Moonwalking With Einstein

{4.5/5} “Our ability to find humor in the world, to make connections between previously unconnected notions, to create new ideas, to share in a common culture: All these essentially human acts depend on memory.”

Moonwalking With Einstein by Josh Foer, published in 2011

The subtitle of this book is: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. I’ve been going around for years saying I have a bad memory. This book presented the idea that people can improve their memory with certain techniques, so I decided to check it out.

I used the memory palace technique to remember a list of items from the book. I remembered them later that day. A few days later I still remembered them. A week later I still remembered them perfectly — it’s obviously a technique that works. All you have to do is form a vivid image in your mind (the title of the book comes from one of the author’s vivid images) and associate that image with a certain position in a location that you’re familiar with. For example, the first item was pickled garlic and I pictured it at the mailbox at the end of my parents’ lane. The second item was cottage cheese and I pictured it at the door to the house. And so on.

The author, Josh Foer, is a journalist who initially is interested in writing about memory competitions — but then he decides to compete himself. The book is the story of his year-long practice of memory techniques — and it’s also about people with unusual memories, how people have thought of memory through history, and the place of memorization in education.

Foer’s writing style makes it easy to read. Parts of the book felt like a Malcolm Gladwell book (The Tipping Point, Outliers) in the way that some of the things he explains make you think: Why didn’t I know that before?

This entry was posted on Saturday, March 17th, 2012 at 10:19 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply