Saturday, June 9, 2012

Book Review: Moonwalking with Einstein:The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

✰✰✰ When science journalist Joshua Foer went to the 2005 U.S. Memory Championship as an observer, little did he know then that just a year later, he would find himself competing in the finals as a mental athlete. Moonwalking with Einstein is the story of Foer's journey to learn the art of memory in a world dependent on both the printed and electronic word. After all, why should we bother with the science of remembering when information about everything is at our fingertips? With just the click of a mouse, we can have the answers instantaneously.

Nevertheless, Foer makes the argument for the benefits of learning the science of remembering. This fascinating book blends the following together seamlessly: 1.) historical information, 2.) the science of memorization, 3.) anecdotes, and 4.) Foer's personal narrative as he sets out to compete in the U.S. memory championships. While the anecdotes were memorable, it was interesting reading about Foer's transformation from journalist to mental athlete. With a little bit of hard work, Foer proves that anyone can learn these techniques.

The Bottom Line: This is an easy read for anyone interested in the science of memory. The material is presented in a straightforward, easy-to-read fashion. While this is not a self-help book, Foer has included several techniques which can be learned by anyone to improve their ability to remember. However, these skills are not quick fixes; the techniques do take time to perfect. Recommended for those interested in memory and brain science. All in all, this book would make a great addition to college bound reading lists. 

On a side note, I read this book for my book club. Foer's use of a conversational writing style is easy to digest and discuss. Our group had an excellent discussion, but we couldn't help wonder what Foer's next project will be. For others interested in using this for a book club, you can find discussion questions at LitLovers and Bestsellers.

Details: Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer. Hardcover published by Penguin Group in 2011. 320 p. ISBN: 978-1-59420-229-2

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