Moonwalking with Einstein Summary 2023 - Deepstash

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Moonwalking with Einstein Summary

About Moonwalking with Einstein Book

Foer's unlikely journey from chronically forgetful science journalist to U.S. Memory Champion frames a revelatory exploration of the vast, hidden impact of memory on every aspect of our lives.

On average, people squander forty days annually compensating for things they've forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of memory training, he found himself in the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship. Even more important, Foer found a vital truth we too often forget: In every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.

Moonwalking with Einstein draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of memory, and venerable tricks of the mentalist's trade to transform our understanding of human remembering. Under the tutelage of top "mental athletes," he learns ancient techniques once employed by Cicero to memorize his speeches and by Medieval scholars to memorize entire books. Using methods that have been largely forgotten, Foer discovers that we can all dramatically improve our memories.

Immersing himself obsessively in a quirky subculture of competitive memorizers, Foer learns to apply techniques that call on imagination as much as determination-showing that memorization can be anything but rote. From the PAO system, which converts numbers into lurid images, to the memory palace, in which memories are stored in the rooms of imaginary structures, Foer's experience shows that the World Memory Championships are less a test of memory than of perseverance and creativity.

Foer takes his inquiry well beyond the arena of mental athletes-across the country and deep into his own mind. In San Diego, he meets an affable old man with one of the most severe case of amnesia on record, where he learns that memory is at once more elusive and more reliable than we might think. In Salt Lake City, he swaps secrets with a savant who claims to have memorized more than nine thousand books. At a high school in the South Bronx, he finds a history teacher using twenty- five-hundred-year-old memory techniques to give his students an edge in the state Regents exam.

At a time when electronic devices have all but rendered our individual memories obsolete, Foer's bid to resurrect the forgotten art of remembering becomes an urgent quest. Moonwalking with Einstein brings Joshua Foer to the apex of the U.S. Memory Championship and readers to a profound appreciation of a gift we all possess but that too often slips our minds.

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Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
Memory Has Become Less And Less Important Throughout History

Memory Has Become Less And Less Important Throughout History

We didn’t always have the attention span of a goldfish, but today it sure seems that way.

Imagine our memory had been so bad, once we finally became old enough to pass on knowledge from generation to generation.

We wouldn’t be here today, had the elders not remembered a few important things.

Before the invention of scripture, memory artists were today’s equivalent of quarterbacks. King Cyrus of Persia was known for knowing all the names of his soldiers, and Socrates mocked writing for making people forgetful.


The History Of Declining Memory

The History Of Declining Memory

Anything that was written before 200 BC had no punctuation, all texts were basically just word strings. If you didn’t already know what you were reading, reading was useless.

In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, and it was all downhill from there.

Once we could store information externally, physically store it anywhere in our house and access it at any time, the need to remember things significantly declined.

This tendency has continued ever since, and taken a major turn for the worse with the invention of smartphones and the globally available internet.


Memory Isn't Fixed

Memory Isn't Fixed

However, just because our memory sucks now doesn’t mean we can’t improve it. We know that the average number of list items we can store in our short-term memory is seven, though that can be increased with practice.

Through repetition, practice and becoming an expert in certain fields you can increase your capacity to remember things.


This taught me how to live my life to the fullest

How can you live your life to the fullest?

How can you live your life to the fullest?

Have you ever wondered or thought, after an year or a month or a week, where the hell did that go?

Our memory remember things in a chronological order. For eg: Event X happened just before the big Paris vacation. Event Y happened in the first summer after I learned to drive.

As each year passes, some of our experiences are converted to automatic routines and since there are no particular new experiences to anchor our memories, our brain blends these years into one countless unit and stores it.


To tell you an example, imagine your routine of going to your work over a period of one month. You go at 9 in the morning, do your work, come back at 5 in the evening, watch some TV and this cycle continues and it becomes an automatic routine. You experience no new memory here.

So, here since there are no new experiences to anchor our memories, our brain blends this one month period into one countless unit and stores it. That's why you wonder at the end of the month "Where the hell did the last month go".


" Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it". You can exercise daily and eat healthy and live a long life, while experiencing a short one.

That's why it's important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of life.


This idea made me believe that our memories are really improvable.

Is our Memory Power really improvable?

Yes, it is.

Have you ever wondered what happened to the things that you read when you were young.

When you were reading you would have had a perfect memory of the subject. But over time you could have forgot it.

But the fact is you never forget anything you read. All the matters you learn are stored somewhere in your brain.

You only don't know how to access it.

Our memory stores everything in a random manner. So, it becomes difficult to access it at a later point of time.

Imagine a book without page numbers and index.


You know that the matters of the subject are in the book but can you pull out where the matters are exactly?

So, there are certain techniques to increase your memory and store things in it.

One such technique is called Mind Palace.


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