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Your Memory: How It Works and How to Improve It

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  638 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
Do you want to stop forgetting appointments, birthdays, and other important dates? Work more efficiently at your job? Study less and get better grades? Remember the names and faces of people you meet? The good news is that it's all possible. Your Memory will help to expand your memory abilities beyond what you thought possible. Dr. Higbee reveals how simple techniques, lik ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 27th 2001 by Da Capo Press (first published January 1st 1977)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,793)
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Lance Agena
May 02, 2007 Lance Agena rated it really liked it
I read this book before I read "The Memory Book" by Lorayne and Lucas and found that much of the same material is covered in both, but in entirely different ways. It's really an "either or" decision between the two based on what you want to gain.

Personally, between the two books, I prefer Higbee's book because of his thorough examination of memory, its history, case studies, analogies, and anecdotes. I find it to be inspiring to see its great applications and that most people benefit greatly fro
...more
Steve Van Slyke
Mar 05, 2014 Steve Van Slyke rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who want to understand and improve memory
Recommended to Steve by: Josh Foer
Shelves: science, kindle
I read this immediately after reading Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Josh Foer. That book was the story of a personal journey from being an aspiring journalist to becoming the US Memory Champion, and it piqued my interest in the memory techniques that he learned and used. However, I was not interested in becoming a “memory athlete” like Josh. I just wanted to improve my memory for things that I'm interested in remembering long term, as well as short t ...more
Kelsey
May 26, 2011 Kelsey rated it it was amazing
I am currently a college student and I have problems memorizing things, but this book has enabled me to remember long lists of things to do, number sequences, and outlines (even of the book of exodus or something smaller like the plagues or even the ten commandments- either in order or out of order!). In the future I plan to use the memory systems for recipe ingredients, phone numbers, outlines of many books of the Bible, complex biology diagrams and cycles, and remembering which number piano ex ...more
Mirek Kukla
Review
Not Another Lame Self-Improvement Book
As a rule of thumb, “self-improvement” books are pretty shitty. They tend to have solely motivational value – that is, they help you care. I’d go so far as to say that, in general, self-help books are not a cause of personal improvement, but rather an effect: you must want to improve or change in the first place, at which point you are already nine-tenths of the way there. Either vague or obvious (and usually both), such books rarely tell you anything
...more
Jason
Apr 05, 2016 Jason rated it really liked it
Reading this book - admittedly over a long period - reminded me of a TED talk I once watched. "The First 20 Hours", spoken by Josh Kaufman, shows that proficiency at any skill can be kindled with less than a day's worth of deliberate practice. (If you haven't seen it, do.)

After watching that video, even though much of what he spoke about had fallen through the filter by the end, I was left with a hovering optimism that anything can be achieved with some hard concentration and the right motive.
...more
Kevin
Aug 13, 2008 Kevin rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Great book, totally helped me through college. Has practical exercises to perform, you must take the time to practice. If you don't take the time, this book will do you no good. I memorized tons of information for tests using the principles in the book. I would recommend this book to anyone embarking upon high school and college, and even when you are in the business world. Great real world application. The brain is a powerful tool.

Example: I took this college course from this professor. We used
...more
Drew4gr
Sep 07, 2012 Drew4gr rated it really liked it
great book! all teachers should be required to read this book or some other books similar to it on em onyx come, no the different systems, teach it to their students, and apply it to their own teaching. in a U s Department of Education book, What Works, it states, ” memorizing sympathize the process of re calling information and allows it's use to become automatic. understanding and critical thought can then build on the space of knowledge in fact. indeed, the more sophisticated mental operation ...more
Steve Carroll
Aug 15, 2012 Steve Carroll rated it really liked it
fascinating survey of memory techniques written for people who want to know the science behind it. The structure is actually a little frustrating because it starts with several chapters about how memory works and general principles and teasing the actual techniques which are the last few chapters. I think my suggestion would be to go at least read about some of the basic techniques like the "loci" system (also called memory palaces) on wikipedia before digging in here so you understand at least ...more
Joey
Jul 07, 2016 Joey rated it liked it
Shelves: reference
As stated in the introduction, this book was not intended for the casual reader to read through like a novel, but is also less technical than a textbook on memory. I found this to be true. It was interesting, but I could only read half a chapter to a full chapter at most before needing to set it down because of the dense nature of the material. The first edition was published in 1977 and this second edition was first published in 1988 with "updated" references to research. While some of the refe ...more
Sreejith Pp
Mar 25, 2014 Sreejith Pp rated it really liked it
A book worth reading for any college or high school student. Although the book starts out slow, the later chapters are what really matters. My only problem was that the author spent an inordinate amount of time explaining how other people found this useful and on personal anecdotes although some people may enjoy reading this. Also, the first few chapters were pretty much a waste of time, with a lot of obvious points made.

Don't read this book thinking about ways to improve your memory. This book
...more
Brian Welsch
Jan 25, 2016 Brian Welsch rated it really liked it
This book offers both methods for improving your memory as well as a lot of cited tests to back up the claims made within. If you aren't so much interested in the science, you can skim through a lot of this book without missing on the "how to". There is a lot of repitition of ideas for the various methods, but that really is somewhat to be expected. I gave this book a 4, because of the layout and how thoroughly mnemonics were discussed. There were often times; however, I found myself thinking, " ...more
Jelle de Jong
Feb 26, 2014 Jelle de Jong rated it really liked it
I loved it. It seems to be very well researched. At least every mnemonic technic is well explained. What I especially like is that the first part of the book explains what we know about how memory works. That makes the mnemonic part of the book more fun to read, less magical and more understandable. But don't get me wrong, 'more fun to read', still isn't 'funny and engaging read'. The way it's written is the only slight downside of this book. The focus of the writer clearly was on the 'matter' a ...more
David
Aug 07, 2011 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was probably one of the best organized books I've ever read. The book is divided into sections - the first being an introduction of course, the remainder being about each specific memory technique with the final two chapters being devoted toward special cases of memory improvement such as absentmindedness and remembering people's names/faces. The organization of the chapters related to the memory techniques was the most impressive. It'd start with an introduction, then teaching the tec ...more
Jim
Mar 17, 2011 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I've read a few books on memory and mnemonics and this has to be one of the better books.

Dr. Higbee presents a lot of research on memory in a very clear manner, before he delves into mnemonics and techniques for improving memory. When he gets to mnemonics, he presents five different techniques for improving memory. Each is presented with research and explanation, before he gets into the techniques.

There is no hype in this book. I found the research and background interesting and it gave a good
...more
Taka
Comprehensive--

This book pretty much covers everything about mnemonics you need to know and some more. It doesn't promise you any incredible things (e.g.,You can remember ANYTHING in a matter of seconds! With no effort!) that other books do, but it doesn't dismiss mnemonics as a sham, either.

The mnemonics included in this book are the simple story and link system, the very useful loci system, the peg system, and the powerful phonetic system. I learned all of them and am intending to practice the
...more
John Martindale
Well, I read most of this book and then, well... forgot about it (oh the irony) and yeah, I also forgot many of the mnemonics tools Higbee taught me. They were helpful when I employ them; I was able to remember the names of twenty or so folks I met in one evening, which for me was quite a feat. I tried its study techniques and I memorized some card numbers. But the deal is, one must remember and be willing to use these tools regularly or they'll be washed from ones mind by the stream of time. Fo ...more
John
Jul 02, 2012 John added it
This book covers techniques about as well as books by other authors such as Katz's Where Did Noah Park the Ark. A big difference is that Higbee substantiates his assertions with cited studies. He explains why. It has the feel of something written by an academic, and he is in fact a university professor of psychology. So, the book has content which will help you understand more about memory in general as well as techniques.

pg 9
"You have probably heard the saying that you can't teach an old dog ne
...more
Frederick Mcclain
Mar 28, 2015 Frederick Mcclain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book

This book provides the why and how to improve your memory. It was easy to read and not filled with the over the top promises you find in some self-help books.
Rachel
Jan 16, 2015 Rachel rated it liked it
Great information in this book, but I found it really hard going. Very factual and practical ways to improve the memory, just didn't really engage me...
Jason J
Jan 24, 2016 Jason J rated it really liked it
Really great book. They should teaches classes on memory and learning in high school. I should have read this book seven years ago.
Sean
Feb 24, 2015 Sean rated it it was amazing
Awesome book. My brother introduced the concepts in this book to me when we were in college.
Incy
Sep 22, 2016 Incy rated it really liked it
very good, just needs an update
Joshua Berg
Jan 23, 2015 Joshua Berg rated it really liked it
Clear and useful information.
Shawn Camp
Jan 27, 2014 Shawn Camp rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, read-2011
Overall this is a great book to help you grasp how your memory functions and ways to help remember things. It's biggest asset is on the study of memory and it's how's and why's. When it comes to the mnemonic practices it does go in depth on the methods, but can overwhelm you fast to the point where it seems a lot to try right away. I can see how a couple of further reads and practice would make this a must need book for anyone to improve their memory.
Bologna_frog
Mar 12, 2011 Bologna_frog rated it did not like it
I am reading this at the same time as The Memory Book, by Lorayne and Lucas. This is too much overlap between them for me to find this book useful. TMB gives the actual techniques, whereas this book explains a lot more about the techniques. I don't see its benefit-just use the techniques. I've been alive long enough to recognize that mnemonics and other memorization techniques DO work. I don't need a book to convince me of that. TMB teaches me HOW.
Azaïs Hunter
Apr 17, 2013 Azaïs Hunter rated it really liked it
Well written.
At first I was skeptic about the value of many of the listed mnemonic techniques but the author provides a plethora of studies to back up each mnemonic device. In addition he also discusses the uses of each device and provides background. The author draws upon his own experience and anecdotes and his students.

This book will thoroughly explain mnemonics and some of memory but the application of the devices is up to the reader.
Derek
Apr 15, 2015 Derek rated it it was amazing
This book was fantastic. Filled with loads of good tips for how to improve your memory. Focused on actively storing memories by linking new memories with old ones and on developing techniques that allow you to recall memories when you need to recall them.
Jon
Jan 04, 2015 Jon rated it it was ok
Shelves: braaains
There are better memory books than this. Instead of providing information on memory techniques, this one wastes pages reviewing the different systems as to their effectiveness. It's 220 pages long, and starts providing useful information around page 130. If you've never read a memory book, the last 90 pages of this one will work, but there are other more concise choices available. Check out a Harry Lorayne book instead.
Arif Vakil
Sep 27, 2010 Arif Vakil is currently reading it
Ever since I've been getting deeper into practicing GTD, I have seen myself become more forgetful. This is a trend that's experienced by many serious GTD practioners. Inspite of which the returns of "relaxed Productivity" that GTD provides are worth the cost. I'm now looking into how I can improve my dwindling memory. I read the first chapter yesterday, this book seems to be spot-on. Looking forward to complete it.
Celia Pastoriza
A great overview of how your memory works. It's more geared towards helping students how to learn better: it's not going to solve my memory frustrations (like remembering to bring snowpants home from school today), but I'm still really enjoying it. I skimmed the sections on memory tricks as I don't think I'll need them, but I don't think I'll ever forget my license plate number again.
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“You have probably heard the saying that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Actually, there is another saying that is probably more accurate, but is not quite as well known: 'The quickest way to become an old dog is to quit learning new tricks.” 1 likes
“Another book gives the illusion of scientific precision by working out this reasoning in a mathematical formula using a “Mental Performance Ratio (MPR),” 0 likes
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