School Library Journal
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In 2005, science journalist Foer covered a bizarre annual contest called the U.S. Memory Championship, thinking it would be the Super Bowl of savants. But he soon discovered that the contestants were mere mortals who had trained themselves to remember by using ancient techniques that just about anyone can learn. Under the tutelage of Ed Cooke, a grand master of memory, Foer wound up entering the contest a year later-and winning. (He used a mnemonic, Moonwalking with Einstein, to help him memorize a shuffled deck of playing cards.) During the year of testing, training, and researching, Foer mastered the ages-old secret to remembering any piece of information fast-by building a "memory palace" to house associated images. Foer's book explores the how and why of human memory both as the focus of his own experiment and as a journalist, sharing what he learned from scientists, educators, and amnesiacs alike. His "unforgettable" story coaches readers that we too can do whatever we set our minds to and celebrates the untapped potential of the human computer in our age of external hard drives. Angelina Benedetti manages three libraries for Washington's King County Library System and is the voice of "35 Going On 13," Library Journal's online column for adult readers of books for teens. She is the recipient of the 2011 Allie Beth Martin Award for her contribution to public libraries. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
If you sometimes can't remember where you put your car keys or, like Foer, the car itself, don't panic. You're not alone, and you can do something about it. In this intriguing look at the nature of memory, Foer reassures us that we don't need to acquire a better memory; we just need to use the one we have more effectively. Foer introduces us to people whose memories are both astonishing, like the man who could memorize 1,528 random digits in order, and frightening, such as a man with such an extreme case of amnesia that he doesn't know his own age and can't remember that he has a memory problem. He explores various ways in which we test our memories, such as the extensive training British cabbies must undergo. He also discusses ways we can train ourselves to have better memories, like the PAO system, in which, for example, every card in a deck is associated with an image of a specific person, action, or object. An engaging, informative, and for the forgetful, encouraging book.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist