Beginner progression

I am sure this question has been often repeated in different forms. Like so many others, I was inspired to memory train after reading “Moonwalking with Einstein” a year ago. Since then, I have read (parts of) a couple more memory technique books. I think I know most of the techniques in theory, and I love practicing them too. I don’t really have any solid reason to memory-train: I am a PhD student in a Stem-field, and I don’t really need to remember stuff anymore (except shopping lists and such banal stuff). I would like to get better at memory-techniques cause I just like the challenge of it.

But I am lacking in a program that allows some kind of structured progression; for example, like you have “duolingo” to learn a new language, that guides you step-by-step. Or in learning piano, you have books where each page has a piece which is slightly tougher, or introduces a new technique etc. The books I studied on memory-techniques are more about introducing a technique followed by a couple of exercises.

Does anyone know of such a resource - could be an app/software. Or a book - focused on increasing complexity of exercises (rather than a lot of techniques with 1-2 exercises for each).

Dominic O’Brien’s book, How to Develop a Brilliant Memory Week by Week: 52 Proven Ways to Enhance Your Memory Skills, might be useful.

Our free ebook introduces the techniques in an order that makes sense for beginners, with links to further resources on each topic.

Here’s a syllabus for a free self-study memory course that shows you how to study the techniques for the first seven days.

There is some software here:

Memory League helps people train daily with incrementally more challenging tasks.


There isn’t much of that really… it’s more like riding a bike or learning how to swim.

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I see…thanks! I guess I will need to have more self-motivation towards it.

This helps a lot! I may start off on the self-study memory course.

I would’ve liked to get a taste for the software before paying for it - could you describe briefly how it works (if you’ve tried)?

Also, given that I don’t have any concrete reasons to memory train, what are some good goals to have? Is there a text that I should aim to memorize (just for the fun of it?!)? Or a few hundred digits of pi?

Do they make you teach at all or are you entirely research track? If you got any students you can use memory techniques for their names. If you have a lecture you give you can memorize its structure using mnemonics, too.

Just don’t know what the point is in memorizing digits of pi if you don’t really need it. Of course if the fact that you can put your name on the world ranking list is motivation enough for you:

Alternatively, you can try a deck of cards or a Rubik’s cube blindfolded or calculating the weekday for a date. That’s three options you could use as visual aids in case anybody ever wants to hear/see more details about those memory techniques (should the conversation ever go that way).

Thanks! I used to have to teach, but now I am mostly only involved with grading homeworks, tests etc.
I have gone back to another book (by Lorayne) to revise the techniques. But the problem again is I don’t see much point in reading several books, since they either repeat the basics, or use different techniques (like Major vs Dominic) and I don’t want to change my techniques.
I would be glad if someone developed a “duolingo”-style app for this (and I would be willing to contribute in any way, being a CS major).

Like I said, it’s like swimming or riding a bike… there is nothing more than the basics. You use the fact that your brain is good at moving through 3d space, so use a memory palace. It’s also good at pattern recognition, to a point where normal is boring and not memorable, so make your images interesting. Lastly form an association between the two.

Now, Major or Dominic or whatnot approach is only necessary if you want to memorize numbers. Consider the two examples of memorizing student names and a lecture… the basics are enough.

Of course that doesn’t mean that only because you know how to ride a bike, you’ll win the Tour de France tomorrow.

Well, what exactly do you want in there? I’ve written an app that teaches you how to calculate the weekday for a calendar date; but what exactly would a general memory technique Duolingo-style app look like?

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I see your point now - that there’re really a few basic techniques to master, and after that its just building up on that by yourself (by creating more/bigger memory palaces, and getting better at image creation, linking etc.)
The app looks cool - will try it sometime.