11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Witty, Eye-Opening Book,
This review is from: Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)'Once upon a time people invested in their memories, they cultivated them. They studiously furnished their minds. They remembered. Today, of course, we've got books, and computers and smart phones to hold our memories for us. We've outsourced our memories to external devices. The result is that we no longer trust our memories. We see every small forgotten thing as evidence that they're failing us altogether. We've forgotten how to remember.'
When Joshua Foer was sent to cover the US Memory Championships as a science journalist, little did he expect to return the following year as a competitor. And the idea that he might win after only one year of training was unthinkable. Yet that's exactly what happened. Like many people, Foer regularly forgot where he left his car keys and, on occasion, his car. He discovered from speaking with the world's memory champions that they weren't savants who performed miraculous mnemonic feats without effort, but ordinary people who used specific techniques to remember information; just as a physical athlete doesn't reach the pinnacle of his or her sport without training long and hard, a mental athlete must apply the same dedication and commitment to training the memory. Joshua moved to the UK to be coached by world-renowned memory athlete Ed Cooke in his rural English hideaway. Foer's description of his intensive training with coach Cooke evokes images of the training montages from the Rocky movies: no-mercy coach and gutsy athlete training together in seclusion from the outside world, only re-emerging once the fighter is in a state of perfect readiness.
Don't think for a moment that a book describing memory training and its historical background must be boring. Foer's incisive narrative is littered with witty stories of the endearingly eccentric memory champions who became his friends and peers. Their passion for all things cerebral flows over into their lives as a whole, so much so that by the end of the book, the reader can't help feeling that these would be fun people to have as friends.
Buy it, read it, change your worldview.