Moonwalking with Einstein by Josh Foer

20130118-112342.jpgMemory. Proust wrote a book on it, psychologists & neuroscientists study it, but what is it?

    The Art and Science of Memory takes us on this journey of not discovery, rather one of enlightenment.

Removing a bit of the wizard’s curtain, Josh Foer explains, and has the reader practice, the very skills that enable the world’s best mnemonists to memorize 20+ decks of cards in an hour or poems by heart or 22,000 digits of pi. Feats all the more remarkable today when so many of us rely on our cell phones to know all those phone numbers instead of our own memories.

Yet, it is this “externalization of memory” that the book rails against. Though, not as a Luddite railing against the technopoly, instead as a story teller narrates a bit of our history telling us what we are capable of doing with deliberate practice, reminding us not to forget what makes us unique.

…memory training is not just for the sake of performing party tricks; it’s about nurturing something profoundly and essentially human.

Creativity, the ability to put old ideas together in a new way, requires knowing those old ideas; it requires memory. The very ability to define our place in the world, to know who we are, requires we remember. The heart of what we do and the decisions we make are determined by our experiences, what we know and remember.

Remembering can only happen if you take notice.

Living and learning are not by chance. Though we take pictures and movies to document everything we do, it’s still the memories within the synapses that define who we are, and that is worth remembering.


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