[ 1 minutes to read ]
This was an interesting read. It reminded me of twenty plus years ago when I was reading about brain and memory science, game theory, and Martin Gardner books and columns. I was familiar with some of the mnemonic techniques but had no idea there were competitive international memory championships.
The author focused mainly on the memory palace technique for memorizing. I have never personally tried any of these tricks because I fail to see much practical use. Even the author struggled to find some really useful application after a year of training and dramatic performance in competition.
I would like to have seen more counterpoint in this book. He did make one anecdotal reference to puritanical William Perkins, but he didn’t offer much pushback at all. For instance, what is the real benefit of such exercises and what is the cost, mentally? Do these tricks really make a person smarter, or a better person? Finally, seeing numbers as colors or experiencing numbers as emotions makes no sense to me. Foer has packed in a lot of interesting information and it is a worthwhile read.