Monday, April 2, 2012

Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer

This was a pretty interesting and entertaining book about the art of remembering. Foer, as a journalist, was covering the Memory Championships and, while interviewing some of the contenders, believes he needs to try to become a contender as well.

Remembering is an art. Back in the day (WAY back in the day), everything pertinent to life was memorized. Now days, we don't remember anything because we have computers, cell phones, etc. Honestly, who remembers phone numbers now? You just look up the person's name on your phone and there you go.

Ed Cookie, one of the mental athletes, takes to coaching Foer. We learn how to create memory palaces to remember pretty much everything. We learn tricks to memorizing a deck of cards (hence the title of the book). But really, this book isn't a how-to on improving your memory. It's a trip, through history, through interviews with savants, amnesiacs and Rainman, into why your memory is so important.

Our memories are intricately linked to who we are. It contains our life, our autobiography, everything we are.

I think the best piece of advice Foer offered up was that to remember you need to be present. You need to be mindful of what's going on around you. When you meet that new person, really pay attention to that person. Don't think about yourself and what you plan on saying or doing next. Be in the moment. In the end, Foer learned that the tricks were cool but he really learned to be here, in the now. And that's what helped the most.

How zen.
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