunks a number of common myths, such as the prescription against split infinitives.

The pieces of advice that are brilliant are too numerous to enumerate. Here is a selection: use signpost language sparingly; revisit your writing “after some time has passed”; the optimal number of connectives depends on the expertise of the reader; look things up.

Essentials of Essay Writing: What Markers Look For

This book provides comprehensive guidance on how to write an academic essay. Beginning with an overview of academic essays, chapters 2 to 4 teach how to effectively review literature, which helps with the development of arguments. Chapters 5 to 7 delineate the main linguistic features of academic writing. Chapters 8 and 11 explain how to write introductions and conclusions, while chapters 9 and 10 focus on body paragraphs. In the final chapter, the reader learns how to distinguish a strong essay from a weak one.

Highlights include “Critical Thinking” (ch. 2), “How Others’ Work Can Help You Develop Your Arguments” (ch. 4), and “Different Body Paragraph Structures” (ch. 10).

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery

This book situates itself in today’s world of PowerPoint, which has become an essential presentation tool. Like the title suggests, it focuses on simplicity. Unsurprisingly this book is full of nice visuals and written in an inspirational style.

While the reader can simply use this book as a repository of ideas, there are many pieces of practical advice: Handouts are useful, but don’t hand out copies of your slides (p. 68). There are three parts you can prepare: the slides for the audience, a set of notes only for yourself, and a handout to be kept by the audience members (p. 69). Create a story using core principles such as simplicity, surprise, and specificity (pp. 79-80).

The critical reader will be pleased to read the discussions of 3D effects (p. 140), logos (p. 141), and bullet points (pp. 142-143). Also interesting are the topics of quotes (p. 153), text within images (pp. 154-157), balance (pp. 166-168), contrast (pp. 173-174), and repetition (pp. 175-176). The book finishes up with material about connecting with the audience (pp. 215-279) and is thus bound to be useful at every stage of preparation for a presentation.

How to Deliver a TED Talk: Secrets of the World’s Most Inspiring Presentations

This book explains oral presentations in terms of their content, delivery, and design. A presenter of a TED talk is required to speak for 18 minutes or less on a topic. This guide contains many useful tips for engaging, impressing, and captivating an audience. By providing a range of verbal and non-verbal communication skills, this book teaches plenty of techniques for delivering presentations that are both inspiring and entertaining.

Highlights include “Enhancing Your Language” (ch. 9), “Mastering Your Verbal Delivery” (ch. 11), “Managing Your Nonverbal Delivery” (ch. 12), and “Creating Inspiring Slides” (ch. 14).

Chinese Resources


作者將全書分為六章,介紹由其整理的讀書術,從而應對以考試為主的學習。讀者可因應自己的學習需要,參考對應的學習建議。如第二章(頁 52 - 79)作者說明如何有效地管理時間,以騰出更多時間讀書温習,並談及提高集中力的不同建議。次如第六章(頁 212 - 235)作者則主要談及專心學習的方法,如從環境、個人準備及小組學習等方向入手,並提及如何了解自己的學習難點。作者每每舉出事例作說明,讀者不妨代入其中,尋找適合自己的學習方式。

從字句到結構 : 學術論文寫作指引

本書共分八章,作者從學習的定義出發,逐步講述影響自學效能的各種因素。其中第二章(頁39 - 54)主要說明如何激發學習動機,指出求知欲既源於自覺的需求,亦有外在環境的影響,應通過具體行動使其實現。第四章(頁81 - 102)則圍繞解決問題作探論,指出界定與處理問題的有效方法,為自我學習提供萬用的解難良方。全書另附圖表及小提醒欄目,讀者如多作參考,當能提高自學技巧。



從字句到結構 : 學術論文寫作指引

本書共分六章,對題目構思、結構安排及遣詞用字等問題,皆有仔細說明。其中第四章(頁58 - 119)主要講述學術論文的寫作技巧及方法,對「摘要」、「緒論」、「文獻探討」、「引用」及「結論」等部分,說明尤為詳盡。而第五章和第六章(頁122 - 162及頁164 - 201),提出用詞、造句、分段及分章的須知與常見問題,解說亦見深入。書中另附有大量實例與習題,讀者如多作參考,當能提高寫作論文的能力。

Happy happy溝通力

全書分成十三章,作者雖以研究談判技巧為主,但所提及的多項要點,也可應用於其他口語溝通場合。比如第三至第七章(頁51 - 184),作者介紹其提倡的「Happy happy溝通力」時,建議說話者要時常保持正面心態,細心思考,謹慎用詞及準備應變等,都是相當實用的建議。第十二至十三章則談及如何解決溝通困境,例如運用「第一人稱陳述」化解衝突,以及使用「Happy happy溝通力」技巧的各種常見疑難等等。書中另談及各種實例,有助讀者理解實際的應用方法。


本書分為四部分,作者以「少即多」為主要原則,講解口頭溝通須注意的事項。其中第二部分(頁60 - 142)主要介紹讓說話保持簡潔的四個原則,如以腦圖等視覺化工具草擬大綱,以及利用新聞報道的敘事方式鍛煉剪裁內容的技巧,讀來頗富啟發。而第四部分(頁254 - 269)則提出二十條有助精進溝通能力的建議,從如何集中聽眾的注意力到控制自己的說話節奏,都有詳細說明,是相當實用的提示。







  • “Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.”

    Mark Twain

  • “I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.”

    Winston Churchill

  • “The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.”

    Mortimer Adler

  • “Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.”

    Vernon Howard

  • “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

    Benjamin Franklin

  • “Be observing constantly. Stay open minded. Be eager to learn and improve.”

    John Wooden

  • “Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”

    Abigail Adams

  • “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

    Henry Ford