Moonwalking with Einstein: An engaging journey into the depth of human memory

"Moonwalking With Einstein" is a very entertaining book written by Joshua Foer, a journalist, who goes from covering a memory competition to winning it in a span of 10 months. Insightful, entertaining and thought-provoking, Foer's book is a must read for anyone interested in human memory and how it works -- which really should be anyone. Of course, you will forget most of the book but you will remember that it is possible to remember if you could only remember.

Foer discusses many techniques and many entertaining individuals who participate in memory competitions and what it means to them and how they do it. The key to  human memory is of course association. It is a completely different way to remember things than what our understanding of "memory" is today which is heavily influenced by computers specially if you are a computer graduate and you studied computer memory. Human memory is very different and far superior and far inferior at the same time both in capacity and speed of access. Amazing stuff to read and learn about.

The most important method of all is the Method of loci or the (in)famous "Memory Palace" technique in which you associate words in a sentence to locations in an area that you know very well - like maybe the home you grew up in. Fascinating stuff with dubious results at least until practiced sufficiently.

The most amazing use of the memory palace concept for me was by Salman Rushdie  in his supremely entertaining last major novel -  "The Enchantress of Florence"