New Member: Andy, United States

Hi! I thought I’d follow the suggested questions for my intro post. Sorry it’s so long. XD

Tell us about yourself: who are you, what do you do, where are you from?

Professionally I’m a programmer, and I produce ebooks for a publisher. Apart from that I spend a lot of my time exploring all kinds of subjects, trying to figure out the world. Eventually I’d like to dig deeply into artificial intelligence and maybe try to work in that field. Or I might move in the direction of psychotherapy. My education is in religion.

I also play the piano and sometimes compose a little music.

How did you find about memory techniques? What did you like about them most?

I don’t remember how I found out memory techniques existed, but around college I picked up a book on them from the library and read enough to pick up at least the link system. I think it was Harry Lorayne’s How to Develop a Super Power Memory. But I didn’t put it into practice.

Then 10 years ago I was reminded of mnemonics by the book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and I found Kenneth Higbee’s Your Memory: How It Works and How to Improve It. I studied it pretty closely and came up with my own framework for understanding memory improvement. I wrote about it in an essay on my website. A few years later I read Mnemonology by James Worthen and R. Reed Hunt.

But still I didn’t follow up with much practice. Now I’m coming back to it, and this time I have so much to learn for my future plans that I’m hoping to take these methods seriously.

What I like about them is how well they seem to work. Who knew everyone had this hidden memory superpower?

To prepare for my current project of setting up my learning system, I’ve lurked on the forum and read these books:

  • Higbee’s Your Memory again
  • Memory Craft by Lynne Kelly, which I’d seen before but this forum reminded me of, and now it’s tied with Higbee for my favorite book on memory.
  • You Can Have an Amazing Memory by Dominic O’Brien, who I’d never heard of before this forum.
  • How We Learn by Benedict Carey
  • How We Learn by Stanislas Dehaene
  • Memory: How to Develop, Train, and Use It by William Walter Atkinson, who opposed mnemonic devices but had helpful advice on maximizing your natural memory.

What is your current best memory feat?

I haven’t attempted any memory feats yet, and I’m not really planning to become a memory athlete, but I’ll probably use Memory League for practice.

What’s currently your biggest challenge when it comes to getting the memory you want?

I’m slow at making new associations. My current solution to try is memorizing a bunch of stock associations I can draw on, similar to the systems people use for numbers.

What’s the big goal you want to achieve? What have you tried so far? What worked, what didn’t?

I mostly just want to learn faster, mostly complex conceptual material but also procedures. It’d also be great to be able to memorize realtime information on the fly, like the progress of a conversation or a board game. And I’d like to become decent at mental math, at least the areas of it that would be useful to me.

I haven’t tried much besides normal study methods, but in school I always procrastinated, so I didn’t even do those well. But I did somehow grasp that to remember things, I had to make each piece of information memorable and distinct in my mind, and I think that’s what made my cramming sessions work.

Why did you decide to become an Art of Memory member?

To discuss issues and ideas around memorizing. This forum seems to be the place to talk about this stuff online, and I don’t really know people in my daily life who would appreciate it quite like you all. Plus the people here are interesting and supportive.

I don’t know how long I’ll be active, as my interests shift around over time, but hopefully while I’m here I can contribute and we can help each other!