Sep 12, 2013
In 2006, Josh Foer became the U.S.A. Memory Champion and yet he insists his memory is totally average…and so do other memory champions like Ben Pridmore. In fact, as Foer recounts in his New York Times bestselling book Moonwalking with Einstein, memory champions are just like the rest of us. Sure they can memorize the sequence of a deck of 52 cards in under 20 seconds or vast strings of random numbers, but it's not because they have better memories. It's because they use their memories better.From a time before the internet, the printing press and even the written word, the world's greatest memory champions drew a series of techniques that build on the strengths of human memory to make almost unimaginable feats doable. Foer lays bare how the ancients memorized epic poems like the Odyssey, innumerable speeches and developed an intimate knowledge of religious texts. The book is a journey into the fascinating subculture of international but more than that it is an examination of the power of the right kind of practice and a meditation on the trade-offs of technology. The easier it is to look up information, the less we memorize. Our base of knowledge has gotten broader, but our relationship to each piece of knowledge may also have gotten shallower.In this week's podcast, Josh, Bryan and Hunter discuss Josh's book, his time with pygmies in the Congo and the truth about photographic memory.