Moonwalking with Einstein

Joshua Foer

Moonwalking with Einstein

On average, people squander forty days annually trying to remember things they've forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of training, he found himself in the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship. He also discovered a truth we too often forget: In every way, we are the sum of our memories. In Moonwalking with Einstein Foer draws on cutting-edge research, the cultural history of memory and the techniques of ‘mental atheletes’. In doing so, he reveals the hidden impact of memory on our lives, and shows how we can all dramatically improve our memories. 3.6 out of 5 based on 8 reviews
Moonwalking with Einstein

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Psychology & Psychiatry
Format Paperback
Pages 320
RRP £14.99
Date of Publication April 2011
ISBN 978-1846140297
Publisher Allen Lane
 

On average, people squander forty days annually trying to remember things they've forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of training, he found himself in the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship. He also discovered a truth we too often forget: In every way, we are the sum of our memories. In Moonwalking with Einstein Foer draws on cutting-edge research, the cultural history of memory and the techniques of ‘mental atheletes’. In doing so, he reveals the hidden impact of memory on our lives, and shows how we can all dramatically improve our memories.

Reviews

The Daily Express

Leo Robson

[An] addictive and fascinating book … It is Foer’s gifts as a teacher and a storyteller that make this book essential reading.

08/04/2011

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The New York Times

Michiko Kakutani

Capitvating … [Moonwalking with Einstein] has a lot in common with Malcolm Gladwell’s best sellers: it popularizes scientific concepts in a breezy, accessible fashion while cheerfully dispensing some practical insights and lots of entertaining anecdotes. But whereas Mr Gladwell’s 2008 book, Outliers, reads like a parody of his own formula, devolving into an unconvincing mash-up of gauzy hypotheses and highly selective illustrations, Mr Foer writes in these pages with fresh enthusiasm. His narrative is smart and funny and, like the work of Dr Oliver Sacks, it’s informed by a humanism that enables its author to place the mysteries of the brain within a larger philosophical and cultural context.

07/03/2011

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The New York Times

Alexandra Horowitz

... Foer’s missteps are few. Discussing the neurological underpinnings of memory, he repeats some commonly held myths about it, for instance, that obscure facts — “where I celebrated my seventh birthday” — are “lurking somewhere in my brain, waiting for the right cue to pop back into consciousness.” In fact, not only are many such memories lost for good, even the memories we do have are often quasi-fictionalized reconstructions ... But Foer is too engaging to put us off. His assemblage of personal mnemonic images is riotous.

11/03/2011

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The Washington Post

Marie Arana

Our memories, Foer tells us, are the seat of civilization, the bedrock of wisdom, the wellspring of creativity. His passionate and deeply engrossing book, Moonwalking With Einstein, means to persuade us that we shouldn't surrender them to integrated circuits so easily. It is a resounding tribute to the muscularity of the mind.

04/03/2011

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The Guardian

Oliver Burkeman

[A] witty and revelatory book … In itself, however, the act of memorising things does not provide limitless journalistic colour, and it is Foer's detours down other side-streets of memory that make for some of the book's most compelling moments.

09/04/2011

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The Literary Review

David Profumo

... Foer eases the layman into this subject via a series of notable case histories ... Larger philosophical questions are raised along the way, and there is relatively little stuff about the hippocampus and the neocortex ... He writes remarkably well, and it is hard to believe this is his first book.

01/04/2011

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The Financial Times

Kevin Jackson

[A] sprightly, entertaining book … Foer, the younger brother of Jonathan Safran Foer, writes in a breezy, agreeably self-deprecating style, and he has a gift for communicating fairly complex ideas in a manner that is palatable without being patronising.

01/04/2011

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The Sunday Times

Matt Rudd

Crisply entertaining … Now we have books, hard drives, smart phones and Google to hold all the information for us. We have externalised our memories. Is that a bad thing? Foer, flushed with the improbable success of his championship victory, concludes that it is. The more you know, the easier it is to know more, he claims ... Maybe so, but I think I’d still rather Google the capital of Kyrgyzstan than spend days working out what it has to do with Claudia Schiffer in a bath of cottage cheese. Possibly.

03/04/2011

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