Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
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Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  30,717 ratings  ·  2,789 reviews
Foer's unlikely journey from chronically forgetful science journalist to U.S. Memory Champion frames a revelatory exploration of the vast, hidden impact of memory on every aspect of our lives.

On average, people squander 40 days annually compensating for things they've forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of memory training, he found himse...more
Audiobook, 320 pages
Published March 11th 2011 by Penguin Audio (first published 2011)
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J
Unimpressive - This is a great example of how misleading a book title can be. I'd give it one and a half stars but it is just not worth two.

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art & Science of Remembering Everything reads like a long magazine article - which is kind of where I found out about the book - The NY Times - last week. Having read the article, I was sufficiently impressed to get online and order the book. It arrived four days later and I couldn't wait to get started.

At the onset of his...more
Steve
Here’s the hook. Suppose you want to commit the items on your to-do list to memory because you don’t have a pencil and paper. The first five items on your list are:

1. Buy a bottle of Bordeaux for tonight’s dinner party
2. Put Trainspotting at the front of the Netflix queue
3. Finish the office TPS reports before the weekend
4. Pick up the copy of The Master and Margarita that’s on hold at the library
5. Check the Haile Selassie wiki entry to see if the account of the attempted coup in Cutting for St
...more
Stephanie
Cross posted atShelfinflicted


People do the oddest things in the name of winning.

I’m a competitive person (as are most of you reviewers out there). A few years ago I would have added the word “very” in front of competitive; I’ve mellowed as I’ve aged but I remember the lengths I went to in order to be the best at whatever I deemed important. But I’m fairly certain I would not go to such lengths to win a memory competition.

Joshua Foer thought it was a dandy idea…..

Joshua found himself in the worl...more
Richard Stephenson
Let me see if I have this right... pickled garlic, cottage cheese, Pete's Smoked Salmon, 6 bottles of champagne, 3 pairs of socks, hoola hoops, scuba diver in the sink, dry ice, send Sophia an email... I think I messed it up, but there's some simple proof that memory techniques *can* be useful.

Unfortunately, this book isn't about teaching memory techniques. It's about Josh's journey to winning the biggest little award in the US... which is NOT why I read this book.

Sure, the overall story was int...more
Angie
Joshua Foer begins exploring memory at the US Memory Competition, where he watches people who claim to have normal memory capacity memorize lists of phone numbers, the order of decks of cards, and poems in mere minutes. Intrigued, he eventually decides to compete in the competition himself and receives help from leaders in memory techniques along the way.

Foer weaves his experience in memory training with research and a history of the practice. With a casual, story-telling style he takes you on a...more
oriana
Well, I'm not going to lie, this book has already got two strikes: I basically hate the genre of "I did this wacky thing for a year, and then I wrote a book about it!", plus he is the brother of a famouser writer whom I more or less revile. But! OMG you guys, my memory is so laughably bad. And apparently this book might possibly have a side effect of helping me improve that, which would be worth slogging through a middling memoir.

***

Here's another book I'm sad I never found time to review. It wa...more
midnightfaerie
Moonwalking with Einstein was a phenomenal book that made me feel differently about myself. An average student growing up, I still felt I was a step behind everyone when it came to "getting stuff". So I made a point to know things ahead of time, go over itinerary for conventions, review code and new techniques for a meeting before the meeting or seminar happened, memorize rules and lists for activities in which I belonged to in a group, etc. Because of this I was often seen as being in the "top...more
Trevor
This wasn’t a bad book – I quite enjoyed some of it and the author sometimes had me laughing in the way you can’t help but laugh the first time you see the last scene of the very first Star Wars movie.

About twenty years ago I first came across Tony Buzan. I read a couple of his books and even learnt enough of his methods to be able to memorise an entire weekly shopping list and to go around the supermarket without paper. The problem was that I quickly came to the conclusion that ‘learning’ has...more
Jim
One more disk to listen to but I can safely review it now.

I listened to this as a flier thinking it to be a how to on Mnemonics. It's more of a participatory journalism book like the Omnivores Dilemma, The Wave, Born to Run and Word Freak. These books share a common formula. 1 Part History,1 Part Science, 1 Part Interview with Characters, 1 Part How to, 1 Part Essay and 1 Part Personal Quest: training and competing in the America Memory Championship which he entered on a lark.

I found it to be w...more
Ellie
I enjoyed Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer. I guess I just wanted it to be more...life-changing. And I resented its movement between a theoretical examination of memory, a history of memory and memory techniques, and the author's experience with a group of hard-core champions of memory contests.

The author happens upon the world of memory training in which people perform amazing feats of memory and claim that their memory is only average, th...more
Robert Delikat
I just realized that my last three books had to do with memory: Remembrance of Things Past, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Moonwalking with Einstein (MwE). It was certainly not intentional and the Proust was not really about memory per se, only the title suggests that. But MwE is all about memory.

If you are looking for a self-help book on improving your memory, you might wish to look elsewhere, perhaps something by Tony Buzan who is a very important character in MwE. This is not to...more
Grumpus
Mar 20, 2011 Grumpus rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Arminius
I love his style of writing...fun and chatty. Nice introductory chapters and a technique I learned while listening on the train (for half an hour) that allowed me to come home and impress my kids by having them write down a 50-digit number and then me recalling it digit-by-digit in order for them.

I never thought about it before, but the book points out that before pen and paper, anything that needed to be preserved had to be memorized. That is why so many of the techniques mentioned in the book...more
Christopher
So this was a lotta fun, a lotta more fun than I 'spected.

Joshua Foer (of the illustrious Foer family, of whom I am envious) ran into some weird people who call themselves "memory athletes". They do things like memorize 20thousand digits of pi or memorize the order of a deck of cards in a very short amount of time or memorize a long sequence of numbers or letters or words or pretty much anything for almost no reason at all. There's even something called the US Memory Championship (which the auth...more
Andrea
I started this one with somewhat lowered expectations, feeling like I was revisiting too-familiar territory. Being the clever woman I am, I had diagnosed a trend of immersive journalism about "brain sports" (I just made that term up), profiling the odd sort of people that tend to become obsessive about such things, and learning how to become obsessive oneself. And having spotted this trend, I was (of course) subsequently dismissive, skeptical that this book about memory competition would enterta...more
David
May 31, 2012 David rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chicken sexers, chess masters, SWAT officers, people with bad memories
What do chicken sexers, chess masters, and SWAT officers have in common? They all become good at what they do by memorizing a vast amount of highly specialized information that allows them to make instant judgments. Moonwalking with Einsein is about memory, and is the most interesting non-fiction book I've read in the past year. It's full of interesting facts, a history of the art of memory and how it relates to the history of reading, and a lot of surprising information I did not know about how...more
Diane
Ignore the ridiculous title. Forget the hideous book cover. This is a fun and interesting read once you get past those stumbling blocks. Joshua Foer was a journalist who wrote a story on the U.S. Memory Championship, and he became so intrigued by the chance to improve his memory that he spent a year training to become a "mental athlete."

The book covers his year spent learning about mnemonics and memory palaces and all of the memorable (ahem) characters he met along the way. My favorite sections...more
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

Stupid Goodreads ate my bullet review!!! GAR!!

Very insightful and useful - more useful than that dumb "Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes". I love learning more about how the mind works and even picking up on some helpful tips (though don't be confused: although it's placed in self-help, it's not strictly self-help).

About the only bad is how dense it could get and how not useful memorizing random digits and cards are. I just can't help but wonder...why bother???
Genia Lukin
Joshua Foer tackles in his book the issues of memory - how it is formed, how it has been lost, and how to improve it.

Aside from the anecdotal - the rather interesting glimpse into the world of the mental athletes, amusing to me personally because of my familiarity with (and let's be frank here, membership in) the geeky society at large, Foer also presents the more general - research into memory and amnesia, as well as a historical perspective on the memorisation techniques and learning of the p...more
Lee
I got to use the non-fiction tag! That shelf looks pretty bare.

I saw this book appear in my feeds once and the title certainly caught my attention. This is a story about a journalists journey from reporting on the US and World memory competition one year, to competing in it the following year.
In his first year reporting the event, Joshua Foer began to understand that all of the participants at the event weren't savants or incredibly smart, they pretty much all had a system that made remembering...more
Indah Threez Lestari
213 - 2013

Buku ini memberi kesan mendalam bagiku, yang sudah terlalu mengandalkan eksternal memori sepanjang hidup. Seberapa banyak buku yang kubaca, tidak ada satu pun yang dapat kukutip kata demi kata ataupun halaman demi halaman meskipun belum lewat sehari (untuk itulah ada review di goodreads, ya?). Demikian pendeknya masa kerja memori internalku! Karena keterbatasan itulah, aku mengoleksi buku, karena meskipun tidak dapat menghafal isinya di luar kepala, aku dapat selalu membaca ulang kapan...more
Teresa Lukey
This is a really cool read. The author, Joshua Foer, is a journalist who has previously covered the Memory Championships. He decides to delve deeper in to the mind and its memory by immersing himself, a man with an average memory, in to memorization techniques.

Josh starts with a memory palace, which is a familiar place that you place objects in order to remind you of whatever it is you trying and remember. I remember learning in Psychology class, that in order to adequately remember anything you...more
Jacopo
Joshua Foer è un giornalista che, nel 2005, ha deciso di allenarsi per acquisire completa padronanza delle tecniche mnemoniche e competere nel campionato statunitense dell'anno successivo. 'Moonwalking with Einstein' è la cronaca della sua esperienza, delle sue fatiche, dei suoi studi e dei suoi successi.

Il libro mantiene un ottimo equilibrio tra la sua natura autobiografica e approfondimenti tematici degni di un saggio; l'autore infatti riporta minuziosamente tutto ciò che ha appreso sulla stor...more
sanshow
A light, fun read, albeit a little too 'normal' to be memorable.

Tells the experiences of a journalist who, in the process of researching on a memory championship event, delved head-first into the world of mnemonics.

Several simple techniques were introduced, and it does seem as if anyone is capable of becoming mnemonic experts with enough sustained practice. The case of someone who kept forgetting things the moment they happened (like in the movie Memento), along with the recent reports of Gabrie...more
Jud Barry
You have to love a book written by someone who, fresh from winning the U.S. Memory Championship, takes mass transit home because he’s forgotten that he drove. He didn’t just forget where he parked—he forgot that he drove.

In this inspiriting book, Joshua Foer shows how he — a person of decidedly unprodigious memory — learns some well-established mnemonic techniques, practices them for a half hour a day over the course of a year, and winds up winning the national memory contest (by, among other th...more
Danny
I have a bad memory. It's true. I can usually remember where I put the car keys, because I always put them in the same place. But ask me what happened on my 7th birthday, or the summer of my sophomore year of high school? No idea. If you tell me I told a funny story at a party a few years ago, you will probably have to repeat that story back to me before I remember. It can be...disconcerting. Therefore, I was very interested in this book claiming to be about people who can remember everything. H...more
Bookkaholic Magazine
(See our full review over at Bookkaholic.) Foer delves into the world of memory championships, first as a science journalist looking for an interesting story, then as a participant. Within one year, practicing only on average half an hour each day, he became the 2006 U.S. Memory Champion. He seems to derive from his experience a sort of reassuring Everyman philosophy: memory champions are made, not born, and there is no such thing as a photographic memory
Joaquin Garza
Seguimos con los nonfictions de Ciencia Pop. En este caso toca a temas neurológicos y mnemotécnicos referentes al arte y la ciencia de recordar. Hablemos de ‘Moonwalking with Einstein’ (cuyo título en español es desgraciado: ‘Los Desafíos de la Memoria’).

En general no difiere mucho de los últimos libros de nonfiction que he estado leyendo durante el último año y medio. Mary Roach, Chris McDougall, Sue Casey y Ken Jennings tuvieron planteamientos idénticos. En todos los casos, el autor tiene una...more
Ensiform
In an instance of participatory journalism (don’t those always seem to lead to much-discussed books?), freelance writer Foer decides to enter the U.S. Memory Championships after covering the event. Under the tutelage of a British memory champ Ed Cook, Foer learns the tricks and techniques that most of the mental athletes use, such as the Major system of pegging letters to numbers, or the PAO system, in which the user associates two-digit numbers with memorable people and actions. Foer does more...more
Arminius
If you are solely looking for the secrets to memorization to be found in this book then you will be disappointed. However if you are interested in a journalist doing a story about people who compete in Mnemonic competitions you will like this story. The author does a story on people with supposedly super memories and becomes obsessed with their secrets. So he befriends a mnemonic competitor who teaches him the tricks while he is also interviewing the stars of the sport.
Once he learns the tricks...more
David Sheppard
This is one of those rare books that is not only a joy to read, but also immensely helpful. It can help all of us with something that is at once troublesome and worrisome: our memory. It does this with ease, not teaching us some grueling rote memory technique, but one that is easy, natural and intuitive. Yet Moonwalking with Einstein turns out to not be exclusively a how-to book on memory. So what is it?

Well, yes, it is about memory and how to improve it, but it is at once a history of techniqu...more
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Personal life

Foer is the younger brother of New Republic editor Franklin Foer and novelist Jonathan Safran Foer. He is the son of Esther Foer, president of a public relations firm, and Albert Foer, a think-tank president. He was born in Washington, D.C. and attended Georgetown Day School. He then went on to graduate from Yale University, where he lived in Silliman College, in 2004.

Foer is married...more
More about Joshua Foer...
Memoria inteligenta Cabinet 32: Fire

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“Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it. You can exercise daily and eat healthily and live a long life, while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next - and disappear. That's why it's so important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives.” 103 likes
“It is forgetting, not remembering, that is the essence of what makes us human. To make sense of the world, we must filter it. "To think," Borges writes, "is to forget.” 36 likes
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