Moonwalking with Einstein – Joshua Foer

Moonwalking with Einstein - by Joshua Foer

Did you know that there is one man who knows 50,000 digits of pi?

Yes, his name is Ben Pridmore. In case you don’t understand, let me explain.

Pi is a number and it has an infinite number of digits (3,14159…….). Ben Pridmore has the first 50,000 digits of Pi committed to memory. Can you imagine such thing possible for a human being?

Once again, the answer is yes. The great thing is that this ability is available to any person. It only requires a little practice to get it developed. Now, let’s cut to the point.

Moonwalking with Einstein is an extraordinary book that reveals the amazing power of the human mind and that teaches us how we can train our memory to become human “storage devices”. With the techniques revealed by Joshua Foer, you can even memorize entire books of 200+ pages.

Here are few of the things you can learn from this book:

1. Learn how to never forget any person’s name.
2. Learn how to memorize the order of entire decks of poker cards (52 cards) by developing a PAO (person-action-object) system. The first time I tried, I memorized the order of a 52 deck of cards in 22-23 minutes. After 6 trials I managed to memorize a deck of cards in 8 minutes. Well, that’s not bad! But, Ben Pridmore memorizes a deck of cards in 32 seconds.
3. Learn to never rely on shopping lists but commit everything to memory.
4. Learn about the people with the greatest memory in the world, and also about the ones with the poorest ones.
5. Learn how to efficiently memorize poems, strings of digits, and different raw texts.
6. Learn about the latest mnemonics (techniques of memory).
7. Learn that any human being is capable of extraordinary memory.

I personally consider this book a work of art because it is based on a lot of research as it has more than 140 references listed. Can you imagine the amount of study and the complexity of work that Joshua Foer committed to?

There are a lot of medical cases with people who suffered from various mental disorders which are presented in this book. Some of them are given entire chapters. Also, the book is very practical because of the techniques of memory that are specifically described in full details (ex: The Palace of Memory, The Major System, The PAO System, and others).

Here is a quote from the book:

“During the first half of the twentieth century, playing simultaneous games of blindfolded chess against multiple opponents became a fetishized skill in the chess world. In 1947, an Argentinean grand master named Miguel Najdorf set a record by playing forty-five simultaneous games in his mind. It took him twenty three and a half hours, and he finished with a record of thirty-nine wins, four losses, and two draws, and then was unable to fall asleep for three straight days and nights afterward. (According to chess lore, simultaneous blindfolded chess was once banned in Russia due to the mental health risks.)”

Pretty amazing for a simple human being, huh?

Here is how I suggest you to get the most out of this book through the technique of Smart Reading:

1. Take a pen and start interacting with the book by underlining concepts, circling words and/or highlighting paragraphs which you think are the most import. I recommend following the research of Joshua Foer or try finding the books he references throughout the book. That helped me while trying to learn some of the techniques.

2. Different ideas will flow through your mind as you go along with reading the book. Write them down on the blank sides of the pages.

3. Take the book every now and then and re-read everything you have highlighted, circled, and noted. Always view your most important notes from the end of each chapter.

Doing these three easy steps will practically boost your knowledge, it will help you to easily apply the most important principles of the book and you will become a better manager and also a better leader.

Note: If you read the book on a smartphone or tablet, just use an application which allows you to highlight and write notes within the book. There are plenty of such applications.

Get the book here (I highly recommend the hard cover version):

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