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Product Details

  • Series: Hacks
  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (February 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596101538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596101534
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Mind Performance Hacks" is an entertaining and rewarding read for anyone interested in improving the way they use their brain. Many of the hacks are really a framework upon which to build your own systems... The techniques are inspiring and practical." Gavin Inglis, news@UK, June 2006

About the Author

Ron Hale-Evans is a writer and game designer who earns his daily sandwich with frequent gigs as a technical writer. He has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Yale, with a minor in philosophy. Thinking a lot about thinking led him to create the Mentat Wiki at http://www.ludism.org/mentat, which led to this book. His multifarious and nefarious other projects can be accessed from his home page, http://ron.ludism.org, including his award-winning board games, a list of his Short-Duration Personal Saviours, and his blog. His wife Marty is a better man than he is.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 29 customer reviews
If you are just curious on a few hacks to have better recall, this book is worth getting.
Plano Geek
This book is unusual, it groups useful techniques and tools for creative thinking into one short guide.
Stuart Gardner
Either way, you may find that something like this can help you dramatically improve your "remember-y".
Thomas Duff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

258 of 268 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is based on information that can be found at the Mentat Wiki and consists of 75 tips and methods for helping you organize your thought processes and exercise your brain so that you think more efficiently. Some of them are well-known brain exercises, and some are not so well known. I had seen most of the memory hacks before, with the exception of the one on the "tip of the tongue" effect. In the section on creativity, I enjoyed the hack on looking at your brain as a random number generator that needs seeding by doing such tasks as picking up a magazine that you wouldn't normally look at and then reading it. I also liked the hack on learning Morse code like an efficiency expert. Although the task itself is of dubious value, the process teaches the reader the value of mnemonics which is, as the author puts it, is like putting Windows on top of DOS. The final chapter, on overall mental fitness, is of particular use to us baby-boomers as it reminds us not to neglect the essentials of basic overall physical health since this has a powerful effect on the brain. I really enjoyed this little book, since it has so many ways to expand your brain power and creativity that can easily be incorporated into your daily life.

The table of contents is not shown by Amazon, so I list the table of contents/hacks here:

Chapter 1. Memory

1. Remember 10 Things to Bring

2. Use the Number-Shape System

3. Make Lots of Little Journeys

4. Stash Things in Nooks and Crannies

5. Use the Major System

6. Use the Dominic System

7. Visit the Hotel Dominic

8. Dominate Your Memory

9. Memorize Numbers with Carroll's Couplets

10. Tune In to Your Memory

11.
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89 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Gardner VINE VOICE on March 1, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tips and tools for overclocking your brain, for me, instantly brings to mind images of Dr. Frankinstein with a saw and a sharp knife. After the initial disappointment (?), the book highlights different techniques for improving memory, problem solving, mathematics and word skills.

Some (most) of the tips aren't that original mnemonics and linking object to memorable visual images aren't new. Some of the math skills are the sort of thing most people pick up in grade school. Also, the problem solving methods outlined are rather crude.

But; they are the kind of tips we may "know" but don't apply. Some (a few) of the tools / techniques were new to me and very valuable.

OK; after such a critical start why give the book five stars? This book is unusual, it groups useful techniques and tools for creative thinking into one short guide. Although the techniques outlined may be simple they are highly effective.

The writing style is informative without being patronizing. I read this book cover to cover in four sessions; it was as interesting to read as most fiction.

The author references source material very well and provides references for further exploration of the topics covered.

In answer to my original question, "who is this book for?", just about everyone should be able to take away something positive from this book. Good preparation for exams such as GMAT and SATs. Also, good tips for staying sharp into old age (have to wait and see whether they work or not).
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92 of 103 people found the following review helpful By LittleSystemGuy on July 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is a summary of techniques taken from the mentat wiki. While skimming a sample of hacks from each section, I discovered some less-than-scientific ideas. So, I went to the URL and tracked some of the links. I discovered that some of the links were legitimate links to peer-reviewed wikis, like Wikipedia. However, the contents of mentat do not appear to be peer-reviewed. For example, one link was to an interpretation of a research project which contained the researcher's comment that the site did not correctly interpret his research. Also, some links were to commercial web sites. So, the mentat content is simply a collection of individual opinions about different subjects. Therefore, as always, the hacks in this book should be evaluated with a critical mind. Some of the ideas are legitimate; some are simply extensions of long-held myths; some could be self-motivated trivia.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Plano Geek on September 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
Mind Performance Hacks is much more than a "hack" book. I didn't expect to read all of it since you normally only read

the "hacks" of particular importance to you at the moment.

I did read the entire book though because it was so fascinating and helpful.

The first chapter was somewhat of a disappointment since many of the memory hacks

only fit with a natural ability for visual or musical talent, which I don't have. And 1 or 2 of the

hacks were so complicated that you'd have to need to memorize a huge volume of material to make

it worth while to work hard at the hack to get good enough to find it useful. This is certainly not the

fault of the author since he was only letting you know about the hack.

But I loved chapter 2 on information processing, especially the map your mind hack. I've done mind maps

before but this book mind it more "how to" to really assimulate the information. It also had a hack for speedwords

that looks very useful which I hope to implement soon.

The Math chapter was also helpful if you need to develop more of a "feel" for numbers and get to an

approximate answer quickly.

The book has a nice format. Each hack starts with a brief overview. Then the In Action section explains

the details. Then the How It Works section explains how your brain is using the hack. The In Real Life

section gives an example of how the author used the hack. Finally, the hack ends with lots of external

references to web sites and other books.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a non-technical understanding of

how their brain works and how to get more out of it.
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