According to journalist Joshua Foer in Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, our heavy reliance on written text and video recordings has cut into our ability to remember people, facts, events, and other information unaided. Not cluttering our brains with unessential memories has contributed to our technical and cultural advances and having static records gives us assurances of truth, but we may still be losing something.
Foer became fascinated by the subject of memory having reported on national memory games, competitions that bring together men and women who can quickly memorize the order of a pack of playing cards, strings of random numbers, grocery lists, poems to recite, and names with faces. Upon getting to know several of the champions, some of whom have written books on their techniques, Foer joined their racks and trained for the U. S. Memory Championship.
In Moonwalking with Einstein, Foer recounts his year of training, describes the experts with whom he studies, and reports on brain science. The book is an entertaining mixture of intellectual musings, sports reporting, and memoir with some memory tips thrown in. You, too, could become a memory champ.
Foer, Joshua. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. Penguin Press, 2011. 307p. ISBN 9781594202292.