Moonwalking with Einstein Interview on NPR (March 2011)

Moonwalking with Einstein is getting a lot of press coverage.  Here is an interview with Joshua Foer on NPR:
Memory Champs? They’re Just Like The Rest Of Us

I’ve been seeing references to the book in many newspapers and magazines. I think the book has the potential to increase awareness of memory techniques in the US. As soon as memory techniques become popular, I think the US will be able to field a larger number of competitors who have a chance of winning international competitions.

Moonwalking with Einstein


  • This is a book I’ve obsessively wanted to read, along with Dean Karnazes’s new book (a disappointment so far) and Dominic O’Brien’s book coming in April (I hope it’s not a re-hash). The Amazon Kindle store shows it being available today. I will be reading it on my iPad (Kindle app) this this weekend!

  • I think the release date is today. I’m about halfway done. Detailed book review coming soon… 🙂

  • I’ve read it! Amazing book! 🙂 I’m going to get myself a black google and industrial ear muffs! 😉

  • I was thinking the same thing about the goggles. 🙂

    The book keeps getting better. Should be done tomorrow…

  • Well I’ve been reading it on my iPad Kindle app. It is very fascinating! Like most here I already know a lot of what he writes about. But to have it in a consistent narrative is great. I have jumped ahead at times out of curiosity. For me the best stuff is always the human personalities. Wow, Daniel Tammet doesn’t come across too well. Another disappointment was the dearth of material on Dominic O’Brien. I know already that I will be re-reading this book several more times. This is an excellent book and I am so glad someone as first-hand knowledgeable, smart, and good a writer as Foer wrote it.

  • Ideas from Foer’s book should be the starting point for developing effective and efficient educational methods. Experts chunk. They see patterns. I remembering learning this decades ago reading an article in Scientific American about Deep Blue, the super powerful prototype computer chess program (which later became Deep Thought and beat Kasparov). Since that time I always thought a better way to teach meteorology and hurricane/storm prediction would be to gather thousands of hours of elapsed-time radar images and have people sit through and watch them over and over again. Perhaps add superimposed vector diagrams with them (wind speeds and directions). Anyway, Foer’s book should be of interest to anyone in education and psychology and especially training of any kind.

  • Joshua Foer has a good, long article (Secrets of a Mind Gamer) in The New York Times a few weeks ago:

  • I thoroughly enjoyed the book, however I too was surprised by the part about Daniel Tammet. I’m not fully convinced that Daniel is a fraud, as Joshua suggests. If he were simply using mnemonic techniques, then how are we to deal with Daniel’s apparent ability to pick up Icelandic in a week? Mnemonic techniques don’t seem to be so useful here.

  • I don’t know the actual story with Daniel Tammet, but I think the world record for memorizing vocabulary is something like 3000 words in a day. If one were already familiar with a few case-based languages (e.g., German, Lithuanian, Finnish) and knew how to memorize vocabulary, it’s conceivable that one could answer a few basic questions in Icelandic after a week.

    I’m not saying that’s how it happened, but it doesn’t sound impossible for a very intelligent, trained mnemonist with a knowledge of several languages to perform the feat.

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