Book: Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting by Lisa Genova

I’ve just gotten a copy of Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting by Lisa Genova which came out earlier this week.

I’ve thumbed through it quickly and done some targeted searches of the text. From all appearances, it looks like she’s approaching the topic of memory from a neuroscientist’s perspective and talking about broad psychology and culture.

There are a few references to the method of loci and a tangential reference to the phonetic major system in chapter 5. She approaches these briefly with a mention of Joshua Foer’s Moonwalking with Einstein and his PAO system (without using the word Person-Action-Object), but dismisses all too quickly.

But you would have to do a lot of memorizing before you can actually use these techniques (and others like them) to remember the stuff you’re interested in remembering. If the thought of doing this kind of mental labor sounds exhausting, I’m right there with you. I don’t have the dedication or time. Unless you’re motivated to become an elite memory athlete or your life’s dream is to memorize 111,700 digits of pi, I suspect you don’t, either. Most of us will never want or need to memorize that kind or that amount of information. But many of us would like to be better at memorizing the ten things on our to-do list, our Wi-Fi password, or the six things we need at the grocery store.

Sadly she doesn’t bring up the much easier to use phonetic major system, but blows right by it.

I’ll try to delve into the rest of the text shortly, but I was really hoping for more on the mnemonics front. I mnemonists won’t get much out of it on the techniques front, but might find it useful for an overview of the neuroscience or psychology fronts from Herman Ebbinghaus onwards.

People are so ignorant about mnemonics. I understand that learning all those techniques may seem overwhelming. It makes sense, you don’t need mnemonics to become succesful, she herself is a neuroscientist without using mnemonics. But she didn’t have to be so incredibly ignorant about the applications of mnemonics.

I don’t use mnemonics either but my memory is far above gifted and if I was in Lisa Genova’s class when she was studying to become a neuroscientist, I would’ve blowed her and her classmates out of the water. And everyone on this forum would’ve done the exact same thing or even better.

Mnemonics can make you the expert among experts in almost any profession. It’s not just for remembering your Wi-Fi password. What a dumb thing to say, especially for a neuroscientist.

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Lisa graduated valedictorian, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Bates College with a BS degree in biopsychology, and in 1998 she received a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard University. She travels worldwide speaking about the neurological diseases she writes about and has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, Today, PBS NewsHour, CNN, and NPR. Her TED talk, What You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer’s, has been viewed over 2 million times.

Said

If the thought of doing this kind of mental labor sounds exhausting, I’m right there with you. I don’t have the dedication or time

I’m sorry but, if this is actually what she said then I have so many comments I would state here, all insults, all the way from this being self-explanatory for ‘why’ I don’t have authority bias to hoping the world will become ‘better’ one day. However, in respect for my belief in growth I will simply say that @albinoblanke has said all I need to :

Lisa Genova

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