No profit grows where is no pleasure ta'en; In brief, sir, study what you most affect.
The Taming of the Shrew
This is a book about how to study, and its stress throughout is on enjoyment. You may find that combination surprising; if so, you're wrong. Study is like anything else: the more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to succeed.
The book is written mainly for the voluntary student-i.e. anyone over the age of sixteen. You've chosen to study, for whatever reason: to do well, you need to derive pleasure, even fun, from your work. It would be absurd to suggest that you don't need to work hard-of course you do. But there is no need for working hard to be a dull joyless grind which you resent and fear.
There are a number of books on study skills available now. Most of the ones I've read are sound and helpful, and some of them are more than just that. But nearly all of them, I have found, are written in a dry and solemn way which can deflate the nervous student. In stressing enjoyment, therefore, I hope you can approach your course with a feeling more positive than anxiety. It is highly improbable that you possess no talent: most students are a lot brighter than they think. Bear that in mind from the beginning, and you've taken the first important step towards regarding study as pleasure rather than work.
I wrote those words for the first edition in 1984. Obviously, I still hold to them-hence their appearance now. However, not everything is the same as it was then, either in these pages or in the world of education and study which they address.
First, the book is my own work, apart from Chapter 11 on Computers And Study, written by friend and colleague Bob Eadie. The original edition was written with Chris Pope, who was then a student himself. He not only wrote two 'Student Point of View' chapters but oversaw and advised on all the others with his much more recent student experience in mind; we felt that such 'insider in-put' made the book more attractive. I have abandoned that strategy for three reasons-two of them practical, the other philosophical.