Angie's Reviews > Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
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Sep 21, 11

bookshelves: kindle-clubbers, recommended-non-fiction
Read in June, 2011

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 meandering but fascinating journey. I enjoyed that he was able to take himself seriously while also poking some fun at himself and his memory competitors. While he begins as an outsider looking in, by the end, he really seemed to become a part of this eclectic community.

I came to this book curious to know how I could improve my own unreliable memory. Foer does make a serious case that most people who dedicate themselves to learning memory techniques could learn how to do some pretty awesome party tricks. However, once I learned what that dedication required, I lost interest in doing any sort of serious memory training.

However, I think this book makes a strong point that being more aware of what we're taking in, and finding ways to record it on our external memory devices like computers and notebooks, can improve our own creative output. I found it an interesting commentary on what we may have lost along the way as we have gained more ways to store and record information.
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message 1: by Bruce (new) - added it

Bruce I enjoyed your thoughtful review. Like you, this book first caught my attention (had to use the phrase because I couldn't remember how 'intreagued' was spelt) as a roadmap to improve my memory. With early reviews pointing out the well referenced aspect of the book, I thought that if the book itself didn't deliver, the references would yield several other options.

As suggested, I will start taking greater care watching what my memory is absorbing, and become more active in filtering. I
too lack the dedication (& inclination) to 'go pro' but I will be reading this book on its own merits.


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