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So, would any book on studying do, or any search for "skills to do well at school"? I, as a struggling student, too would like to know what R. said to him and what he in turn said to those he tutored.

There is no one book to learn from. On the topic you wish to learn about, find the best book you can or the best lecturer/mentor you can. (You're in a very good position to do this. Since you are on Hacker News you are well connected to the kind of people that can point you in the right direction!)

Inri is talking about the conscientious personality trait [1]. This is highly correlated to success in school and in the workplace.

You may consider yourself a struggling student but often a struggle is needed for success. If you're doing this already then have faith that you are on the right path as eventually it will be borne out. My point is that you can learn a conscientious personality, and you can become smarter and stronger willed. Every human is born with some willpower. Every human is born with some intellectual ability. Intellectual effort and willpower are both cumulative. They are like muscles, simple exercise of them grows them.

I have never met a man or woman who has fulfilled their potential.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscientiousness

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