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tzs · 2018-01-08 · Original thread
> Socrates felt the same way about books actually a lot of big thinkers in that era felt that writing and reading would lead to the degradation of the human memory.

They probably did lead to degradation of human memory--not in the underlying capabilities, of course, but in how well most people are able to use them.

There is some interesting discussion of this in Joshua Foer's book "Moonwalking with Einstein" [1]. Before books were widespread learning ways to use memory quickly and efficiently was important to scholars and others who worked with large amounts of information. Afterwards, it was good enough to just go with your raw, untrained memory, and the old memory techniques were almost forgotten.


tzs · 2017-07-26 · Original thread
I typically have several books in progress. I'll read a chapter from whichever one I'm in the mood for when I have some time for reading. Currently in progress:

"A Book of Abstract Algebra: Second Edition" by Charles C. Pinter [1].

"How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking" by Jordan Ellenberg [2].

"Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies" by Jared Diamond [3].

"Introduction to Analytic Number Theory" by Tom M. Apostol [4].

"Algorithmic Puzzles" by Levitin and Levitin [7].

I've also got a 46 books in my Safari Library queue, although only about half a dozen are actually in the in progress state.

In addition to the above, I'm about 3 years behind on Analog, the science fiction magazine. Those are all on my Kindle and I'm slowly trying to catch up.

Recently finished:

"Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything" by Joshua Foer [5].

Probably going to pick up soon:

"The Greatest Story Ever Told--So Far" by Lawrence M. Krauss [6]. Flipped through it at a bookstore and there were some very interesting things in it.








achow · 2017-03-19 · Original thread
There is a very interesting book on this topic - memory competitions - the book is about how ordinary people using an ancient Roman technique (Memory palace) becomes extraordinary memorizers. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

I could pickup the technique to help me in my day to day life. For very little investment in efforts it managed to drastically improve my life.

Context: I consider myself quite challenged when it comes to memorizing numbers.

The technique described in the book (and in this article) allowed me to remember details of a financial instrument which involves 32 numbers without any pattern. Whenever I have to use this instrument I have to input random 6 numbers out of those 32. Before I discovered this technique I had to pull out the hardcopy of the instrument every time for reference (it was painful - sometime it will be not in my possession, or it would be buried inside some cabinet etc.)

The technique that I use/adapted essentially is, I use mental map of a roadway which I’m intimately familiar with to place the 32 numbers on the various 32 landmark along the way (landmarks can be anything - a funny looking rock next to the road will also do. The key is one should be able to visualize it very clearly). So, whenever I need to retrieve numbers I mentally ’drive’ on the road and start checking out the landmarks. Example: I need to retrieve number corresponding to landmarks 5,9,15,20.. I start ‘driving’ reach landmark no. 5 and able to remember immediately this landmark is associated with number 29, then I move on and reach to next landmark, when I ‘reach’ that one I’m able to recollect that this landmark has number 89 associated with it, and so on…

Somewhere I read that it works so well because as a human species we have ability to remember geo spatial things much better than abstract things like numbers. I would guess that it has to do with our hunter-gatherer days when we were primarily dealing with spatial concepts; brain is hard wired to store those information much better than things like numbers.

Jtsummers · 2016-12-14 · Original thread
Mythical Man-Month, Fred Brooks [0]. Very informative series of essays on his experiences and lessons learned with IBM. If nothing else, helps to properly frame my expectations on projects with respect to resources needed to properly coordinate with others, and the pros and cons of adding people to projects at different stages (and in different roles).

Getting Things Done, David Allen [1]. Useful toolkit for getting things out of my head and onto paper (or org-mode or OmniFocus) so that I can properly focus and prioritize my time on the things I need to get done.

Communicating Sequential Processes, C.A.R. Hoare [2]. Strongly influenced the way I think about programs in general, but specifically in the embedded field where I work. (NB: I've not actually read or worked through the full text, but mainly taken what was needed to properly communicate ideas in my designs or to analyze designs and systems others have produced. This is a task for myself for early next year.)

Moonwalking with Einstein, Joshua Foer [3]. I've always had a good memory, I actually picked this up to give to a girlfriend who had a terrible memory and read it in a couple days before giving it to her (she was out of town when it arrived). Helped to explain methods that I'd somehow developed over the years, and gave me concepts and a better understanding of other methods of memory acquisition (for either short or long term purposes). If you really want to improve your memory, there are probably better resources to learn specific techniques, but this was an informative and entertaining overview. WRT work, we have to keep large systems in our minds all the time, and potentially dozens of different systems written in different languages. Memory is critical for this, even if it's just the memory of where to find the information and not the information itself.

Fluent Forever, Gabriel Wyner [4]. This one is my current read. Goes back to Moonwalking with Einstein. While the book is itself about language acquisition, it's actually given me quite a bit to think about with respect to general learning and memory acquisition (in this case, specifically for long term retention and recall). We have a couple training programs (we need more) for our new hires on development and testing. There are some concepts in here and in related readings that I think would greatly improve how we teach these folks what they need to know and in a way that would improve their retention of that information. We have a lot of people retiring in the next 1-3 years, so this is actually quite critical right now, though management is quite lackadaisical about it.








The Toyota Way, Jeffrey Liker [5]. I grokked Lean from this. Hardware focused, but the concepts can be (and have been) generalized to other process focused fields. This has helped with understanding what business processes really need to be codified, what feedback mechanisms need to be present for improvement, the criticality of bottom-up feedback and improvement (employee investment in the company/product cannot be overvalued if you want quality and good craftsmanship).

The Little Schemer, Friedman & Felleisen [6]. Going back to the comments on Fluent Forever. The structure of this is fantastic for conveying and helping students retain information. The Socratic method is very useful, and structuring courses and introductory material in this format is useful, this happened to be my introduction to it (well, I'd heard it before, but my first time really encountering it in practice). It's a useful tool for solo-study of a topic (pose your own questions and construct answers), and as a method of guiding someone to a conclusion or better understanding. Also useful in debugging software or decoding software you didn't write, after a fashion.



achow · 2015-05-19 · Original thread
That is more remembering things and not for 'quick thinking' per se - OP's goal. There is a very interesting book on the concept of 'Memory Palace' (on which '' is based on): Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
bryang · 2014-08-16 · Original thread
Memory is one of the most important aspects in intelligence. Personally, I have a lot of knowledge but low recall speed. With a little context, I have no problem though.

Anyways, improving your memory is a big first step in bettering your intelligence. I highly recommend the book "Walking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything."

tghw · 2013-08-15 · Original thread
I'm not sure it's possible to not use a mnemonic device. Our brains record information by association, which, by definition, is a mnemonic device.

I highly recommend reading Moonwalking with Einstein. It's about a journalist who got interested in memory competitions and, with a lot of practice, ended up winning the US memory championship. Anyone can do it.


roguelynn · 2012-12-04 · Original thread
Isn't that premise of Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer?

Either way - I do little tricks like that too. This is a very good suggestion.

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