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Total Memory Makeover: Uncover Your Past, Take Charge of Your Future Hardcover – April 24, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"The author’s awe-inspiring memory skills, profiled in an episode of 60 Minutes, have eclipsed the fame she won for her portrayal of Elaine Nardo on the beloved TV sitcom Taxi. Despite realizing from an early age that she processed memory differently than other people, Henner didn’t know there was a name for her superlative powers of recollection until she began working with researchers at the University of California, Irvine. There, she learned that she is one of a very small number of people classified with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory. The average person can recall up to 11 events from each year of their life; Henner remembers—in precise detail—every day of her life since the age of 12. By sharing her ability, Henner writes, readers will be able to “use these lessons to transform your memory, your past, and ultimately, your future.” Blending anecdotes from her personal life and career with scientific data and exercises designed to trigger specific types of memories, the author guides readers on a tour through their past. Henner forgoes typical approaches like mnemonics, place pegs and memory palaces. One test stimulates the olfactory nerves to turn up sense memories; another asks readers to revisit their 21st birthdays to uncover the different ways they archive memories. As the text progresses, Henner skillfully demonstrates how memories can help readers process their past, direct their present and shape their future. Other useful chapters address how to effectively record events in a journal and the ways parents can help their children preserve memories. Henner’s enthusiasm is infectious."—Kirkus Reviews

"This is not a book that will, as many others do, teach you how to memorize the order of the cards in a deck, or long sequences of pi. It is not a book about improving one’s memorization skills, however helpful that might or might not be. Instead, this is a book about reclaiming what, in many cases, has been lost—the individual’s ability to recall the details of his or her own life. And as such, this is perhaps the most valuable book on memory to have been published to date.

This is therefore a book about revelations—the private, personal revelations that can come about when one is able to give context to a restructured and reinvigorated ability to recall.

Pretty heady stuff.

It is always most impressive, in this reader’s opinion, when in today’s culture of dependency on “experts,” an individual chooses instead to blaze their own path to health and healing. Ms. Henner is just such an individual, and as her impressive track record of books old and new attests she gets remarkable results."—New York Journal of Books

About the Author

Marilu Henner is a New York Times bestselling author and actor best known for her roles in Taxi and Evening Shade and for her participation in The Celebrity Apprentice. Her life-changing books include Total Memory Makeover, Wear Your Life Well, Marilu Henner’s Total Health Makeover, and Healthy Life Kitchen. She lives in Los Angeles.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145165121X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451651218
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #537,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Audio CD
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.
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