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  • Published: 30 May 2011
  • ISBN: 9780141952277
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

Moonwalking with Einstein

The Art and Science of Remembering Everything




With the right training, dogged determination and the competitive drive of physical athletes, Foer shows we can all achieve mastery of our memory

On average, people squander forty days annually trying to remember things they've forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of training, he found himself in the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship. He also discovered a truth we too often forget: In every way, we are the sum of our memories.

In Moonwalking with Einstein Foer draws on cutting-edge research, the cultural history of memory and the techniques of 'mental atheletes' to transform our understanding of human remembering. He learns the ancient methods used by Cicero and Medieval scholars. He meets amnesiacs, neuroscientists and savants - including a man who claims to have memorized more than nine thousand books. In doing so, he reveals the hidden impact of memory on our lives, and shows how we can all dramatically improve our memories.

At a time when electronic devices have all but rendered our individual memories obsolete, Foer's book is a quest to resurrect the gift we all possess, but that too often slips our minds.

  • Published: 30 May 2011
  • ISBN: 9780141952277
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the author

Joshua Foer

Joshua Foer studied evolutionary biology at Yale University and is now a freelance science journalist, writing for National Geographic and The New York Times among others. Researching an article on the US Memory Championships, Foer became intrigued by the potential of his own memory. After just one year of training, he won the following year's Championship.

Praise for Moonwalking with Einstein

In this marvellous book, Joshua Foer invents a new genre of non-fiction. This is a work of science journalism wrapped around an adventure story, a bildungsroman fused to a vivid investigation of human memory. If you want to understand how we remember, and how we can all learn to remember better, then read this book

Jonah Lehrer

A marvelous overview of one of the most essential aspects of what makes us human - our memory ... Witty and engaging

Dan Ariely

Captivating ... Engaging ... Mr. Foer writes in these pages with fresh enthusiasm. His narrative is smart and funny and, like the work of Dr. Oliver Sacks, it's informed by a humanism that enables its author to place the mysteries of the brain within a larger philosophical and cultural context.

Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

[An] endearingly geeky world...witty and revelatory...[The] journey certainly demonstrates how much memory matters...Apart from anything else, filling up our mental storehouses in the right way can make life feel longer.

Oliver Burkeman, Guardian

Riotous...[Foer] makes suspenseful an event [the World Memory Championships] animated mostly by the participants' "dramatic temple massaging". By book's end Foer can boast the ability to memorise the order of nine and one half decks of cards in an hour. Yet he still loses track of where he left his car keys, like the rest of us.

Alexandra Horowitz, New York Times

One year, Joshua Foer is covering the US Memory Championships as a freelance journalist, the next he returns as a competitor - and wins it...How he pulled off this extraordinary feat forms the spine of this crisply entertaining book.

Matt Rudd, Sunday Times

Combines erudite analysis, historical context, a mind-bending adventure and extremely suggestive sex - some of it involving Foer's grandmother.

Tony Allen-Mills, Sunday Times

A labyrinthine personal journey that explains how our author ended up in the finals of the US Memory Championship - a compelling story arc from sceptical journalist to dedicated participant. I can't remember when I last found a science book so intriguing.

David Profumo, Literary Review

[D]elightful...empathetic, thought-provoking and...memorable.

Elizabeth Pisani, Prospect

[A] charming book...interwoven with informed exposition about the psychological science of memory.

Professor Larry R Squire, Nature

A fascinating, engaging and very well-written book.

Dallas Campbell, Science Focus

Foer's book is great fun and hugely readable, not least because the author is a likeable sort of Everyman-science nerd whom we want to become a memory champion. Always fascinating and frequently mind-boggling, Moonwalking with Einstein is a book worth remembering.

Mark Turner, The Independent

In the most entertaining science book of the year, Foer describes how, though claiming to have an average memory, he became America's Memory Champion after just 12 months in training. The best way to recall an array of disparate objects is to place each object within some bizarre visual narrative. The more bizarre the better, hence the title of the book. Foer's personal story frames a history of memory from early hunters needing to find the way home to modern-day investigations (still very much in their infancy) of memory's neural workings

Sunday Times Science Books of the Year

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