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Book Review: Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer

Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer is an important book on the dynamics of memory. The author discusses how people commit vast sums of data to memory utilizing a variety of techniques which run the gamut from rote memorization to intuitive or emotional attachment.

For instance, Foer mentions how a poem may be memorized by using intuition or emotional transitions. Some people benefit from daily practice while others savor images to memorize text.

Foer discussed how Ben Pridmore could memorize a shuffled card deck in 32 seconds. Some people memorize by taking snippets of information while others draw a mental picture to take command of large reams of data or text. The author shows how up to 60% of material can be retained in 20 minutes while the same stuff is reduced to 25% retention after a month passes. This is the curve for forgetting.

Another popular technique is to map the memory to structures or objects. For instance, memorizing the words bear, truck and park can be structured
sequentially. Simply visualize a bear in a truck heading for the park.

Some professionals teach memory as a skill. Here, the emphasis is on learning how to learn which involves mastering the process.

William Penfield performed experiments of the temporal lobe which are described at length by Foer. These experiments were directed to long forgotten memories which were important to the subject. Penfield explained how stimulating the temporal lobe could tap into these memories even after the passage of time.

Moonwalking With Einstein is a wonderful book on the dynamics of memory, learning and recall. The author provides many different examples of how people utilize memory to the maximum extent possible through a variety of techniques which involve rote memorization, intuition, compartmentalization, association and other vehicles described at length in the book.

About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.