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Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  65,426 ratings  ·  4,985 reviews
The blockbuster phenomenon that charts an amazing journey of the mind while revolutionizing our concept of memory

An instant bestseller that is poised to become a classic, Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer's yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top "mental athletes." He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of rememberin
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Hardcover, 307 pages
Published March 3rd 2011 by Penguin Press HC, The
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Popular Answered Questions
Matthew Hayes One of the memory techniques discussed in the book is to associate the item to be remembered with a person and action. The more distinctive the person…moreOne of the memory techniques discussed in the book is to associate the item to be remembered with a person and action. The more distinctive the person and action, the easier it will be to remember. While memorizing a deck of cards, the author imagined himself moonwalking with Einstein to remember a pair of cards.(less)
Lex Toumbourou Hi Patricia,

Despite it's title, this book has absolutely nothing to do with Einstein. It's a book about human memory. I'd definitely look…more
Hi Patricia,

Despite it's title, this book has absolutely nothing to do with Einstein. It's a book about human memory. I'd definitely look elsewhere for a biography of the white-haired one.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  65,426 ratings  ·  4,985 reviews


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Steve
Aug 14, 2012 rated it liked it
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 Cutt/>
1.
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J
Mar 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
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 book - whi/>Moonwalking
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Diane
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, nonfiction
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
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Moonwalking with Einstein, Joshua Foer
Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything is a nonfiction book by Joshua Foer, first published in 2011. Foer discusses how Daniel Tammet's index finger slides around on a table as he performs mental calculations in a documentary; mental multiplication experts and mnemonists that Foer speaks with imply that Tammet's claims, involving synesthetic morphing shapes and colors standing in for complex numerical feats, are questionabl
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Richard Stephenson
Jul 15, 2011 rated it liked it
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, t
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Stephanie *Extremely Stable Genius*
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 memo
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Trevor
Nov 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: education, psychology
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
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☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Deliberate/cognitive practice! Sounds just like Hank Moody's motto: 'Constant vigilance!'

Q:
The brain best remembers things that are repeated, rhythmic, rhyming, structured, and above all easily visualized. (c)
Q:
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 - a
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Oriana
Mar 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
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 fou
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Angie
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 ta
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midnightfaerie
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Simon Eskildsen
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread
This is a book review turned rant. I often hear 'good memory is useless with technology' or 'memory techniques are tricks, but wouldn't add value to my life'. I think both of these are wrong. I've been spending this Christmas understanding more about memory because I think there's significant leverage in being productive with these techniques.

I have varies situational checklists. If I am about to buy something, I ask myself simple questions such as "Would I buy this again if it broke
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Grumpus
Mar 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
I'm an expert mnemonicist now! Ha ha.


This book is a fast read..(funny, somewhat interesting, somewhat useful)

June: 2015... 4 years later: i've come back to change my rating from 2 stars to 4 stars

This book actually is brilliant I remember it quite well. It didn't deserve 2 stars. The ending is actually very touching. My reason for giving it 2 stars four years ago is I didn't think I personally was very good at the techniques in the book.

This book came to my attention today from an
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Clif Hostetler
This book explores technics that can be utilized to remember things. It's not a "how to" book, but rather it's an account of a year in the author's life dedicated to the training in the use of mnemonics to change from being a person with "normal" memory to winner of the USA Memory Championship. The basic point seems to be that you don't need to have a good memory to remember things. What's needed is to use the human brain's natural abilities at remembering images as a means to remember the esoteric things of today su ...more
Carmen
Nov 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in memory
This was a book about a man who learns to improve his memory in order to compete in the memory competition. The book talks a lot about creating 'memory palaces' in your mind in order to remember things. One thing that really annoyed me about this book was the sheer amount of time and effort these people put into memorizing useless stuff when I struggle so much with foreign language acquisition. This book also teaches that one should 'practice better, not harder.' Also, their methods of memorizat ...more
Jim
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 foun
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David
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating book about the subculture of memory competitions. Joshua Foer, a journalist, decided to explore this subculture by attending competitions and talking with a number of the competitors. He relates some of the astounding feats of memory, like reciting 50,000 or even 80,000 digits of pi. He interviews Kim Peek, about whom the film Rain Man was written. Kim Peek really has the mental abilities portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the movie, but is much more sociable (maybe even overly so ...more
Robert Delikat
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
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Vonia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cheeky Cher
Nov 12, 2013 rated it did not like it
1.5 stars - I didn't like it.

This book had languished on my TBR shelf for over a year before I finally picked it up. Alas, it was not worth the wait. There are tiny moments of interesting information regarding how the human memory works, but for the most part, the author drones on about mundane details regarding his tedious preparation for a memory contest. It was a repetitive read, and very difficult to maintain focus and interest in the book. Sadly, I do not feel it will be very memorabl
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Peter Mcloughlin
Here is a related interview by Sean Carroll with Lynne Kelly.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYhVk...

Here is Lynne Kelly talking about memory techniques in ancient cultures sixteen-minute runtime. I think she is onto something big.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9kpJ...
David
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 memory ...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, that we could all
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James
Oct 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A deeply interesting book. Joshua Foer covered a US Memory Championship and was inspired or stumbled into the world of memorization to the extent that a year later he competed and won the US memory championship. Now accounts of journalist undertaking some droll activity, with some appealingly oddball characters, are pretty common place and usually feel like a great magazine article was stretched out to painful lengths.

What made Moonwalking with Einstein so enjoyable was the mixture between lear
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Andrea
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Tony
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Seldom do I finish a book and feel it has changed who I am, or who I could be.

There are many areas here related to education which inspired me (most interestingly and somewhat removed slightly from memory of the concept of the ‘ok plateau’), and of which I must further research, but... the memory palace was extraordinary! I sat with my two daughters and we moved in just an hour from remembering 7 +/- 2 bits of info to 24. And could easily recount them the following day, even backwards! ...more
Heather
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn't wait to get back into it every time I had to step away. I don't know that it taught me very much (& I have no intention whatsoever to improve my memory using the tactics loosely outlined in this book - not because I don't believe they are effective, but because I don't want to), but it was extremely interesting and kept me engaged the entire time. I also REALLY enjoyed the writing style and hope Joshua Foer plans to write more in the future, because I am e ...more
Genia Lukin
Nov 30, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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Azaa Kh
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very misleading title, but the content was not a disappointment.

"Experience is the sum of our memories and wisdom the sum of our experiences"

If we follow this logic, we gain wisdom through our memories. And yet, memorization has been largely criticized by many school officials and educators that it kills creativity and critical thinking. But what this book points out, which I completely agree, is the fact that memorization is never really taught in schools. Instead, they make students memori
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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. ...more
“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.” 174 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.” 63 likes
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