The Memory Book is a book on enhancing one’s long and short term memory through the aid of imaginative systems or methods. Basically, it is a book about mnemonics that seeks to completely stop the use of rote memorization and prevent forgetfulness. Written by popular memory specialists, Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas; the memory book is a complete arsenal of the special memory techniques used by both authors to retain information. The Memory Book is a medium-sized hardcover book with only 237 pages.
To start off, I would like to explain the base with which the Memory book is built on. Here is a summary of the simplest exercise in the book. You should try it out and see how well you do.
Assume you wanted to memorize these ten items, in sequence: airplane, tree, envelope, earring, bucket, sing, basketball, salami, star, and nose. First, create a mental picture of an airplane. To remember the next – that is tree, you have to create a mental picture that links a tree to an airplane. The rule is that the picture has to be crazy, impossible, illogical, and absurd. You can picture a gigantic tree flying and an airplane growing. Create yours and picture it for a few seconds.
Next, you have to create an association between tree and envelope and picture it. You can picture envelopes growing on a tree. Think of that. Next, form a ridiculous association with envelope and earring. See yourself wearing envelopes instead of earrings. Next, associate bucket with earring by forming a ridiculous association. Do so, till you get to the last and you would be able to remember all ten words front to back and back to front easily.
If you did that little exercise, you would have learnt the basis for this book. Using methods such as association, the link, substitute words, the peg system, and a few others, the authors created an array of systems that somehow keep your memory on lock-down and ensures that every absurd data that gets in, stays without the use of rote learning (cramming through repetition).
A combination of the various systems would train your memory to remember things like names, faces, the 50 states in the United States in alphabetical order, shopping lists, speeches, historical dates, musical notes, points on the map, and so on. One really cool system is the one that teaches you to remember random numbers like 91852719521639092112 by coining “A Beautiful Naked Blond Jumps Up and Down”.
The methods are that cool. Being that it is humanly impossible to think without creating mental pictures, these systems ensure mental alertness by creating pictures or links that are too ‘out-of-the-box’ for your mind to forget. They thereby allow you remember just about anything at all. Another important issue that was discussed, was that of absentmindedness.
The authors proffered that in order to avoid absentmindedness, you have to consciously create original awareness – as you cannot forget what you did not remember in the first place. The laws of association and out-of-place would help you here. So if you want to remember that you have something in the oven, you can leave an item in a completely out-of-place position. Anytime you see it, you would be forced to remember.
However, I honestly skipped a number of activities. Learning random names by picturing hundreds of illogical pictures is not just extremely time consuming, but also boring. The initial exercises were easier to practice but as the book tapers down, it comes with one too many complex exercises.
Imagine remembering the position of keys on the piano by first using say, three different methods (each with its own complexity), then visualizing irrelevant thoughts, and then linking them back to the beginning. At that rate, it would be much easier to write it all down and look at it when required. Even rote would seem like a better option.
The authors kept a whole lot of slightly technical memory games in it, that the reader would at some point, stop trying. It was however noted, that the book should not be read as a novel would. I believe The Memory Book conveniently takes the form of a manual, and should be used as a guide by people who are willing to increase the overall ability of their memory to learn and retain information. I would, thus, recommend it for those who have a lot of time on their hands to take this seriously.
You can get this book on Amazon.
The first big book I ever completed, was a memory book; after it, I read the 48 Laws of Power. The great thing about the memory book I read, was that it was so good, I forgot the title! So it was either the book did not do so well in trying to save my ‘weak’ memory or it simply did the opposite of it! Reading the memory book by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas, started off really good. Few exercises and a bit of logic. Then it started to get really technical – either that or I was just being lazy to learn over 100 random names by picturing weird gigantic objects, in weird positions. I feel some of the applications of the methods were great – I even practiced some random memory work and was proud of myself. However, driving up all the way to the other side of the earth in order to get to the next street, felt like a whole lot of unnecessary stress to me.
Regardless, if you can diligently learn the rules and applications of them; I honestly believe you would have not only sharpened your memory in infallible ways, but you would have also made yourself one heck of a genius.
I rate this book 4 out of 5. You can give it your own rating below.
About the Authors
Harry Lorayne is an American magician and a memory-training specialist and writer who was called “The Yoda of Memory Training” by Time magazine. He is well known for his mnemonic demonstrations and has appeared on numerous television shows including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. His book The Memory Book was a New York Times bestseller. His card magic, especially his innovations in card sleights, is widely emulated by amateur and professional magicians. (Source: wiki)
Jerry Ray Lucas is an American former basketball player and memory education expert. Famous first in basketball, he was a nationally-awarded high school player, national college star at Ohio State, and 1960 gold medal Olympian and international player before starring as a professional player in the National Basketball Association. After his basketball career ended in the mid-1970s, Lucas took to becoming a teacher and writer in the area of image-based memory education. His book written with Harry Lorayne, The Memory Book, was a national best-seller. Lucas has also conducted seminars demonstrating memory techniques, and has written 30 books and educational products and games for children. He is known today as Doctor Memory. (Source: wiki)