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Remember summary

The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting

4.6 (292 ratings)
30 mins

Brief summary

Remember by Lisa Genova is a heart-wrenching story about a young woman suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Through her experiences, the book provides insight into the disease and its impact on families and loved ones.

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    Remember
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    Memory is a physical thing triggered by attentiveness and generated through a process of encoding and consolidation.

    Anything you perceive evaporates in about 15 to 30 seconds unless you get that information to the hippocampus – a deep brain structure that knits neural activity into long-term memory.

    This is how that happens: When you’re fully attentive in a moment of some action, your brain translates raw data from your senses into neural activity within the prefrontal cortex. This process is called encoding. From encoding, we move to consolidation, where the information passes from the prefrontal cortex into the hippocampus. Here, the neural activity is bound into a stable pattern. That pattern of neurons is now your memory of the moment. But what is “memory” and how exactly does it work? Well, there are three main types of memory functions you rely on in your daily life: semantic, episodic, and muscle memory. The memories consolidated by the hippocampus fall into two categories, the semantic and the episodic, so let’s start there.If you have a US penny in your pocket, go ahead, dig it out, hold it in your palm and give it your attention. You’ll see that Lincoln faces right, the phrase In God We Trust arcs overhead, the year sits before his chest, and the word Liberty hangs by his shoulder.

    As you look at the coin, this image of the penny is being encoded in the prefrontal cortex of your brain. Remember though that, if you want this memory to stick, it has to be consolidated in your hippocampus. So, study the penny. Pay attention to its details. If you do so repeatedly, the neural representation will eventually travel to the hippocampus of the brain where it’ll be bound into a stable neural pattern, becoming your long-term memory of the penny, ready to be activated on demand.

    This sort of memory is what’s called semantic memory. This type of memory comes about through studied repetition or repeated actions in your daily life. The barista at the cafe, for example, knows what the regulars order because she’s heard it day after day. 

    By contrast, episodic memories are connected to a place and time. They’re the impactful, surprising, and meaningful moments of your life that the brain has translated into stable neural patterns – events, like the first time you held your daughter, or shocking moments, such as a car accident.In the next blink, we’ll take a closer look at these particular types of memory.

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    What is Remember about?

    Remember (2021) is about our marvelous and flawed ability to create memories. It explores the different sorts of memories we create, how the brain makes them, why they often fail, and what we can do to get the best out of our astonishing and troubled capacity to remember.

    Remember Review

    Remember (2019) by Lisa Genova is a poignant and thought-provoking exploration of the power of memory and the fragility of identity. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its emotional depth and authenticity, it offers a compelling portrayal of a woman grappling with early-onset Alzheimer's, shedding light on the human experience.
    • Through vivid storytelling and meticulous research, the book delves into the intricacies of memory loss, offering a nuanced understanding of the condition.
    • By challenging societal stereotypes surrounding Alzheimer's, the book opens up conversations about empathy, compassion, and the importance of human connection.

    Who should read Remember?

    • People curious about our brain functions
    • Anyone interested in the human capacity to remember and to forget
    • Folks concerned about what happens to memory as we get older

    About the Author

    Lisa Genova is a Harvard-trained neuroscientist and the author of several best-selling novels that deal with the maladies of the human brain, including Still Alice, which was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film starring Julianne Moore.

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    Remember FAQs 

    What is the main message of Remember?

    The main message of Remember is the power of human memory and the impact it has on our lives.

    How long does it take to read Remember?

    The reading time for Remember varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Remember a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Remember is an insightful and thought-provoking book. It offers a unique perspective on memory and is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of Remember?

    The author of Remember is Lisa Genova.

    What to read after Remember?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Remember, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Smarter by Dan Hurley
    • Why We Make Mistakes by Joseph T. Hallinan
    • How We Learn by Benedict Carey
    • The Seven Sins of Memory by Daniel L. Schacter
    • Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
    • Remote Work Revolution by Tsedal Neeley
    • Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg
    • 12 Rules For Life by Jordan B. Peterson
    • Exactly What to Say by Phil M Jones
    • Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell