Moonwalking with Einstein Book Reviews

Joshua Foer

Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer Book Summary

“Highly entertaining.” —Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

“Funny, curious, erudite, and full of useful details about ancient techniques of training memory.” —The Boston Globe

The blockbuster phenomenon that charts an amazing journey of the mind while revolutionizing our concept of memory

An instant bestseller that is poised to become a classic, Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer's yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top "mental athletes." He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist's trade to transform our understanding of human memory. From the United States Memory Championship to deep within the author's own mind, this is an electrifying work of journalism that reminds us that, in every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.

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Book Name Moonwalking with Einstein
Genre Life Sciences
Language English
E-Book Size 916.27 KB

Moonwalking with Einstein (Joshua Foer) Book Reviews 2023

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Moonwalking with Einstein. Fantastic and fun! Makes me want to throw it all away and join the memory circuit.

Jjnuuununi. Booo I'm in is hard or Ilonagioiii

Fantastic!. This book was amazing, exquisite, exemplary, informative. A true extension of the human spirit.

Radicool. I learned so much about the human brain and how our minds work. Its absolutely incredible that this book was so informative and entertaining at the same time! From skeptical to professional, I love how the progression of Josh Foer in the field of competitive memory is interlaced with enough facts, ideas, and concepts to fill a textbook. Quite literally the most fun I've had learning.

Insightful. Really makes you think. Very well written.

Amazingly Interesting and Helpful. This is one of those rare books that is not only a joy to read, but also immensely helpful. It can help all of us with something that is at once troublesome and worrisome: our memory. It does this with ease, not teaching us some grueling rote memory technique, but one that is easy, natural and intuitive. Yet Moonwalking with Einstein turns out to not be exclusively a how-to book on memory. So what is it? Well, yes, it is about memory and how to improve it, but it is at once a history of techniques, a description of what memory is and what can go wrong with it, and also a running narrative of how the author, a journalist himself with no special memory skills, becomes one of the most proficient memory athletes in America. I'd learned a mnemonic device to aid memorization decades ago while in college, and found it to be helpful, but for some reason I'd abandoned the technique once I graduated. But Moonwalking with Einstein expands the mnemonic technique I learned back then by use of something of which I'd never heard: the "Memory Palace." The Memory Palace exploits our inherent skill for remembering images and spatial locations, harnesses these two abilities we all posses in abundance, and relates them to the memorization of numbers, lists and assortments of other difficult to remember items. The amazing thing is that the Memory Palace not only makes memorization easy, it also makes it fun. What makes the book so interesting is that it is narrative non-fiction and reads like a novel. The author locks his conflict with his own memory early on, gives a sense of rising tension as he accumulates the forces to overcome its limitations, and resolves this internal conflict at the end when he participates in the US Memory Championship. I didn't read it as urgently as I did today's number one bestseller, Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken, but still, I couldn't put it down. In Chapter Five, I scanned the "to-do" list of fifteen items on pages 92/3 that the author had to memorize in his initial attempt, and developed the technique for myself as I read about the author memorizing it. As my Memory Palace, I used an old home of a high school friend with which I was still familiar, constructing useful details as I went. When I had finished reading about the author memorizing the list (took me about five minutes), I had memorized it myself, and I found that the items were not only immediately memorable, but that the list of items and their sequence was still with me days later, and so imbedded in my memory that I'm sure I'll ever forget it. All this, I accomplished effortlessly. This is a truly remarkable feat for me because I'm almost seventy years old and have chronic fatigue syndrome, which adversely affects all aspects of my memory. It has also given me hope that I might finally learn ancient Greek. I tried to learn it several years ago, but found building a vocabulary so difficult that I abandoned the project. Rote memory was just too much trouble. I am interested in all things Greek, and as it turns out, the Memory Palace technique was invented in the fifth century BC by Simonides following his narrow escape from the collapse of a building. This in itself is a story you'll be interested in reading about. The author says that since the time of this ancient Greek, "the art of memory has been about creating architectural spaces in the imagination." Having been to Greece twice, I have all the makings of a superb Greek Memory Palace. While traveling around Greece and the western coast of Turkey for ten weeks, I visited many cities and islands: Athens, Thebes, Delphi, Ithaca, Mykonos, Delos, Santorini, etc. I can't count all the archaeological sites I visited. What I'm creating isn't just any old Memory Palace but actually a Memory Country. Within each location, I can identify as many locations for storing words and meanings as I need. But not only that, I can also use characters from Greek mythology to create actions and images to reinforce the material, as the author suggests. All this constitutes my Greek Memory Palace: the location where I will store ancient Greek words and meanings as I learn the language, in accordance with the instructions learned in Moonwalking with Einstein. None of it was difficult. I picked it up as I read the book. The author describes how in the past people viewed their minds as something to perfect by loading it with all sorts of intellectual material. "People used to labor to furnish their minds. They invested in the acquisition of memories the same way we invest in the acquisition of things." [page 134] Some even believed that "the art of memory was a secret key to unlocking the occult structure of the universe." [page 151] This has given me an entirely new view of how to perceive my own mind and nourish it in the future. The author also discusses how we came to lose touch with our ability to remember with the invention of the printed word. The history of that estrangement and how inventions like Wikipedia and the Internet foster that estrangement is a very interesting story. The author makes the reader aware of what is happening to us and provides a way to project ourselves into the future without suffering so much of technology's debilitating effects. Perhaps the reason this book is so successful is that the reader never loses sight of the practical use of the information the author is providing because the author is discovering it himself and actively making use of it in his quest to make it into the US Memory Championship. This is an important book. Everyone can benefit from reading it.

Enjoyable resd. Was enjoyable to read! Someone else was correct that it reads more like a memoir, but in some ways that made the information easier to follow. Nuggets of information tucked into the storyline. 3 stars = most parts were entertaining. Learned some things. Probably won’t repeat read but enjoyed it the first time.

Entertaining and educational!. Vey well written book about developing memory skills. Foer gives us some quick background on the importance of memory throughout the ages, and then takes us through his experiences as he develops memory skills and becomes a mental athlete. Really quite interesting to learn about memory techniques and the use of the "memory palace". Great cast of characters and enjoyable read. Highly recommended!

Building Blocks of Memories. Joshua Foer gives us a fascinating look at the science of how memory and identity are intertwined. The playfulness of the title of this book continues is mirrored in the narrative style. We get a Queen’s Gambit style story through various voices and research subjects. Each section laced with equal parts humor and jaw dropping insights. Of all the knowledge shared the most distinct is that there is a stark difference between learning and memorizing as a discipline. The memory techniques discussed are enticing shortcuts to getting more out of life but there are trade offs that you’ll learn about. Put simply, a head full of facts does not equate to a head full of knowledge, nor does it a genius make. That said, the need to revisit our relationship with memory is well argued here. Especially in the connection between what we learn and how we are tasked with remembering it. The lingering question is how to find a balance between the two and how are education system is critical to that outcome. I was fortunate to have a 4th grade teacher who taught us many of these techniques but more importantly which one we individually were more inclined to. The other exciting connection then is how science can help us all do this better. Specifically, those who have suffered memory loss and similar. In the broader sense, how we manage the association between internalized memories and our external digitized ones. Joshua Foer’s own journey in participatory journalism is a great place to start.

Very entertaining and well-written!. Geeks are hot.

Stimulating read. The author's journey from interested reporting journalist to US memory champion is a stimulating read. The journey is simply a matrix for the web of information provided about memory itself and the way memory has affected humanity. How techniques that were commonplace 2500 years ago and which have fallen into obscurity in the digital age can be rekindled to provide anyone with a fantastic recall for facts and figures. Whether you actually want to memorize a pack of cards in 30 seconds or are simply interested in how it is done, this book is for you! Not only did I devour the book, I told all my friends what a stimulating read it had been!

Recommended. Recommended. Yes, I was looking for more memory tips, but the book was a fine combination of narrative, science, and techniques. Great bibliography. This book will be a springboard to more training - much like the World Championship's effect on the author.

Great. This book was a really quick read and very informative. You definitely should read this.

Intelligent Fun. Josh has a knack for being open and fun, while at the same time teaching you along the way. Enjoyable read!

Great read. Part history, part science, part instruction manual, the book is a near-gripping narrative of the author’s journey into the world of memory champions. It will change the way you think of and value your memory.

Interesting read. Well worth it.

Good read but I was hoping to find more. This book isn’t going to make you smarter if you have such hopes. It’s more like the story of a normal man training for memory championships and realizing that no matter how high he ranks in the competition, this training doesn’t affect your daily basis memory. I felt bad for investing my time in this book given how few information I got out of it...

Fun!. A lot of fun!

An extraordinary tale about a ultimately anonymous author. Let me make myself clear: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Foer is a talented writer, the narrative moves along at a fine clip, and the subject is fascinating. Upon finishing it, however, I came to realize that I had learned, or at least remembered (I apologize for the irony of this word anywhere in my review -- I promise that it is unintentional) a great deal more about the competition, Joshua's friends, and Josh's practice routines than I had about him. When I flipped the last page of the epilogue, I didn't feel as fulfilled as I'd expected to be. I think I'd have liked to have gotten to know the author better, not merely as "US Memory Champ," but rather as Joshua Foer, much of whose personality is lost in what feels to me like a long journalistic piece, which, again, was very good, but could have been that much better were we to have learned more about him. I look forward to reading more of Foer's work.

Witty, Smart, Relevant. Read book to pickup memory tips, but was pleasantly surprised to be reminded of OK Plateau among other useful and interesting concepts. Joshua is such a gifted writer. Can't wait to read his next book. It could be on sleeping for all I care. I'm sure it will be insightful and engaging.

Very awesome book. This is a very awesome book about the underground memory subculture. If you want to learn some memory tricks, or just want to hear more about this fascinating underground competition, this is the book you need to read!

How does memory work for us?. I wondered why memory is important in the is era of electronic schedules and Google searches. This book reminds us. It teaches some about the neuroscience of memory without too much jargon. It reminds of the important role memory played in history and it gives us insight into how to make memory better, but leaves us hanging until the end as to why someone would spend so much time learning to memorize a deck of cards in under 60 seconds. Memory is what makes us human.

Inspired. Fantastic book. Has as all the punch of a Malcolm Gladwell book bound to a winding personal journey, minus the self-help bender. Neuro-geeks welcome. My only criticism is that forgetfulness is treated as a defect, when that is clearly not the case, nor explored. Maybe there's a sequel along that line: "Sleepwalking with Someonerrother"

Awsome book. Thought it was great. It was fun to look up the characters online and see them compete, it makes the story more real.

Great Book.. This is a great book. Being a college student I really feel this gave me an insight on how my mind worked. I strongly suggest it for anyone willing to learn about the mind and memory techniques.

Awsome journey to USA Memory Champioship. A good book to read, facts that explain some basic and antique memory exercises to remember

Moonwalking w/Einstein. A good read on a subject that could have been a convoluted and boring read! The author has a flowing style that profusely uses examples that are both explanatory and visual, as well as a pleasing amount of humor. I'm left with the reality that my old age memory is decidedly better than I'd been rating it. An enjoyable read!

Clever. Really enjoyed this!

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Amazing book. This is one of the greatest books I have ever had the pleasure of reading, I highly recommend reading it.

Shamefull to refer to Einstein with this drivel. Might be interesting if you want to understand how to memorize the most trite information imaginable but has nothing to do with the great mind of Einstein. Einstein intentionally avoided memorizing the crap that the author became a national champion at memorizing. This book doesn't even belong in the science category. Shame on the author for tricking me into a purchase by using Einstein in the title.

A tad disappointed. I picked up this book based on Bill Gates recommended reading list. I assumed it would provide a concrete list of techniques to improve memory. While it did provide a few tips (i.e. walking through your childhood home and placing items to remember at certain spots throughout the house), it wasn’t nearly as technique oriented as “The Memory Book” by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas. Between the two, I highly recommend the latter as it goes chapter by chapter on specific techniques to remember large numbers, lists of items forwards and backwards, etc.

What an amazingly exciting introduction to your mind.. My first introduction to this book was made as I casually strolled through Chapters. It was sitting on the corner of a table and it caught my eye as I'd just finished reading Einstein's biography by Walter Isaacson and had been ruminating on how his mind worked. I have always wished that my memory was better than it is because it seems that the knowledge I so desperately want at the ready is always lingering on Wikipedia. Even the knowledge I gain there has a habit of slipping away from me! But I am convinced that reading this book has changed the way I view my mind. Tony Buzan is absolutely right: the techniques that Joshua Foer describes and uses through the narrative of this book should be taught in every school. I think that my daughter is going to particularly benefit from me having read this book. And not only has it opened up my mind to my mind, it is a really good read! Foer is articulate, funny, thoughtful and never dull. I am going to recommend this book to every stranger I meet!

An excellent read. Josh Foer took a topic that I thought would be painfully mundane and made it greatly entertaining, and thoughtful.

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Summary of Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer

The Moonwalking with Einstein book written by Joshua Foer was published on 03 March 2011, Thursday in the Life Sciences category. A total of 899 readers of the book gave the book 4 points out of 5.

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