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5 Books To Improve Your Memory

Joshua Foer, the 2006 US memory champion and author of the best-selling book “Moonwalking with Einstein” picks five books about the art of remembering:

The Art of Memory: Frances A. Yates traces the art of memory from its treatment by Greek orators, through its Gothic transformations in the Middle Ages, to the occult forms it took in the Renaissance, and finally to its use in the seventeenth century. This book, the first to relate the art of memory to the history of culture as a whole, was revolutionary when it first appeared and continues to mesmerize readers with its lucid and revelatory insights.

The Book of Memory: Mary Carruthers’s classic study of the training and uses of memory for a variety of purposes in European cultures during the Middle Ages has fundamentally changed the way scholars understand medieval culture.

Memory in Oral Traditions:Long studied by anthropologists, historians, and linguists, oral traditions have provided a wealth of fascinating insights into unique cultural customs that span the history of humankind. In this groundbreaking work, cognitive psychologist David C. Rubin offers for the first time an accessible, comprehensive examination of what such traditions can tell us about the complex inner workings of human memory. Focusing in particular on their three major forms of organization–theme, imagery, and sound pattern–Rubin proposes a model of recall, and uses it to uncover the mechanisms of memory that underlie genres such as counting-out rhymes, ballads, and epics.

Metaphors of Memory: What is memory? Without memory we lose our sense of identity, reasoning, even our ability to perform simple physical tasks. Yet it is elusive and difficult to define, and throughout the ages philosophers and psychologists have used metaphors as a way of understanding it. This fascinating book takes the reader on a guided tour of these metaphors of memory from ancient times to the present day, exploring the way metaphors often derived from the techniques and instruments developed to store information such as wax tablets, books, photography, computers and even the hologram.

The Mind of a Mnemonist: Luria’s essay is a model of lucid presentation and is an altogether convincing description of a man whose whole personality and fate was conditioned by an intellectual idiosyncrasy.


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