Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Report: Moonwalking With Einstein

I normally prefer fiction to non-fiction, but last summer when I was perusing the library for audiobooks to listen to on the way to Chicago, I saw a title that piqued my interest: "Moonwalking With Einstein" by Joshua Foer. I had to see what that was about, so I checked it out, popped it into my computer and ripped the audio into iTunes so I could listen to it on my phone on the way out of town. As I mentioned, I didn't get around to it on the trip, and just started listening to it at the beginning of January, six months later.


I found this book to be really fascinating. It's about the history of memory and the progression of how we went from a culture of memorizing and remembering everything, to one where we rely on books, calendars and lists to do our remembering for us. But the most fascinating parts for me were twofold — how a journalist with an average memory went on to train, and actually participate in, the U.S. Memory Championship, and how we can use the same strategies he used in order to memorize things.

Notice I didn't say "remember things." Because after the competition is over, Foer still finds that, like the rest of us, he has trouble remembering things like where he parked his car. Instead, the strategies are for helping you memorize things like your grocery list, complex lines of poetry, or entire decks of playing cards (because we all have use for that in our daily lives).

I know that sounds cynical of me, but seriously, it was a really good, interesting book even if it didn't have much practical application for me. The narrator had a good voice and kept a nice pace, and I never found myself growing bored. I'm giving it an A-.

Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? What are you reading?

Check out my Recently Read sidebar to see what else I've been reading!

9 comments

  1. I prefer fiction to non-fiction, but I have been reading a lot more non-fiction recently! I'm finishing one up on audio this week. I have a pretty good memory and don't usually rely on lists and apps for my day to day, like the grocery store, but it's always interesting to see how people can change habits. I'll definitely check it out!

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    1. I'm impressed. I live and die by my to-do list app.

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  2. This sounds really interesting. I had a really great memory before I had children, and now I think I'm forgetful because I have more to remember. I definitely use lists and a calendar to stay on top of things.

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  3. what a good recommendation- adding to my goodreads:)

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  4. I normally prefer fiction, unless it's something that sounds interesting (this qualifies, adding to my list :))

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  5. That book sounds really interesting. Although I also suck at remembering things!

    I finally just bought the Divergent series to start reading this weekend, because I'm in the mood for an easy read. Hopefully it's as good as I've heard.

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    1. Let me know how you like it! I haven't read it yet, but I'm not always a huge fan of YA fiction.

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  6. I tend toward nonfiction myself, and this looks right up my alley! I'm recently read Quiet, and currently in It's Not About the Broccoli about teaching kids healthy eating habits--only thrilling to a certain group for sure--and just started Words with Wings that just got the Coretta Scott King award.

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