This is the story of a journalist, Joshua Foer, who spends a year making himself into a memorizing master. He learns how to memorize long strings of random numbers, names for unknown faces in yearbooks, and the order of a whole deck of cards… in under 2 minutes. And he uses methods of memorization that have been around since the Greeks, not some crazy system. This is something anyone can learn, as he proves.
My first thoughts after reading this book: If these methods have been around forever, why wasn’t I taught them in school? Why couldn’t this book have appeared before 2 years of trying to memorize the cranial nerves in PA school? Or better yet, when I was in high school and the first question on every history test for 3 years was a list of important dates in American history… the same list…which I consistently got wrong for three years??? Aargh.
Anyways, this book is a good introduction to some basic, accessible tricks for memorizing things (not like the clunky mnemonics that were harder for me to remember then whatever they should have helped me remember). This is not a guide to memorization, but a window into the methods, a catalyst to learn more about the art of memorization. I do wish he had gone a bit deeper into the methods he used in his year of training, but hopefully I will be able to find other books on the subject, because it is really fascinating!