What Moonwalking with Einstein is really about, is the author’s personal journey from mild curiosity about memorization techniques and competitions, tWhat Moonwalking with Einstein is really about, is the author’s personal journey from mild curiosity about memorization techniques and competitions, to winning the US championship a year later. In the course of his interviews with various memory champions and the occasional “savant”, he gradually becomes more sucked into the experiment of improving his own memory. Along the way, he often discusses the question of whether or not memorization is even necessary or useful in the modern day. It’s an interesting, albeit less detailed overview than one might like and I’m sure it could have been cut down to half the length without losing much. This is for anyone who will be happy with a casual look at the techniques and culture of competitive memorizers, a fleeting glance at the research of neuroscientists and a few anecdotes. I did feel there were a few chapters that I just had to force my way through. It gets a little boring in the middle, but it gave me exactly what I expected - a starting point for further research.
I think many of the readers who rated this one star are doing it an injustice. No, it’s certainly not the most in depth coverage of the subject, but it’s a perfectly good overview. If you go into this book expecting it to be a self-help guide or a detailed history, you’ll certainly be disappointed. I’d say it’s best to view this book more as a lengthy exposé. A fun one to pick up if you’d like an introduction to some of the names of people and techniques associated with classical education and modern competitive memorization.
Once was enough, but I'm glad I read it, if for no other reason than the fact I always love a good Pliny the Elder anecdote....more