Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
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 suggest that the author does not elucidate many of the techniques used by MAs or Mental Athletes as the memory champions of the world are called. One might think that the individuals who compete at the national and international memory competitions are mentally-gifted or Savants. Not so. In fact, by definition, Savantism, as described in the literature, is that rare condition that, among other aspects of the syndrome, has as a commonality among its holders a prodigious memory that while very deep, is also exceedingly narrow. MAs on the other hand have memories that can, to name only a few, manage and regurgitate ordered lists of hundreds of random numbers, orders of multiple, shuffled decks of cards, poetry never before seen and all in a matter of a few short minutes. While these are but a few examples of the feats these athletes are capable of performing, there really are no limits to the subject materials they are capable of memorizing. And, as in the case of other forms of athletics, these require a similar kind and degree of training and conditioning.
In my studies as an educator, we learned theories about the kinds of student learning that takes place within us and particularly two and the one of which most of us have a particular proclivity for. We, for example, were taught that there are visual- and there are auditory-learners. I did not totally buy into that division and later on came to believe that even auditory learners, upon ‘hearing” the words, translate them into pictures, “seeing” them within their brains and therefore making us all pretty much visual. This is the premise upon which the techniques employed by MAs such as The Memory Palace derive their inspiration. Much to its credit, this is not only a book about the personal stories of some of the most important contemporary memory champs alive today, it is also about how they accomplish their stunning and almost magical feats of mental acumen.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the book is that its author. 20-something and fledgling author, Joshua Foer, in the process of writing a piece for Discovery Magazine on the U.S. Memory Championships, is convinced to train himself for the competition. He, with no particularly high IQ or Savantist syndrome whatever, does just that and goes on to win. While it gives hope for us mortals on the one hand, the book goes on to describe the incredibly intense training that goes into accomplishing such a feat.
Writing for Discovery, this is not a schlock, tabloid-like look at the subject of memory. Much of what is outlined is taken from cutting-edge research in the fields of psychology and neuroscience. I felt that the book was very well written, easy to understand, edifying and enjoyable. I think that I came to better understand and appreciate how much memory actually defines just who we are... and not necessarily who we are to others, but who we are to ourselves. The book was very well narrated and was everything a book should be and I give it five stars all the way around.
Joshua Foer started out to cover the US Memory Championship as a journalist and ended up mastering the methods of the masters. In this book, he traces the history of memory and how it was used in the ages before written language. He relates how persons compete in the Memory Championship, how they prepare, and what all this meant to Foer. Along the way he reveals the "art" of imagery and how it is used to advantage. Persons reading this book will be rewarded by the approach. The reading of Mike Chamberlain is excellent.
My favorite audiobooks are narrated by Mike Chamberlain.
In Moonwalking with Einstein, Joshua Foer mixes first-person investigative
journalism, succinct history lessons and good all-around story telling in his effort to
unravel the art of memory, which culminates in Foer’s unlikely hunt to be a memory
champion. Listening to the audiobook, you will by delighted by Mike Chamberlain’s
He brings to life the history of memory, mnemonic techniques,
the latest scientific research on the brain, and the unforgettable stories of ‘S’, the
man with the best memory in the world, and his foil “E.P.” I’ve listened to a lot of
audiobooks in my time at Audible and few narrators compare to Chamberlain.
After listening to this book, I was so impressed by his narration that I listened
to several of his other titles including Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes and The
Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
Hi all. I'm in my 50's (that's relevant, i think), and I favor fiction. I like the british sensibility, and was introduced to the Forsyte Saga through audible ... loved it! I happen to also like Chinese writers, but they are not well represented yet at audible. Looking to follow readers with similar tastes ...
this book was very interesting .. although a bit heavy on the ancient history. fascinating concept, though.
I love learning, teaching, and exploring!
This is written from a journalist's perspective so it isn't overly scientific and is easy to get through. Some of the case studies and feats of memory are incredible! An interesting read.
I wish I was taught these memorization techniques early on in my life. They can help everybody. This book will blow your mind if you allow it to. Take some time to try out some of these exercises as you listen to this book.
I very much appreciated that this author dove into the subject matter by testing out the techniques for himself and even compete in memorization competitions.
Very fresh read!
Yes.because it made me try to organise my brain like I organise my computer instead of just throwing information at it.It explains what is wrong with modern education and how it could be corrected.Rote is cerbral gymnastics
The idea of organising my mind like a piece of realestate!,it works!!
This book should be made to be compulsory reading by all educators,before it is too late
This book draws attention on how to learn a function that is being lost rapidly over the last century.,i.e how to learn. If we organised our mind with as much attention as our computers we will have greatly improved cerebral function
Very interesting story. Not a self-help memory book, but more about the research, history and culture of memory, woven around Foer’s efforts to go from covering the U.S. Memory Championship to winning it the following year.
Three big takeaways for me (the most important at the end):
1. Even after becoming one of the top “mental athletes” in the world, he quickly reverted back to his old ways (e.g., making written to-do lists, writing down things he needed to remember on sticky notes, etc.). I’ve personally felt guilty most of my life for not working harder and applying techniques I’ve learned in memory books, but now I don’t feel so bad. Foer says the techniques used to memorize decks of cards, numbers, names, poems, etc., are great for students in high school or college, but they aren’t necessarily applicable or desirable for the rest of us.
2. Everyone, including you and me, forgets all but the smallest bits and pieces of most every book they read. However, writing detailed and critical reviews -- like we do here -- is extremely helpful in countering this forgetfulness.
3. Think about what the sum of your existence is to you: It’s pretty much your collection of memories. If your life consists of dull routine (work, home, TV, bed) you’ll be one of those people who says, “Where did the last 10 years go? What did I accomplish?” But filling your time with memorable events makes your life seem longer and fuller. My advice: tend toward action rather than inaction. Resist the urge to veg out in front of the TV. Go. Do. Stuff!
Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.
This is not a how-to book on mnemonics or other forms of memory development. However, it's full of references to authoritative works on the subject and descriptions of some of the basic concepts. It's more of a journey book. It follows one individual's quest to master the tools necessary to compete in national and international memory championships and talks about the friendships formed along the way. He also writes about some of the very few individuals who seem to have the natural ability to perform extraordinary feats of memory and/or calculation without the tools applied by "mental athletes." Well read by Mike Chamberlain. If you have an interest in the subject, you won't be dissappointed.
Business Physicist and Astronomer
This book is huge disappointment. When I read the synopsis I thought, "okay, it's about one thing so it must be coherent." Wrong again. About the time he builds interest and gives enough background to grasp where he's going, he's off in another direction. And I mean a confusing direction. Twists and turns are one thing, going in aimless circles another.
The book has a lot of really interesting material and anecdotes---even some memory tips. But it's scattered. I had a very hard time staying interested because he was all over the board.
Oddly, I feel the same way about Jonathan Foer's writing. (They are brothers) I hated Eating Animals because it was all over the bored [sic].
So, take what I say here with a grain of pepper. It could just be me. Friends of my age group also found "Eating Animals" scattered. But younger readers love it. I suspect this book may get a similar reception from a more mature reader who appreciates a bit more continuity. For me, it's maddening to get interested in the journey only to be dumped off into yet another side street.