Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Moonwalking With Einstein

Have we reached the end of remembering? Looks like with all the memory applications and tools available, remembering stuff is beginning to feel like a thing of the past. We barely need to memorize anything anymore; information that we would have had otherwise remembered is indexed and available on-line. To retrieve we need to type keywords. Sometimes we don't need to spend much time to think the right keywords because the auto-fill function of the search engine suggests those to us, and nine out of ten the suggested words are and work better than the ones we would have spent ~10-15 minutes thinking up!
As we rely more on such techniques we loose the ability to think and remember. Pretty much everyone I talked to, while reading this book, was not happy with his or her memory. One person called her memory, ephemeral! :)
Some think this is due to information overload. That we have too much to remember, so we have to learn how to be selective and remember the important things.
I really don't care how much overloaded my brain is, I just want it to keep vital information safely and make it available to me when I need it. I jump out of my chair numerous times on a daily basis searching my bag frantically to ensure that I still have my bus pass, or my house key is where I "think" I have last seen it, or my cell phone is still around. I am lost without the contact list stored on my phone.
Does this book help? Moonwalking with Einstein, by Joshua Foer, the title is certainly confusing and I would be very interested to know what does moon walking with Einstein have to do with the science of memory.) is an interesting read. Mr. Foer's curiosity of memory athletes prompts him to take on the challenge to become one. In this book he shares his story of going from having an average memory to an exceptional one that awards him the title of the US Memory Champion. He interviews those who have made a name and fortune training people mind mapping and mental literacy, e.g. Tony Buzan. He meets with the man who can't forget and a man who can't remember and out of each discussion a couple of chapters filled with fun and informative facts about the evolution of science of memory comes about.
When I turned the last page, did I feel I have now learned techniques that help me to remember better? Yes! Simple and probably one that you, who have not read this book yet, may know already. And that is our brain remembers when in full cognitive consciousness, the techniques such as: memory palace, one the author talks about and uses to win the title of US Championship, is just one way of forcing the brain into the state of full cognitive consciousness.
Happy Reading!

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