The Memory Book: The Classic Guide to Improving Your Memory

Ch 3. Link System

  • In order to remember any new piece of information, it must be associated to something you already know or remember in some ridiculous way
    • Not logical or sensible
    • Ex: Want to memorize airplane, tree, envelope
    • Imagine a gigantic tree flying instead of an airplane, then millions of envelopes on a tree
    • Must picture these associations in your mind
  • Tips
    • Apply substitution, picture one item instead of the other
    • Out of proportion, picture gigantic objects
    • Exaggeration, picture millions of the item
    • Action, use verbs to bring the objects to life
  • Used for memorizing a list of items in a sequence
    • A speech, formula, numbers
  • To retain, go over the list during the next day, three days later, a week later, a month, etc.

Ch 4. Substitute Words

  • When you encounter a word or phrase that seems abstract or intangible, think of anything that sounds like or reminds you of that abstract term, that can be pictured in your mind
    • Alabama becomes album
    • Florida becomes flower
    • Georgia becomes George
    • Minnesota becomes mini soda
  • Can combine with the Link System, linking the substituted words together
    • An album’s songs causing flowers to grow
    • A gigantic flower named George
    • George sipping on a super tiny mini soda

Ch 5. Long Words, Errands, Shopping Lists

  • Long words
    • Use link system and substitute words
    • Antiphologistine becomes Auntie flog a stein
    • Periosteum becomes pear eat a steam
    • Picture your auntie flogging a stein (beer) as she eats a gigantic, steaming hot pear
  • Errands and Shopping Lists
    • Use link system
    • Need to pick up a lamp you ordered and your suit from dry cleaning
    • Imagine wearing millions of lamps instead of a suit

Ch 6. Speeches

  • A speech is a sequence of thoughts
    • Use link system to link keywords
    • Speech about a sharp drop in profits over the previous two years
    • Keywords: profit margin, walk in, new line
    • Imagine your Ma drinking gin, and being paid millions of dollars profit
    • Does so while walking into a store, where there are millions of new lines painted
  • Linking keywords can also be applied to reading material or lectures
    • Forces you to read/listen actively, with concentration
    • Identify keywords as you’re learning new material

Ch 7. Foreign and English Words

  • Instead of associating one state to another, you can associate each state to a capital
    • Capital of Maryland is Annapolis
    • Imagine a bride (marry) landing on an apple
  • An entity consists of two items: a name to a face, address to a company, price to an item, etc.
  • For the French word pere (father) you can picture a gigantic pear being your father
    • Jambon (ham), you jam a bone into a gigantic ham
    • Can also apply to phrases
  • Apply the same technique to new English words
    • Peduncle means flower stalk, imagine paying your uncle in flower stalks

Ch 8. Names and Faces

  • For names, apply the substitute word method
    • The name Antesiewicz (pronounced ante-sevage), imagine an anti-savage
    • Pukczva (pronounced puk-shiva), imagine a puck shivering
  • Must then associate substitute word with person’s face
    • Find an outstanding facial feature: hair, forehead, eyebrows, eyes, nose, cheek, etc.
    • Form a ridiculous association
    • Met Mr. Crane (imagine a construction crane), who has a large forehead, so imagine the crane fitting onto his forehead
  • If meeting a ton of people, feel free to write down the names for future review

Ch 9. Absentmindedness

  • Forgetting that you put your pencil on your ear while taking a call
    • Before picking up the phone, imagine the pencil going into your ear
  • Forgetting that you put your car keys in the kitchen
    • Before placing the keys in the kitchen, imagine cooking the keys in a pan

Ch 10. Long-Digit Numbers

  • Learn a simple phonetic alphabet, consisting of ten pairs of digits and sounds
    • 1: Sound made by t or d (t written with one downstroke)
    • 2: Sound made by n (two downstrokes)
    • 3: Sound made by m (three downstrokes)
    • 4: Sound made by r (four ends in ‘r’)
    • 5: Sound made by l (your left hand’s five fingers can be made into a L shape)
    • 6: Sound made by j, sh, ch, soft g [gentle] (digit six looks like a capital J)
    • 7: Sound made by k, c, hard g [glide] (can write a capital K with two sevens)
    • 8: Sound made by f, v, ph (a cursive written f looks like an eight)
    • 9: Sound made by p or b (number nine looks is the mirror image of a capital P)
    • 0: Sound made by z, s, soft c [century] (first letter in the word zero is ‘z’)
  • Rules
    • Vowels are disregarded in the phonetic alphabet
    • Silent letters are not used, knee would refer to 2 not 72
    • Interested in the sound, not the letter
    • Bomb refers to 93 not 939
    • Double letters not counted, patter refers to 914 not 9114
    • Bellow would be 95, b = 9 and l = 5, the ‘ow’ has no value
  • If you need to memorize 941140494275
    • Split into 941, 140, 494, 275
    • 941 = parrot, 140 = dress, 494, rubber, 275 = nickel
    • Imagine a parrot wearing a dress made out of rubber, bought for a nickel

Ch 11. The Peg

  • If you want to know what number an item is in your list, use a peg
    • 1: tie
    • 2: Noah
    • 3: Ma
    • 4: rye
    • 5: law
    • 6: shoe
    • 7: cow
    • 8: ivy
    • 9: bee
    • 10: toes
  • If you memorized items using the link method, to find the 8th item you’d start from the beginning
    • To instantly recall the 8th item, include ivy somewhere in the association
    • Need to know the number 8 is cracker, then imagine millions of crackers growing instead of ivy

Ch 16. The Alphabet and Picturing Letters

  • For remembering the positions of letters in the alphabet
  • Use the letter as the first in an adjective describing the peg
    • 1 refers to tie, so imagine an Awful Tie
    • 2 refers to Noah, so imagine Brave Noah
    • 3 refers to Ma, so imagine Cute Ma
  • Create Alphabet Words that sound like (not look like) the letter
    • A to ape
    • B to bean
    • C to sea
    • D to dean
    • E to eel
    • F to half
    • G to jeans

Ch 22. Music for Beginners

  • For a piano, the basic white notes are CDEFGAB
    • Use the Alphabet Words above
    • If you need to play ACE picture an ape swimming in the sea being chased by an eel

Ch 23. Reading

  • Physiologically impossible to read more than 800 words per minute
    • “Speed readers” often cannot remember what they read
    • Slow readers are horizontal regressors, once they reach the end of a sentence they didn’t understand what was at the beginning, their eyes go back horizontally
    • Fast readers are vertical regressors, they get to the 3rd or 4th paragraph and then forget what was in the 1st, their eyes go back vertically
  • The best way to read better, faster, and more effectively is at a normal rate, and remember as you read
    • Not how fast you can get through the material, but how much material can get through to you” – Mortimer J. Adler
  • To remember information you read use the link method
    • Identify facts/keywords and link them together
    • If reading about the rapid development of railroads in Zambia, you can remember a zombie walking fast along a railroad track
    • Continue to link the above image to whatever new keywords arise
  • This method will slow down the rate you can read technical material
    • But the benefit is you will only have to read the material once