Ever since stumbling about Aaron Swartz and Ken Robinson, I started questioning the way I learn stuff, so I decided to read up on more efficient approaches to learning and remembering. After reading a couple of articles, I found out about the experiment, Joshua Foer had conducted. He was writing an article about the US Memory Championships and talked to some of the mental athletes there, who offered to show him some tricks, which can be used to improve his memory. After one year of training, he competed in the event himself and managed to win by using ancient mnemonic techniques, which found their way into some modern TV series like Sherlock.
In his book, he outlines how to create so called memory palaces and plant information there. The main idea is to create images for whatever information one wants to remember and store them in bigger mental images, which take the form of buildings or other familiar places. Through evolution, our brains have become extremely efficient at remembering locations, so by mentally placing ideas inside of thought up places or loci, it is easier to recall the wanted information.
Moonwalking with Einstein is quite a short, yet informative and entertaining read that outlines the main concepts that memory athletes have been using for centuries. Once I have more time, I’ll try some of the techniques and hopefully discuss the results in the future :).