Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer

February 24th, 2011 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Received for book tour

Publisher: Penguin Press

Publication date: March 3, 2011

Synopsis:  Foer’s unlikely journey from chronically forgetful science journalist to U.S. Memory Champion frames a revelatory exploration of the vast, hidden impact of memory on every aspect of our lives.

On average, people squander forty days annually compensating for things they’ve forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of memory training, he found himself in the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship. Even more important, Foer found a vital truth we too often forget: In every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.

Have you ever wished you had a better memory?  I’m sure most of us have and that was what first drew me to this book. Foer went from your average Joe memory to finding himself in the US Memory Championship finals.   This is not so much a how to improve your memory book but rather a fun, quirky journey through the history of memory training.  He takes you back to when writing was not invented yet and everything was passed down through oral recitations from memory.  I enjoyed the examples at the power of memory like the man who could remember the placement of countless diners who were killed when the building collapsed on top of them and was able to direct rescuers and family members to each spot.

He introduces you to several of the top memory champions around the world and little insights into how they memorize as much as they do.  While not a full blown how to book he does mention one method that calls for creating a memory palace.  This consists of taking a place familiar to you and populating it with the wackiest images that you can think of and associate those with what you are trying to remember and then placing them around your memory palace.  He walks you through this exercise and amazingly I still remember some of the list based on the images of a jar of pickled garlic sitting on my driveway and Claudia Schiffer swimming in a tub of cottage cheese (yes, the images get wackier than that in the book!).  I have to admit being surprised at how many things I remembered since I have a notoriously bad memory.

I am not normally a fan of reading non-fiction books but Foer writes in an inviting and humorous way that will keep you engaged throughout the book.

About Joshua Foer

Joshua Foer has written for National Geographic, Esquire, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Slate.

Copy provided as a part of

Posted in Books, Non-fiction

7 Responses

  1. Kailana

    Sounds intriguing! I am sure everyone can relate to wanting a better memory!

  2. Pam

    Ah this sounds fabulous. I haven’t looked over at TLC’s website for a while since I am so behind. They always have great books touring.

  3. dsuzuki

    This is my first TLC book but I enjoyed it.

  4. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours

    The topic of memory and competitions to prove the extent of memory are really fascinating – I didn’t even know there WERE contests like this!

    Thanks for being on this tour. I’m glad you enjoyed the book even though it isn’t something you’d usually have picked up.

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