Sebastian Leitner

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Sebastian Leitner (1919 in Salzburg – 1989) was a German commentator and science popularizer.

As a student in Vienna, he was briefly kept in custody by the Nazis in 1938 because of his opposition to the annexation of Austria into Greater Germany.[1] Later he moved to Frankfurt to study law, but he was recruited by the Wehrmacht in 1942. After spending several years in a Soviet POW camp, he returned to Germany in 1949 and started a career as a commentator. His wife was the Austrian journalist and author Thea Leitner.

At first, he focused on legal and sociological topics, but later he took medical and psychology-related subjects as his theme. His book So lernt man lernen (How to learn to learn), a practical manual on the psychology of learning, became a bestseller. In this often-cited book he described his Leitner System which uses flashcards for accelerated and increased learning by spaced repetition.


  • Leitner, Sebastian (1972). So lernt man lernen. Der Weg zum Erfolg [How to learn to learn: The way to success] (in German). Freiburg im Breisgau: Verlag Herder. ISBN 3-451-05060-9.
  • Leitner, Sebastian (1974). So lernt man leben [How to learn to live] (in German). Munich: Droemer Knaur. ISBN 3-426-04571-0.


  1. ^ "Sebastian Leitner". S.Fischer Verlag (in German). Retrieved 25 February 2024.