Moonwalking With Einstein Summary – May 2022

Author: Joshua Foer

Short Summary
Moonwalking With Einstein (2011) by Joshua Foer will teach you to improve your memory and retention.  In this book, you will find perspectives from everyone, from the Greek philosophers to today’s athletes including Cicero and different amnesiacs, neuroscientists, and savants. Foer discards the myth that humans can only retain limited information. He thinks the more we exercise this ability, the bigger it becomes. Just like our muscles become stronger with more exercise our brain’s ability to retain information becomes better the more we learn.
moonwalking with einstein summary

Detailed Summary

Moonwalking with Einstein summary teaches you the art and science you need to know for remembering things. The book walks you through the journey of Joshua Foer. When he started his journey to retaining things he just wanted to learn and remember things better. However, soon he was able to set a new American record in speed cards and participate in memory competitions. It took him just one year to reach this level.

In Moonwalking with Einstein, he bursts the myth that the human mind is limited and thus can retain only limited information. Foer talks about how memory works, how it is portrayed negatively in western education, and how the art of retaining and memorization was popular in ancient times. We as humans are made up of memories of things, places, names, numbers, circumstances, and events. Without having memory and retention of these events we are actually nothing but flesh and blood. The author describes several techniques you can use like mnemonics, memory palace, and pictorial representations.

Moonwalking With Einstein Summary Key Points

At some point in your teenage, you realised you are bad at remembering all the names of the children of your next-door neighbor Tia, and that you couldn’t recall the phone number of your brother in case of any emergency or remember the directions to your distant friend’s house while driving. So you just thought to yourself “I am just bad at remembering stuff” and accepted it as a personality trait. Years have passed by and you haven’t done anything about this. I know what you are thinking. Wait, was there anything I could do about it? Yes, there were, and they still are and in this book, you will learn about the steps you can take to improve memory and retention from Josh who is a memory champ. Honestly, who is better than Josh who has been awarded the title of memory champ to mentor you about retaining information!

The Memory Palace

The Memory Palace is a learning technique that dates back almost 2500 years. Poets, Churchmen, Philosophers, and lawyers all have been using this technique for decades. This is about changing your memories into pictures. These images together can be stored in your palace. When you need to recall that specific memory you just need to visit the palace. Studies have shown that when many athletes learn new information, they take help from specific regions of the brain involved in visual memory and spatial navigation.

As humans, we have an incredible capacity to remember pictures and places. This is known as elaborative coding. The concept was prompted by an archaic Greek poet who remembered the names of all those people who died when a temple collapsed during a feast. He could clearly remember where everyone was sitting, this image in his brain helped him remember who was at the event and thus might be dead.

In memory palace, the focus is that you turn all that boring information into something bright that you will be able to remember for quite a long time. Give the information that goes into your brain someplace to stick!

Baker/Baker Paradox

Well, you can easily remember someone’s a baker or a dentist or a cook rather than remembering their name. Don’t you? This is because you associate it with the image of baking, teeth, food, or a kitchen. But when you try to remember the name of the baker let’s say which is Sam you will not be able to associate it with an image. This adds to the fact that we link memories with visuals more strongly. So use this to your own advantage! Try to remember people, events, and things by making connections with pictorial representations. Images, doodles anything!

Moonwalking With Einstein Quotes

“To the extent that experience is the sum of our memories and wisdom the sum of experience, having a better memory would mean knowing not only more about the world, but also more about myself.” –Joshua Foer

“Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it. You can exercise daily and eat healthily and live a long life while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next – and disappear.” –Joshua Foer

Moonwalking With Einstein Summary Review

Moonwalking with Einstein is a book that can transform your whole brain functioning into something even better than it already is! Although the author quotes scientific research and facts now and then the language does not get dry and preachy. The book shows you that memory is a skill that can be improved. It is not something set in stone. Totally intellectual but fun to read!

To Whom I Would Recommend Moonwalking With Einstein Summary

  • To the woman in her thirty-something who is always forgetting the directions while going for errands to the mart and the hospital.
  • The curious teenager who wants to do well on his SATs by improving his retention.
  • And to people with toddlers that are in their prime learning stage.