Posts Tagged book

Total recall

About a month ago, I picked up some random books from the Wee Book Inn.  I decided to take one, Total Recall, with me on my flight yesterday.  When the airline announced a likely 4 hour delay due to landing gear problems, I decided to give it a go.   I know what you are thinking: Total Recall, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, was based on a book?  Well, no, this book is actually about memory performance–the full title is “Total Recall: How to Boost your Memory Power.”   As I said, when I purchased this book, it was a random buy;  I am not too worried about my memory yet.  Anyhow, I got hooked on this book.

It starts out with the types of blocks that affect memory: emotional, mechanical, and physical.  In this first part, Joan Minninger gives several real examples of people that have trouble remembering.  These examples have the same impact as those in Dale Carengie’s seminal books, which is why I enjoyed reading it.  Take one the examples for an emotional block, where a woman cannot remember her recent vacation.  She wants to impress her friends, but the reason she cannot recall her vacation is because her friends are better talkers than she, and they don’t really want to listen to her stories (at least she feels this way).  There are plenty of interesting stories like this, and some of them include people with photographic memories and who experience synesthesia (like Daniel Tammet).

The book then has chapters on the kinds of memory, the three r’s (registration, retention, and retrievel), and theories of how the brain works.  Then the latter part of the book is about improving your memory.  Many of the things you probably already know about, like association, mnemonics, and taking the information in in different forms.  Some of these are specific to remembering faces/names, numbers, studying, repetition, etc.  The methods for remembering information from books and lectures were presented in a way that is similar to software design patterns.  The author presents several patterns of how reading material is often organized: problem pattern, opinion pattern, thesis pattern, information pattern, and instruction pattern.   Most of these are probably apparent, if you thought about it long enough, but having just read a software design pattern book, I was amused at the similarities of how these patterns were presented in her writing to the software patterns.

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