Ted Talk: Joshua Foer Feats of Memory Anyone Can Do

I reviewed the Classic Guide to Improving Your Memory in July last year, and while I had no doubt that the techniques in the book work I never got in the habit of using them and had all but forgotten about the it until a few days ago.

Then I chanced upon this Ted Talk by Joshua Foer who talks about the same thing and I read parts of the book again.

After that, I decided to start applying the techniques again, and for some reason, the things that I found hard to do last time were easier this time, and I’ve been using the techniques again for about a couple of weeks now.

There were two things that I did differently this time – the first one was to start with easy things.

I felt that one of the hardest things taught in the book was memorizing long numbers like 4685678901234512 and that’s where I started last time. This approach didn’t work in my favor because it was a bit discouraging to fail at remembering 16 digit numbers, and turned me away from other things as well.

This time I just started with simple numbers that I thought I’d need to remember like the level where I parked, or how many species of penguins are there in the world and other such smaller numbers.

The second big change I did was to go by the book. Last time I improvised on a few techniques and made tweaks that I thought would be easier for me to follow. But that didn’t work so well because there were shortcomings in my tweaks that weren’t apparent to me when I made them. This time I decided to go by the book and follow the techniques exactly as they had described them, and that worked better than last time.

Finally, I think watching the Ted Talk helped immensely because it is a live demonstration of how to use the technique and the story is told in a wonderful manner. The talk is 20 minutes long and I’m sure you will find that your 20 minutes were well invested.

4 thoughts on “Ted Talk: Joshua Foer Feats of Memory Anyone Can Do”

  1. Dear Manshu,
    Many thanks for sharing this talk. Enjoyed it a lot. Will read the book when i get some free time.

    — Bhaskar.

  2. This video bought back some really interesting memories back. Almost 10 years back i attended a training of this sort from my ex-employer. There was a guy from Tamilnadu giving the training. That time i probably wrongly assumed he was the inventor of those techniques.

    What scared me off from trying those techniques in real life, was the fact that we had to associate things with bizarre/funny things for remembering. I feared that it will distort the reality in my mind.
    Now i feel like giving it a second try since this is a age old technique.


    1. There is zero chance of that happening in my opinion and if you ask me, it’s kind of fun to think about ridiculous situations and images. Gives you a good chuckle when you think of it the next time.

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