Hey guys, I asked a question about memorizing while reading about a month ago on Ask a Memory Champion but I did not get much of a response, so I decided to make a post dedicated to this. I am a beginner at mnemonics and I know quite about the subject having read many posts on memory web sites, reading several books on mnemonics, watching videos, and studying cognitive science. However, as I peruse all of the info on mnemonics, there does not seem to be a lot on memorizing a book, retaining the contents quickly and effectively over an extended period of time. Now, mnemonics while reading incorporates numerous skills that mnemonics use like numbers, memory palace, link, speed reading, note taking, and more, so it is very difficult to place this under one specific category.
Most of the info I find on reading says that we should basically either mind map or use the same strategy for memorizing poetry (making an image for each part of the poem), basically assigning an image for each section of the book. There is no comprehensive guide on the internet on how to use mnemonics to memorize while reading that I could find. The closest one would be Anthony Metivier’s blog on how to memorize a textbook but it is very vague in my opinion because he says that he just uses the poetry method. However, this strategy does not work in dynamic books because not all passages are sequential or linear. Mind mapping characterizes the nature of books much better because books introduce topics and then elaborate on those topics rather than making a continuous sequence (although books do make a sequence from a holistic perspective) such as a string of numbers. However, mind mapping takes a long time and cannot be fully be done from natural memory.
What I would like to see is an actual guide laid out on how to memorize different types of writing (history, literature, philosophy, science, mathematics, etc.) with examples that are multiple pages long. I would also like to know how to combine mnemonics with speed reading. My idea is to read the information at normal speed just to make sure everything is comprehended. Then, maybe the text can be read again using speed reading (since you are familiar with the text after reading) while using mnemonics simultaneously. I find that it is very difficult to understand reading material while trying to memorize since it disrupts focus and working memory, but please let me know your thoughts on this! To be clear, when I talk about memorizing information from a book, I mean memorizing new information from a page, not word for word, but fact for fact. Of course, I do not think that mnemonics should be used for every piece of info (such as details of surroundings, minor actions from characters, or nonessential information) because natural memory is adequate for a lot of reading (like basic plot and setting) and it would be too much. I am also wondering how mnemonics can be made for facts without distorting the information too much so that information will not be confused with the mnemonics.
The most promising guide to reading material comes from Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas’ book “The Memory Book.” He gives what I thought was a phenomenal example of mnemonics while reading, although he uses the story and link instead of the memory palace to help the reader memorize every detail in a short article about the Tanzam railway in Zambia. Here are the facts presented in the article that is memorized with the link: 1.) The Tanzam railway is located in Zambia 2.) It runs from Zambia’s Copper Belt to the Port of Dar es Salaam 3.) It is being built very fast 4.) It runs for 1,162 miles, 5.) it is being built with a 402 million dollar loan from China 6.) It has 21 tunnels 7.) It has 200 bridges 8.) It will be completed 18 months ahead of time. Now, here is what Lorayne does to memorize these facts. He says that zombies (Zambia) are walking quickly (being built very quickly) along a railway and it is so hot that it tans im’ (Tanzam). The zombies are wearing copper belts (Zambia’s Copper Belt) and suddenly as they are walking along the railway, they exclaim that there is salami falling from the sky (Port of Dar es Salaam). Moreover, the zombies are dragging taut chains (1,162) along with them on the railway. Later on, the zombies each receive gigantic raisins (402 (or 402 million dollars)) from a gigantic Chinese man. Then, the zombies (which look like gigantic raisins) run through a tunnel as they throw nets (21 tunnels) around a bridge with noses on it (200 bridges). Then, above everything that it happening, a dove is flying overhead, indicating that the project will be completed 18 months ahead of time.
I know about you guys, but this method seems very clunky and that it would fade away eventually from memory. I do not know of any way in which this could be combined with the memory palace and that is what I am asking for input about. This example obviously cannot work for every piece of information because in this article, there were specific facts that were laid out easily so that the reader can construct a story. In other types of writing, the facts are concealed and embellished upon. There is often a hierarchy of information rather than facts just laid out as in this article. Perhaps multiple memory palaces or stories within stories would do the trick?