Moonwalking with Einstein Book Summary - Moonwalking with Einstein Book explained in key points
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Moonwalking with Einstein summary

Joshua Foer

The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

4.2 (269 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer is a fascinating exploration of the art of memory and how anyone can improve their ability to remember through techniques used by ancient Greeks and modern-day memory champions.

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    Moonwalking with Einstein
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    Our memory capacity is not fixed: we can train ourselves to remember more.

    Have you ever met someone with a knack for remembering names or facts and thought: “Why can’t I do that?” Well, anyone can improve their memory. All you need to do is learn how to use the capacity of your memory correctly – it’s far from being a talent that you either do or don’t have.

    One way you can do this is by practicing the phonological loop method, where you repeat the things you need to remember to yourself. This method was demonstrated in a classic experiment by psychologist K. A. Ericsson and his colleague Bill Chase, who presented an undergraduate known as SF with digits that he had to repeat back to them.

    At first, SF could retain around seven items in his phonological loop, which is considered an average result. However, after practicing this test for 250 hours, SF was able to expand his memory by a factor of 10.

    Aside from the phonological loop method, you can also improve your memory in a particular field by becoming an expert in that area. In the 1920s, scientists tested world-class chess players on their general cognitive abilities, such as memory. They found that although expert players were far better at chess than average players, they did not perform significantly better on any of the general tests.

    Later in the 1940s, however, a Dutch psychologist found that expert chess players do have a so-called “chess memory,” enabling them to see the chessboard differently than less experienced players. That is, they focus on spots on the board that are the most relevant and, rather than perceiving the board as 32 pieces, they see a few bigger pieces of the board.

    Although their general memory remained the same, by becoming skilled at chess, their memory of the game developed massively.

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    What is Moonwalking with Einstein about?

    Moonwalking with Einstein takes us on the author’s journey towards becoming the USA Memory Champion. Along the way he explains why an extraordinary memory isn’t just available to a select few people but to all of us. The book explores how memory works, why we’re worse at remembering than our ancestors, and explains specific techniques for improving your own memory.

    Moonwalking with Einstein Review

    Moonwalking with Einstein (2011) by Joshua Foer is a captivating exploration of memory and the extraordinary capabilities of the human mind. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It takes readers on a fascinating journey into the world of memory athletes, revealing their astonishing abilities to remember vast amounts of information.
    • Through personal experiences and scientific research, Foer uncovers practical techniques that anyone can use to improve their memory and enhance their cognitive performance.
    • The book offers intriguing insights into the nature of memory, challenging our understanding and showing us the incredible potential of our own minds.

    Best quote from Moonwalking with Einstein

    A great memory isnt just a by-product of expertise; it is the essence of expertise.

    —Joshua Foer
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    Who should read Moonwalking with Einstein?

    • Anyone who can’t remember their spouse’s or best friend’s phone number   
    • Anyone who wants to impress others with their broad knowledge at a cocktail party
    • Anyone who has trouble remembering names

    About the Author

    Joshua Foer is a Yale graduate and freelance science journalist. His work has appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic and The Washington Post.

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    Moonwalking with Einstein FAQs 

    What is the main message of Moonwalking with Einstein?

    Moonwalking with Einstein explores the art of memory and the potential within each of us to improve our own memory.

    How long does it take to read Moonwalking with Einstein?

    It takes several hours to read Moonwalking with Einstein. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Moonwalking with Einstein a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Moonwalking with Einstein is a fascinating read that sheds light on memory techniques and the power of the human mind.

    Who is the author of Moonwalking with Einstein?

    The author of Moonwalkingwith Einstein is Joshua Foer.

    What to read after Moonwalking with Einstein?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Moonwalking with Einstein, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Memory Palace by Lewis Smile
    • Unlimited Memory by Kevin Horsley
    • The Seven Sins of Memory by Daniel L. Schacter
    • Use Your Memory by Tony Buzan
    • How We Learn by Benedict Carey
    • Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner
    • Remember by Lisa Genova
    • Think Remarkable by Guy Kawasaki & Madisun Nuismer
    • Uptime by Laura Mae Martin
    • Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom