Barry Farber: How to Learn Any Language
This was the first book I read on the nuts and bolts of learning languages. Apart from being a good story he recommends practical ways of learning words that rely on imagery, for example the Spanish word for curtain is “cortina”. I used to have a Ford Cortina car and all I need to do is imagine that car with little curtains at each window, by making the image connect with the word I have no trouble recalling it. In fact every time I see an old Cortina on the road now I think “curtains”. This technique works surprisingly well and I find that with some words, even though I’ve forgotten the associated image, I somehow still remember them.
Barry also mentioned where he got this technique from, a book by Harry Lorayne a famous memory man.
Harry Lorayne: How to Develop a Super power memory
This book is full of techniques for memorising stuff, everything from telephone numbers to foreign vocabulary, names and dates. I found it very useful.
Richard Koch: The 80/20 Rule
Reading this book caused me to think differently about many things but I am mentioning it here because it led indirectly to my decision to study a third language and because it prompted me to analyse the process of language acquisition to look for the 20% of what I could do that would give me 80% of the desired results.
Maxwell Maltz: Psychocybernetics
The original book came out in the 1960′s so the style might seem a little old fashioned but his advice works, I particularly like his advice to set a goal and do a little bit towards it each and every day. The other technique is his “Theatre of the Mind”, a visualisation technique that lets you practice performance until it becomes second nature.