March 2022

6 Books To Improve Your Memory

— Improve your recollection with these 6 books.
6 Books To Improve Your Memory

Joshua Foer, the 2006 US memory champion and best-selling author of "Moonwalking with Einstein," recommends six books on the art of remembering:

My favourite quote from Moonwalking with Einstein

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.

This work ushered forth a new era of scholarly inquiry into the art of remembering. Yates relates the narrative of how the art of remembering developed, beginning with the ancient Greeks. She also discusses a mental memory retrieval mechanism known as a "memory palace" - an imagined superstructure in your mind's eye that you use to arrange and retain knowledge. The aim is to take a structure that you are very acquainted with and place images in it that is so vivid that you will never forget it. It is easier to recall things if you can involve the visual section of your brain in the process. Mnemonists claim that their abilities are as much about creativity as they are remembering.

My favourite quote from Art Of Memory

This is the most comprehensive examination of the role of memory in mediaeval civilization. During the Middle Ages, people realised that words that are accompanied by picture are considerably more remembered. Illuminations serve to make the content memorable by making the margins of a book colourful and lovely. It's a shame we've forgotten the skill of lighting. The fact that today's books are primarily made up of words makes it simpler to forget the text. With the iPad's influence, the future of the book is up for reimagining, and I wonder whether we'll rediscover the value of making books more aesthetically rich.

My favourite quote from The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture

This is a fantastic book. Rubin uses cognitive science learning to help us grasp oral traditions – stories passed down by word of mouth. And he writes about how the ancients knew things about cognition that have just lately been rediscovered. For example, rhyme and rhythm are both mnemonic and euphonic. Using rhyme, metre, rhythm, and song to make something memorable is one of the finest methods to do it. That appears to be how "The Odyssey" and "The Iliad" were passed down.

My favourite quote from Memory in Oral Traditions

This is a novel that should be read by more people. It's a look back at how we've discussed memory throughout history. Today, we discuss about photographic memory or digital memory, and we compare our memories to modern technology. That has always been the case. The Greeks referred to memory as if it were a wax tablet. Memory was viewed as a hologram by intellectuals in the mid-twentieth century. Memory was an aviary to Socrates. It was a mystic writing pad for Freud. Draaisma discusses how these metaphors impact our perceptions of memory.

My favourite quote from Metaphors of Memory

This book pioneered the field of humanistic clinical histories. There would be no Oliver Sacks, the British neurologist who published "Awakening" without Luria, a Russian neuropsychologist. Luria examined a journalist named Solomon Shereshevsky, or just "S," for 30 years. S was said to have a vacuum-cleaner memory. In fact, he appeared to recall everything. He was a poor writer who couldn't make a livelihood as anything other than a stage act — a memory freak. That, I believe, hints at something profound: forgetting is a vital aspect of learning because it trains us to abstract. S couldn't digest what he saw and couldn't find his place in the world because he recalled too much.

My favourite quote from The Mind of a Mnemonist

Perhaps this account of a man who "saw" everything will play some part in the difficult course that lies ahead.
The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.