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96 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Change your course
This book exceeded my expectations. Using Marilu's analogy of queing up scenes on a DVD I found that memories began filling in with surprising detail. Coinciding with using that analogy as a tool I was given an old photograph and soon found the details of that day, many decades gone, coming to the surface. One of those details was hurtful but rather than being...
Published on April 24, 2012 by Beth Guiliano

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97 of 105 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Exercises, Too Much Ego Filler
I'm 63 and have PTSD. I've been trying to accurately (key word) remember past trauma in order to deal with it appropriately. Marilu's book offers excellent exercises to bring back memories, often in vivid detail. But I probably could have worked with those exercises alone and gotten good results.

We all know who Marilu is and what she's done. We know who she...
Published on July 11, 2012 by Jabberwock


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96 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Change your course, April 24, 2012
This book exceeded my expectations. Using Marilu's analogy of queing up scenes on a DVD I found that memories began filling in with surprising detail. Coinciding with using that analogy as a tool I was given an old photograph and soon found the details of that day, many decades gone, coming to the surface. One of those details was hurtful but rather than being unpleasant it made me realize that other people's words had informed my opinion of myself going all the way back to childhood.

Remembering that day AS IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED helped me to hit a reset button !

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants the story of their own life to become more vivid. Using your past to take control of your future is a special gift.
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97 of 105 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Exercises, Too Much Ego Filler, July 11, 2012
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Jabberwock (Southern California) - See all my reviews
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I'm 63 and have PTSD. I've been trying to accurately (key word) remember past trauma in order to deal with it appropriately. Marilu's book offers excellent exercises to bring back memories, often in vivid detail. But I probably could have worked with those exercises alone and gotten good results.

We all know who Marilu is and what she's done. We know who she knows. We know she's "special." But come on! Did she have to pad out this book with page after page of how she has a circus freak memory, how she remembers (add more pages of some random memory of hers in detail), and how (fill in celebrity) applied to that? I bought what I thought was a self-help book and got a biography. Again.

I'm guessing you've already clicked the button that indicates you find this review useless, but if you happen to still be reading, one NOTE TO KINDLE USERS: The Kindle version of this book has that broken-page problem where the author tried to insert charts, etc., so if you plan to seriously get involved in the improved-memory process, you might want to buy a hard copy. Just an observation.
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103 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let me warn you about this book....., April 25, 2012
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After a lifetime of poor memory habits I've misplaced about one third of my life's happiness. What a monstrous waste of joy! So what if this was the book you read the first day of college? Or High school? Or Jr. High? OMG I wish I'd gotten this book so much younger! It's amazing how much it's changing the way I experience my world and I'm only on the third chapter.

I've bought thousands of dollars worth of books that I felt like I wasted my money on. This book is not one of those. This is one of those books, that if value were weight, it would be one of the heaviest books in the universe. I never knew how much I'd someday love and appreciate Marilu Henner and her amazing father. Let me warn you right up front, you too will love and appreciate them and wish like hell you'd gotten this book many years sooner. The saddest thing about this book is that I was 59 years old before I got it. The happiest thing about this book, I didn't have to wait till I was sixty! Oh, well, that and all the memories it's helping me access. Wow. What a life I've lived!! What characters!! (eyes watering up)
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best memory book ever written, April 29, 2012
I have been fascinated by Marilu's memory since I saw 60 Minutes. But I had no idea she would write such a thoughtful and well researched book! An easy book to read, it bursts with ideas about life and memory that is refreshing and fun, and provocative. Her description of APR, anticipation, preparation, and recollection; was a highlight of the book for me as it helped me to better understand how living with the right mind set is so important in building memories. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to retain the memories of their lives, and to recall them whenever they want. What a gift!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This would have probably worked better if I had read it, instead of listening, July 2, 2012
By 
Sheila A. Dechantal (Brainerd, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Marilu Henner has a gift that is known to only six other people in the world. She can recall every detail of her life, now just the big events like the day Kennedy was shot, 9-11, or a surprise birthday party... but also a random Thursday in August of 1980, or a Sunday morning any year since she has been five.

In Total Memory Makeover, Marilu shares the benefits to having such a memory, and shares exercises we can all do to strengthen our own memories.

Total Memory Makeover is exactly what is says it is. An audio book (or book) about Marilu's gift of total recall, and what we can do to strengthen our own skills. 7 hours and 58 minutes long, Marilu takes us through her growing up with this skill, and how it can be used to help us makes better choices in our present day. I found it interesting that Marilu explains that by remembering moments of great pain in our life (say, like a break up) it can help us see the red flags as we go into new relationships. And that works for good things too... by remembering how great it felt to fit into a smaller size of jeans 4 years ago can help us say no to bad food choices today.

While the audio was interesting, there are a lot of times throughout the reading that Marilu had tasks for the reader. We are asked to write down dates like our 21st birthday and remember everything we can about that event. For me personally, I am an active audio listener, meaning I cook or clean while listening to audio and I did not do the little tests that required hitting pause.

Overall this is an interesting read, Marilu did a wonderful job of narrating, and I think if you are really looking to work on your memory skills she has some wonderful tips for doing so and advice to get you started. There are times in the audio where Marilu tells personal stories that are interesting. It was not the best fit for me, but I can see where someone willing to work at this could find it useful.

Because this seems to be almost like a workbook in places, I think this is one of those instances where this would have been better for me in book format than audio.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Has a Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory and What Might She Tell Us, October 19, 2012
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Perhaps the first question is what is a Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM). There have been a variety of studies about people with superior memories. Perhaps the first was Luria's The Mind of a Mnemonist. This was about an individual with synesthesia wherein different senses interacted with each other, sound producing images for example. This ability to readily form images produced remarkable abilities. The man made a living demonstrating these abilities. Unfortunately this amazing ability to remember also had the downside of an inability to forget. Consequently his life wasn't as happy as it might have been. There are also books by people like Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas who discovered mnemonic techniques, like those covered in this blog, developed a great deal of proficiency with them, performed, wrote books, and taught classes about mnemonics.

The discovery of HSAM is very recent. This is not to say that HSAM has not been present in certain individuals for centuries, but the research community has been unaware of such individuals. I was unaware of these people until I viewed a piece on the TV Program Sixty Minutes. Dr. James McGaugh, a Research Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior and a Fellow in the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California-Irvine, became aware of and started studying these extraordinary people. To the best of my knowledge only about 34 such individuals have been identified and studied so far. The nature of this recall ability as shown on Sixty Minutes was the ability to recall what happened on a specific day in the past. So if you asked one of them what happened on 6 August 1999, they would be able to tell you what day of the week that was, and what they did. They might even be able to tell you what they wore and what they ate. If they had watched a sporting event, they could tell the score and the particulars of the event. Marilu Henner, who most of us know from the TV show Taxi and who has had a very successful acting career, was one of the people on the show. When I later learned that she had written a book, Total Memory Makeover, I was tempted to buy but was a little put off by the hype in the title. As I looked further into it I learned that Marilu had a self-improvement business. So my initial decision was not to purchase the book. As time passed, I realized that I could not pass up the opportunity to learn what someone who had such a remarkable memory had to offer. It was a good decision. Here's what Professor McGaugh wrote in the Foreword to the book. "This book is like no other book about memory, and the insights offered are unique. In these pages we learn from Marilu what it is like to have such a memory, why it is important to her, and why she thinks we can all benefit by taking steps to improve our own remembering. Readers will learn that Marilu is as well organized as she is thoughtful, insightful, enthusiastic, and, well, delightfully humorous. The advice she offers us may not turn all of us (or any of us)into HSAMers, but every reader will learn much about the importance of memory, as well as things we might do to help us maintain memories of our own personal experiences."

Brain scans of Marilu have shown that certain brain structures important to memory, such as the hippocampus, are larger than normal. But it is important not to confuse cause and effect here. London cab drivers have also found to have hippocampi larger than normal, but this has been attributed to them having to memorize the entire map of London. So it is likely that Marilu's larger than normal memory structures are the result of her use of them rather than having been born with them.

I found her home life significant. Her father emphasized anticipating an event, participating in the event, and then recollecting the event (her book is organized into three sections of anticipating, participating, and recollection). They liked to have parties and enjoyed the anticipation and the recollection of the parties, and not just the participation in the parties. As a small child she would not only pay attention to the day, date, and month, but would also remember what happened during the day. Then she would periodically review what happened during a past day, week, or month. I was gratified to learn this as I suspected this is what these HSAMers had been doing. Most often, I do not even know what day it is now and need to consult a calendar. So I pay little attention to when something is happening, and I do not systematically review what has happened during these dates. This is something that is entirely feasible, if one has the discipline. Recall actually increases as the time between recall attempts increases. So one might review what happened during the preceding week. Then not review it again until the next month. Then two months, four months, six months, one year, two years, four years. So systematic review is feasible and such review could result in becoming a blossoming HSAMer.

Marilu developed a variety of techniques throughout her life and shares them with you. She also discusses uses of technology and our fellow humans to enhance memory. This is termed transactive memory in the lingo of the healthymemory blog. She discusses memory games for friends, family, and for the development of the memories of children.

The book delivers what the title promises, a Total Memory Makeover. However, there is no requirement that the makeover be total. You can devote as much time as your interest and schedule permits. I think whatever time you devote to this effort will foster a healthy memory. Virtually everything offered in the book will foster a healthy memory.
[...]
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Total Memory Makeover, August 6, 2012
I've been fascinated with Marilu Henner and her extraordinary memory ever since I saw her discussing it on a talk show several years ago. She can remember exactly what happened to her on any given date going all the way back to her early childhood. Since then, her special ability has been studied and given a name - Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory or HSAM. Only a handful of people have been found who have this ability.

I was expecting that the self-help aspect of this book would focus on how to improve one's memory going forward. My memory is terrible and getting worse so I was hoping for some tips to fix that. However, this book focuses more on retrieving past memories and building a personal timeline. There were quite a few exercises that involved starting with an initial memory and unlocking more from there. This technique did not work for me because sometimes I didn't even have the initial memory required - maybe I'm just too far gone. I know there are people who have had success using Marilu's techniques but I am not one of them.

Marilu's book is not just a self-help book on memory. She includes quite a bit of biographical information and personal examples, which I appreciated. I liked learning how HSAM has affected her life and her relationships through the years.

I listened to the audio version of this book which is narrated by Marilu herself. She does a fantastic job, of course. I think she's one of the most cheerful people in show business and that definitely comes across in her narration of this book. Included with this audio book is a 45 page PDF file that has all the exercises and quizzes, which is good because there are a lot of them. It would be a real pain to have to stop the audio book and take notes but with the PDF that's unnecessary.

Even though this book didn't improve my memory, I still enjoyed listening to it. I think that her program could benefit others, it just wasn't right for me.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars nothing new, July 6, 2012
By 
ice (Murrysville, Pa United States) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book with hopes of being able to touch special memories of my husband who passed away. (Ones that I may have somehow forgotten). But, I got no help from this book. The author brags a lot and goes on and on about facts from her past which are irrelevant to the reader. Disappointing.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Power of HSAM, May 18, 2012
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Total Memory Makeover gave me a greater appreciation and sense of gratitude for my own gift of HSAM. I am one of the other people who was studied at UC Irvine, and classified with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory. Although I don't have to do some of the exercises, I liked the idea that all memories can be a gift. The ones that were happy can be recollected with joy, and ones that were challenges can be seen as opportunities for growth, not indictments.
Although Marilu put forth the idea that you can be your own therapist, I do not think she was trying to put all therapists out of business. There are implications here for therapy and coaching. I do agree that anyone who is healthy can develop a better memory. Using the techniques in Total Memory Makeover with your senses, learning style, and significant events in your life, a person can improve their memory skills and learn about themselves. Essentially, I view everything that we have as a gift. Marilu's book is an excellent guide to using and developing your memory as a gift to yourself.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helping to remember, May 31, 2012
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This book is very interesting. Marilu Henner has made the book fun to read. I am remembering things I have not thought about for a long time. I don't have much time to read, but I look forward to the time I do have. I am very pleased with the purchase of this book. I will share it with members of my family, so they can enjoy it too.
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Total Memory Makeover: Uncover Your Past, Take Charge of Your Future
Total Memory Makeover: Uncover Your Past, Take Charge of Your Future by Marilu Henner (Hardcover - April 24, 2012)
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