In the distant past Giordano Bruno penned in Latin "De Umbris Idearum & Ars Memoriae” (On The Shadows of Ideas & The Art of Memory), a complete dissertation on the philosophy of our memories and how to better memorize items. Translator, Scott Gosnell, has given us an excellent modern day translation of this 16th century text. The life of Bruno could be an entire volume, but Gosnell has provided an appropriately brief introduction to the lasting effects the life of Giordano Bruno, and the importance of this text, has had on the past 500 years of history without being overwhelming.
Bruno presented and formalized the idea of using a sequence of visualizations, such as mentally walking through a room, and using the mental visualizations to help in the recall of information. Bruno’s command of this ability ultimately led to his persecution and execution, but the implications of this practice are so far reaching that the reader is most likely already familiar with the basics of the ideas presented in the second half of the book, The Art of Memory. The ideas in this text are as valuable today as they were centuries before.
This modern day translation reads like old Latin at times and the thought process behind the text is from a dedicated academic. This is no tome of light reading – it is on the same level as higher level text books and pulls no punches when assuming the capabilities of the reader. It is not completely esoteric though and should be accessible to most capable readers. While this is a translation, it is obvious Scott Gosnell has kept true to the feel and rhythm of the original text without venturing into undue creative license.
This is must read for any intellectual, but it is likewise a must read for anyone interested in improving their memory and ability of informational recall.
Disclaimer: This book was a free copy from the author and reviewed in Kindle format.