Moonwalking with Einstein: Key Takeaways

“Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything” by Joshua Foer

Quick takeaways:

  • Memories are not innate gift – it could be learned. Basic one is paying attention, being deeply engaged.
  • World Champions use visual memory (spatial memory and navigation)! – distribute images along familiar spatial journey
  • “Mind Palace” – intimately familiar space such as childhood home; Dropping funny & bizzare image room to room! The crazier the more unforgettable.
  • Many memory techniques are ancient back in 2,500 years ago in Ancient Greece. It was essential to spread ideas through memories when words/scrolls/numbers did not exist; when there were no tools to externalise our memories.
  • Use multisensorial / electorate / colourful / vivid image. Human are hunter-gatherers who are genetically trained to identify food and trace route. Good at visual memory!
  • “Chunking”: cut up meaningless string of information into meaningful data
  • Top chess player / chicken sexer: mere pattern recognition recalling from long-term memory based on experience; no cognitive advantage
  • More chronological landmark (eventful) to make time seems longer; novelty unfolds time!
  • We should breakthrough our “OK plateau” by studying & eliminating our failure over and over again. Get immediate feedback from experts.
  • Distraction is the memory competitor’s greatest enemy. They wear earmuff and safety googles with pinholes.


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