This is my guide on how to memorize a book(since everyone asks).
I will try to keep this as succinct as possible. Before reading, one should have read the getting started guide, and be familiar with memory palaces, linking, etc.
IMHO, there are five main ways to memorize a book. Way 1: Memorize just the title and author. Way 2: Memorize title, author and the table of contents/main plot points. Way 3: Memorize a couple main ideas and/or quotes from each chapter. Way 4: Memorize the main idea of each paragraph, along with some complete passages. Way 5: Memorize the book verbatim, that is, every single word.
You should choose with each book you read how much you want/need to memorize out of it. How much detail? Do you just need some quotes? Do you need some complete passages? Do you just want to know the main plot points? Or is it only the title and author?
In this guide, we will be going over Way 2, Way 3 and Way 5. You can extrapolate how to complete the other 2 from these.
We will be using the book “The Prince” by Niccolò Machiavelli from here.
Way 2For Way 2, we need approximately 14 loci, since there are 26 chapters in the book(we can memorize 2 per locus), and we need a locus or two for the title and author.
First, starting off with the title and author in the first and second loci. Title: What represents “The Prince” to you? Maybe it’s that guy from game of thrones? Maybe it’s just his crown. Or maybe, it’s represented by the chair on the right side of the kings throne. Whatever represents “The Prince” to you, use it and place it in the first locus. Either connected to the first image in locus 1, or just placed in locus 2, you will have whatever you can imagine “Niccolò” as. Maybe it’s someone you know named Nick or Nicola. Or it’s a knee drenched in cola. Either connect it to image 1, or place it in locus 2. Same thing with Machiavelli. I just imagine Tupac. Could be some politician who was described as Machiavellian. Could be macaroni with a veil over it. Whatever comes to you first usually works best.
Moving on to locus 3, and the first chapter. It’s called “HOW MANY KINDS OF PRINCIPALITIES THERE ARE”. It’s the same idea. Turn that into an image. For me, it’s a giant question mark with a bunch of disjointed states each with their own prince oscillating around it. Locus 3 still(Linked to the previous image): "CONCERNING HEREDITARY PRINCIPALITIES " King on his deathbed is giving his prince son a “state”(Like a literal piece of a map). Locus 4: "CONCERNING MIXED PRINCIPALITIES " Part of a state is black, part of it is white, and they’re gray in the middle, the gray is moving back and forth.
Then you do that for the other ~20 chapters. It really is that easy. The point isn’t to follow my images, it’s to think up of your own. I’m just giving you examples, ones that I literally came up with on the spot in half a second. First things to pop into my head. This way, (in novels and such) you will know the plot exactly, and the author and the book title. I recommend at the very least always to memorize just the author and book title, you seem to retain much more, plus you get to see just how many books you’ve read. End of Way 2.
Way 3Main Ideas and/or quotes from each chapter. This time, you will need some more loci. Let's say we want 3-4 ideas or quotes from each chapter. We will need ~50 loci. You can choose whether to memorize the chapter titles or not. For this particular book, it would make sense, since they explain very clearly what the chapter is about.
Look at chapter 5. It’s quite a short chapter, 3 paragraphs. We can take the main idea of each paragraph and turn it into an image. This is the same idea as when memorizing the title/chapters, but the images will be more complex as we want to capture as much of the idea as possible.
(You have to read chapter 5 first paragraph) There are 3 boxes in the first locus. The first box is broken in half and burning, the second is turned into a makeshift home, and the third has a smaller green box inside of it(friendly oligarchy). The third box is also made of gold, to signify that it’s the best choice. (Once again, this is my take, this is my example, if you think of something different, use that. )
Chapter 5 2nd paragraph(linked to the first image of 3 boxes): I imagine a man painted in the colors of america(land of the free(but home to the largest prison population)). Someone is trying to put chains on his hands. He succeeds for a couple seconds, and then americaman breaks the chains and kills that man(be creative :)). (If you’re confused, Machiavelli says that once the people of a land have been free, no matter how long ago, they will eventually rise up and destroy you)
Chapter 5 3rd paragraph(Linked or in new locus. I recommend 3 linked items per locus): In a dining hall(with a large table, a throne for the king, small crowd, booze, etc), someone comes up to the king and kills him. He takes his crown and sits on his throne. The people are slow to react, they don’t know what happened. After a couple seconds though, they start clapping and cheering for their new lord.
That’s it for Way 3. Main ideas become turned into complex images, and put into loci. This(or Way 4) is what I recommend people do for books that are really really good. You remember the main ideas in order, you remember what is in each chapter, what each chapter is, you know the plot, the author and the title. What more could you want? Oh right, you want to memorize every single word of the book… Well, that’s coming. Soon.
Way 5(To be continued..)