212 of 215 people found the following review helpful
Best Memory book to Date,
This review is from: Your Memory : How It Works and How to Improve It (Paperback)
There are many books about memory and memory improvement on the marketplace. Most of them tend to fall into one of two categories. Either a treatise on the brain, how memories are formed, the types of memories and the basics of recall or a treatise of memorization techniques that have been used over the centuries. The first type offers great information but very little useful advice for someone seeking to improve their memory. The second type offers lots of techniques that may work in one situation or another but don't give enough information on how they work to allow you to adapt them to your own personal needs.
This book offers a nice medium ground. It offers information on the various types of memories and current scientific research into memory and then follows up with several types of techniques to enable you to remember different things. The advantage to this book is that since it gives you both pieces information in a concise, integrated work it provides you with the framework to design and/or adjust the techniques to your personal needs.
The book does not offer any new mnemonic techniques or any groundbreaking work in that area. However, I found that by understanding how the techniques work and how to work with them I was able to adapt the systems and/or use multiple systems to quickly memorize material that had been problematic before.
The book covers basic systems from the common Loci system that is quick and easy to learn to the much more flexible and complex phonic system that requires much more study and practice to use effectively. While these are not new, a work that details the manner in which they work and encourages you to adapt the system to your needs is new. This is definitely one of the best single books that I have read on the subject and was immediately useful.
The only thing that I did not like about the book was the great multitude of references to other works, systems, and detailed applications of the system to various specific situations. The references are not a problem in themselves as they do not break up the flow of the book and are summarized at the end of the book in an easy to read fashion. The problem is that while they point out where information came from they do not point out where to get your hands on the information. This has not been a problem for me in the past as I have generally not really cared to follow up to the original source of footnotes and references. But this book was so well done that I found myself often wanting to follow up with the references and not able to locate them. For example, in Chapter 12 he mentions a book and a game that contain 1,200 Bible verses set out with mnemonic devices to help learn them and where they are located in the Bible. After a couple of examples to whet your appetite the only information in the reference material related to the footnote is where the book can be purchased. Not even a mention of the book's name if one should desire to purchase it. No mention of the game name nor where one might find it. Of course it may not be too difficult to locate if you had a name for the game or book or anything else other than just the publisher.