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.
I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It is not a genre that normally attracts me, but after several recommendations from another book group, I gave it a go. I found it simply fascinating! I found the first part of this book, especially, compelling and informative, filled with information and details about how the brain works, stores and retrieves information. Much of the information I have seen alluded to and referred to in headlines or self-help books, but this went further citing the studies and giving just enough background and detailed information so that a non-techie like me can still follow the information without getting overloaded by geek speak. We then follow the author of the book for a year, from his first observation of the American Memory Championships observing what appears to be absolutely astounding feats of memory to his participation in the same competition a year later.
Throughout this process, we learn that the world memory champions don't tend to have any special IQ gifts but have simply trained themselves and learned various memory tricks that work in different areas of memory. For example, memorizing a poem is an entirely different type of memory skill than memorizing a random set of numbers or a random list of items. I must say that I did one of the exercises along with the book as directed and now, about a month later, I can still recall the randomized list of 15 items without much effort which is simply amazing to me. However, I'm still having trouble remembering where I left my phone and my glasses which is where I REALLY need help!
I found the first half of the book absolutely fascinating because it was all about the way the brain works filled with interesting facts about education over the centuries and how the availability of information has changed our learning/educational process. The second half of the book tended to focus more on the author's training for the memory championships. While I found some of this interesting I did not find that part of the book nearly as compelling as the onslaught that delighted me at the beginning of the book.
This was an interesting, well-written and eclectic book that entertained cover to cover. It has broader interest even though it's about a microsociety that most of us will never come across. It's another one of those books like Malcolm Gladwell's where you feel like you learned things, but you didn't realize it because it was interesting.
I enjoyed this book through and through. I read this in 2 days, while I was in Paris. There were many things I could have lent my attention to in those 2 days, but I found this book to be so captivating I couldn't put it down. I found myself making excuses to listen to it wherever I was. It combines interesting narrative with scientific information and historical context. One of my best reads this year.
Not a how to book but a wonderful description of the author’s journey into learning. Foer is an excellent writer reporting on a research study involving a memory experiment on himself.
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!
Mainly a story of the author's personal experiences. If you are hoping to learn to improve your memory, this will not help at all - one of the key lessons is that memorizing things for a competition is a very narrow skill that doesn't really help in everyday life. I never got bored listening, though.
The book was well written, however,it was not what I had expected . I was made aware that people did engaged in games that challenged remembering. I did not come away with a manner I could improve my memering.
This story was very interesting and easy to listen to. The book delves into the mechanics of memory and memory competitions just enough to help the reader learn the concepts but not too deep to leave the reader bored. It will definitely spark your curiosity into learning more about your own memory capabilities.