Book Review: Moonwalking with Einstein by Josh Foer
Like most people I have had moments when I could remember specific details of events that happened years ago and others where I couldn’t remember where I left my wallet or friends birthdays. Somewhere along the lines the Moonwalking with Einstein title and cover made an impression on me and when it was time to choose a new book I decided to give it a read. I was instantly taken by Josh’s writing style. A great balance of factual and anecdotal stories - I actually felt like contents of the book came in conversation sitting in the basement of his parents house where he spent a year training for his eventual winning position as the US Memory Champion.
As the summaries of the book hinted, the book doesn’t reveal ways on how to improve your memory overnight but more realistically explains why we somethings come naturally to our memory, why others are so difficult and how certain tasks like memorizing an entire deck of cards at records speeds under 30 seconds doesn’t make someone a ‘genius’ but rather shows there dedication and creativity.
The book also reminded me of a little game I used to play. I would sit and close my eyes, clearing my head. Then I would actively imagine nothing, which would take the form of total darkness. Then I would imaging changing the nothingness, the darkness to light - to a massive white canvas. Then I would try and find the edges or shape of the canvas, if my brain where a computer this is the moment it would crash, a way for me to break the canvas that we translate from the physical world into our minds. The only limit of our mind’s canvas size are the ones we artificially put in place.
I spend most of my creative time in a day dream. Designing, placing, building in my head while walking, cooking, talking or any moment when distraction and inspiration hits. Steve Jobs mentioned in his biography that the people the that find themselves being creative aren’t any smarter than others but that they are making more connections from different experiences, materials or observations, that would otherwise be stored in different places in the mind.
Moonwalking with Einstein confirmed the notion that how and where we place ideas and concepts in our mind make all the difference when it comes time to recall them. The book was a good refresher on the power and mystery of one of the most complex parts of the human body, definitely recommended.