With memory palaces, anyone can look like a memory genius.
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I always thought I was born with a bad memory. I could never remember multiplication tables, I’m so bad with names, and I honestly couldn’t tell you what I ate for lunch two days ago. Yet I found a way to memorize an entire chapter of Moby Dick in less than four days. It turns out I was going about memorizing things all wrong.
The way most people are taught to memorize is by making flash cards and just repeating the information over and over again until it sticks. This is terribly ineffective, really frustrating, and the reason nobody can tell you what 8 times 12 is.
A much better technique is the “memory palace,” an idea that Joshua Foer explores in his book Moonwalking With Einstein. A memory palace is a mnemonic technique that allows you to more easily memorize information by creating corresponding visual images that you mentally place along a path in a familiar location.
For more info about Joshua Foer’s book on memory palaces: http://joshuafoer.com/moonwalking-with-einstein
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