Harry Lorayne’s Peg System


Hello everyone!
I’m a new user to this forum and really have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to memorizing things but want to get into this and don’t want to limit myself.

One of my magician friends was cleaning out some of their stuff and gave me Harry Lorayne’s How to Develop Super Power Memory. This book seems to have methods on memorizing everything I would need to memorize to become successful in this field. However, I want to know if learning the methods in this book would limit me later. As a magician most interested in speed cards, I wouldn’t want to put in hours learning Lorayne’s peg system for memorizing cards just to find out that I can’t get fast with it.

So I ask, are Harry Lorayne’s methods outdated? Can I become competitively fast with the methods in this book? If yes, how fast? If not, is this book still worth reading?

I searched everywhere and although Lorayne was mentioned a few times, I haven’t seen these questions answered. I moderate another forum and know duplicate topics are very annoying, so if I overlooked something, please point me in that direction. Thank you!


(Simon Luisi) #2

The peg system has been all but replaced with the Journey system. The book is certainly entertaining but not really a serious memory athlete book, in my opinion.



Recently I started to restructure some of my journeys into pure Peg lists. At just the second attempt I got around 39 seconds in Memory League Images, which is roughly the same time I achieve with the according journey. Unfortunately I can’t say yet how it will work in the long run or for longer disciplines.

I think Pegs cut both ways. You don’t have to use mental ressources for spatial information, so you can focus more on making connections between the objects. Plus there isn’t that distracting blurry background that comes with real loci. On the other hand the three dimensional feeling is lost, so you can’t rely on the position of an object anymore.



Lorayne wrote for the general public, and not for memory competitors. Like him or not, this site and memory competitions would not exist without him…


(Josh Cohen) #5

I think a lot of competitors/MAs prefer memory journeys to peg systems, but I’ve had good results with using peg lists to memorize facts. I’m working on an experiment with pegs that I hope to write more about soon. I think it’s worth learning both systems (journeys and pegs), even if you only end up using one in the long run.



I have been using peg lists almost exclusively. But I don’t care about competitions, I just got a lot of stuff I would love to memorize. I believe Lorayne does not like Memory Palaces because the time spent trying to create and maintain your Palaces is just wasted time. He rather have you just memorizing stuff…



I don’t think the peg system is inferior to the journey system.


(Simon Luisi) #8

Sergio, if it isn’t inferior in your experience then that’s great. It is inferior for me, although I haven’t tried it in a while. Not being taught the journey method has really delayed me in my progress as a mnemonic. I’m glad to hear it really works for a few.



I don’t think is inferior because I think you can combine some methods for best results. You can install a peg system into a location for example.


(Simon Luisi) #10

What makes you think Harry Lorayne is this important in the field of memory? As far as I know, he didn’t invent anything, any method other than perhaps underlining the importance of being humoristic. We can consider him a highly successful promoter of memory techniques and he was a very skilled mnemonic. All this is great but you got to give credit to Tony Buzan and Raymond K. For starting memory competitions not Harry Lorayne. And I think Harry was definitely not the reason that made Josh start his website any more than Bruno of the Renaissance or the guy who invented the phonetic Key system.
Harry managed to show that you can talk and write and perform about memory and make a good living with it. That is pretty awesome and yet I don’t see how his contribution extends beyond that.