Product Description: Your Memory : How It Works and How to Improve It
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775 of 784 people found the following review helpful
The complete memory book,
This review is from: Your Memory: How It Works & How to Improve It (Paperback)
Kenneth Higbee is very direct about his memory book. He writes that he fills in a very specific niche that isn’t being filled by current memory books. I think that he is right.
I have recently read 4 other memory books, Kevin Trudeau’s "Mega-Memory", Tony Buzan’s "Use Your Perfect Memory", Harry Lorayne’s "How to Develop a Superpower Memory" and Lorayne and Lucas’s "The Memory Book". I have read some of them previously, but intentionally read them over with the intent to compare them to each other and see if there was any difference.
If you are already sold on various memory techniques (pegging, loci etc…) and only want to learn the techniques, it really doesn’t matter which book you read, they all contain the same information about the actual techniques. All of them usually have a little history included as well about where the techniques come from and how they developed.
Higbee, however, goes one step further than all the other books. He is aiming this book at students (I’m sure this is a text book for his memory course), educators and intelligent readers. He gives answers to long time questions that are so often asked (what is a photographic memory? Do different systems interfere with each other?, will you forget what you remember? How good are the different techniques? etc…). Higbee answers all of these and more in a clear way with little ambiguity. He provides the latest research and references to medical and psychological journals on how the techniques work, results from various students in his classes and his own experiences. He looks directly at problems with the memory systems and addresses criticism from various sources.
The book left me impressed and addressed all of my questions and even questions that friends asked me after I’d read the book. I was able to answer all of their questions without problems. Also, I found that the extra chapter on study techniques changed how I read textbooks and technical information. In fact, I began reading the rest of his book in the same way that he suggested and found it worked very well for absorbing information.
To summarise, Higbee gives various memnonic techniques that are general enough to use every day, some suggestions on how to use them, references to books that give you even more suggestions and research evidence to back it up. Higbee also warns that these aren’t always worth your time. If you are looking for an easy way to get a photographic memory, look elswhere. Most of these techniques take time and effort and some can even hinder your memory if you try to use them and only put only a little time in.
This book is the kind that I recommend to friends and I think every student should probably read at least once. There are tools here that are life changing and worth your time to learn. A simply outstanding book.
202 of 205 people found the following review helpful
Best Memory book to Date,
This review is from: Your Memory : How It Works and How to Improve It (Paperback)
There are many books about memory and memory improvement on the marketplace. Most of them tend to fall into one of two categories. Either a treatise on the brain, how memories are formed, the types of memories and the basics of recall or a treatise of memorization techniques that have been used over the centuries. The first type offers great information but very little useful advice for someone seeking to improve their memory. The second type offers lots of techniques that may work in one situation or another but don’t give enough information on how they work to allow you to adapt them to your own personal needs.
This book offers a nice medium ground. It offers information on the various types of memories and current scientific research into memory and then follows up with several types of techniques to enable you to remember different things. The advantage to this book is that since it gives you both pieces information in a concise, integrated work it provides you with the framework to design and/or adjust the techniques to your personal needs.
The book does not offer any new mnemonic techniques or any groundbreaking work in that area. However, I found that by understanding how the techniques work and how to work with them I was able to adapt the systems and/or use multiple systems to quickly memorize material that had been problematic before.
The book covers basic systems from the common Loci system that is quick and easy to learn to the much more flexible and complex phonic system that requires much more study and practice to use effectively. While these are not new, a work that details the manner in which they work and encourages you to adapt the system to your needs is new. This is definitely one of the best single books that I have read on the subject and was immediately useful.
The only thing that I did not like about the book was the great multitude of references to other works, systems, and detailed applications of the system to various specific situations. The references are not a problem in themselves as they do not break up the flow of the book and are summarized at the end of the book in an easy to read fashion. The problem is that while they point out where information came from they do not point out where to get your hands on the information. This has not been a problem for me in the past as I have generally not really cared to follow up to the original source of footnotes and references. But this book was so well done that I found myself often wanting to follow up with the references and not able to locate them. For example, in Chapter 12 he mentions a book and a game that contain 1,200 Bible verses set out with mnemonic devices to help learn them and where they are located in the Bible. After a couple of examples to whet your appetite the only information in the reference material related to the footnote is where the book can be purchased. Not even a mention of the book’s name if one should desire to purchase it. No mention of the game name nor where one might find it. Of course it may not be too difficult to locate if you had a name for the game or book or anything else other than just the publisher.
283 of 303 people found the following review helpful
A Kid’s Review
This review is from: Your Memory : How It Works and How to Improve It (Paperback)
This review is written from the perspective of someone learning a lot of complex material who wants to retain the learned material for a very long time. The book does a poor job of helping with this goal, although it does address other goals (described below) fairly well.
The book starts with about 45 pages of general background on how memory works. The rest of the book is predominantly about mnemonics (124 of the remaining 172 pages). In particular, a great deal of time is spent on the Link, Story, Loci, Peg, and Phonetic systems. These systems are all very similar in both how they work and the type of information that one can learn. Essentially, they provide a framework for keeping track of an ordered list of items. Also, some can be adapted for remembering numbers. If you want to learn lists of words or some special numbers, then they will be useful. However, if you want to remember trigonometric identities or calculus, then they are not going to help much. (There was a mention in the book of Masachika Nakane, who applied mnemonics to trigonometry and calculus, but no information is given on how this was done.) The more abstract and/or procedural the material to be learned is, the less useful the mnemonics presented are.
Besides the limitations in the type of information that can be stored, most of the mnemonics are just temporary storage; if you want to memorize multiple lists and remember them at the same time, then these mnemonics are not going to be helpful. This is because the framework is recycled and this leads to interference between the lists. (There are some strategies presented to deal with this interference problem, but they don’t sound very effective and they will not scale past a few lists.)
Most applications of Link, Story, Loci, Peg, and Phonetic mentioned in the book are pretty pointless. For example, the author claims that people can shout out 20 words in a row and he can recite them forward or backward, odd or even, etc. (Of course, when he has to reuse his system for the next demonstration, he will probably forget them all.) Another example is the author’s claim that he learned the phone numbers of 100 people in one of his social groups. A third example is the woman who remembered her to-do list without notes. These feats may impress your friends, but the latter two can be done with a PDA; in fact, the first feat can also be done with the PDA if it has a voice recorder function.
In fairness to the book, I should mention some of the positives. It is probably one of the better in its class. It is well researched, written fairly well, and has extensive footnotes for further reading. It does describe how to use mnemonics to remember people’s names: an important application that many people can use. Some information is given about how to memorize foreign language vocabulary; while not a lot of detail is given for this application, the task is sufficiently similar to many of the tasks outlined in the book that one could benefit from the book.