Joshua Foer – Moonwalking with Einstein Audiobooktext
As the title will not guide you much to understand what it is about, I give you the subtitle which will tell you a little more: “The art and science of remembering everything”. Joshua Foer – Moonwalking with Einstein Audiobook .
So there you have it, so it’s a book on memory, with an educational-scientific vocation, written by an American journalist.
Overall very interesting book, treated like an investigation or a “field” documentary in which we enter quickly and with great curiosity.
Joshua Foer explains how he got his sudden passion for our memorization skills, and especially how he came to win the American Championship from memory. He talks about him in the first person and tells his story in the form of flashbacks, punctuating his account with interviews, study results and personal anecdotes.
The introduction is fascinating because it makes us discover that an “art” of memory did exist, but that it fell into the limbo of our modern civilization.
We learn that this discipline was created in Roman antiquity, when writing was rudimentary, and lined post-it notes did not yet exist. The transmission of knowledge was done orally, and the speeches of the tribunes were learned by heart (the occasion perhaps to recall that according to his legend Homer was not a “writer”, but a bard, and that the Iliad and the Odyssey were not “books” but songs).
The art of memory is based on spatial memory, which man has excellent; you only have to think of a city or a place that you have been to several times to realize that you remember many details and can imagine yourself there very easily.
This ability allows us to make associations of images by mentally placing objects that we want to remember in a known space, and to mix it with striking images. After this exercise, by projecting yourself again in this same space, the images created will reappear, and with them the things you wanted to memorize.
Joshua Foer explains this well and gives a plethora of examples of this technique in Antiquity.
The first half of the book therefore deals with the history and evolution of these methods, interspersed with the results of scientific analyzes on our brain, and punctuated with case studies of people with amnesia or with phenomenal memory.
But the more the story goes on, the less interest lasts. The anecdotes ofmeetings Joshua Foer’s with his “mental coach” for his preparation for competition end up being boring and do not add much. When the author talks about him, the subject disappears, navel-gazing takes precedence and memory comes back to us: yes, it’s true, this book is written by an American journalist!
Admittedly I exaggerate a little, this dear Joshua Foer seemed sympathetic to me all the same, but I found the end of the reading laborious, the framework of the book was diluted and the story was no longer structured.
In the last part of the book we begin to understand that all these promising memorization techniques are ultimately quite futile. They are only used for a handful of illuminated people to remember 50,000 digits after the comma in pi, or to transcribe 10 decks of cards in order. Suffice to say that the detailed account of the mental preparation for such an emptiness, we don’t care a bit. To say that at the beginning of the book I already imagined myself learning a new foreign language by heart and no longer needing to take notes in my evening classes…! Nay, we close the book happy to have learned the history of this “art” of memory, but disappointed not to be able to use it. Joshua Foer – Moonwalking with Einstein Audiobook .
To conclude with a completely gratuitous culinary metaphor which arrives like a hair on the soup, it is a tempting book which unfortunately falls like a soufflé. You will tell me that we are hungry for more, and I will tell you that you take the words out of my mouth.