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US Memory Champ Joshua Foer: What Differentiates Amateurs and Top Achievers

Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, writes in the New York Times that even average memories are remarkably powerful if used properly.

…top achievers typically follow the same general pattern. They develop strategies for keeping out of the autonomous stage by doing three things: focusing on their technique, staying goal-oriented and getting immediate feedback on their performance. Amateur musicians, for example, tend to spend their practice time playing music, whereas pros tend to work through tedious exercises or focus on difficult parts of pieces. Similarly, the best ice skaters spend more of their practice time trying jumps that they land less often, while lesser skaters work more on jumps they’ve already mastered. In other words, regular practice simply isn’t enough.To improve, we have to be constantly pushing ourselves beyond where we think our limits lie and then pay attention to how and why we fail. That’s what I needed to do if I was going to improve my memory.

Here is Foer explaining his book:

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