07 October 2013

Moonwalking With Einstein, by Joshua Foer

This is a book about memory, and about memory-champions.

Very readable, and interesting. Foer delves into the world of memory contests, a thing of which I was unaware. These competitions are more popular, and on a higher level, in Europe.

Foer describes complicated "memory palaces" and other mental devices where one may "store" items for future regurgitation. While the methods he describes seem to work well for him, and others, I can't imagine attempting to furnish my brain in this way. Not only does it strike me as improbable of success, the prospect of this type of mental effort bores me in advance and gives me an impatient headache.

Nonetheless, Foer has written a fascinating-enough book that I read from cover to cover in a short time.

Not long after reading this book did I encounter an article in the 24-31 December 2012 New Yorker by Foer entitled "Utopian for Beginners," an account of the constructed language Ithkuil, and its creator, John Quijada. I read almost the entire article before discovering who the author was. This article is worth finding and reading, also, if only for its very strange ending.

Utopian for Beginners, link to www.newyorker.com

USA Memory Championship home page.

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