By Joshua Foer
Overall Rating: 9/10
This was not the first time I picked up this book. I’ve always been interested in memory enhancement, because I know that I have a poor memory that could be improved. It wasn’t until the third chapter that it clicked that I had read this book before, but this time I finished the entire book. And it was so good!
This is not a how-to book. This is a story of Josh the journalist trying to understand how the memory work and how memory champions are formed. He interviews scientists and people in the field, along with people with the best memories, and people with no memories. Through all his research, he also becomes a test subject himself and studies to compete in the US Memory Championships. I love how this book is a story of his practice and the memory practices that work for him. It is amazing to see what he can accomplish with a lot of hard work.
Though I want a better memory, it sounds like a lot of hard work to practice the techniques and I have no interest in spending my time in solitude trying to develop mental palaces. I am encouraged that the mind can change, but I am also coming to terms with the memory I have now and will try to get better for the times I need a better memory. At the end, Josh says that he doesn’t memorize daily phone numbers since having it in your phone is just easier; and he still uses post-its and lists because that’s just easier for him. But to use your brain in such a way to memorize a deck of cards under two minutes sounds absolutely amazing!
The book was easy to read and easy to follow. Nothing too scientific or incomprehensible. His writing was very pleasant and sometimes fun, and I was able to keep up with the book and want to finish.
Book Recommended For:
Anyone interested in a good, entertaining read, and looking to understand more about the brain.
That it is a book of stories, not just a book of scientific facts and how to memorize.
Least Favorite Parts:
None that I can think of.
Buy, borrow, or listen:
Borrow. It was really good, but I don’t see myself needing to reference it anytime soon. Though I would like a copy to share with other people.