Joshua Foer

What makes things memorable is that they are meaningful, significant, colorful.Joshua Foer

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Growing up in the days when you still had to punch buttons to make a telephone call, I could recall the numbers of all my close friends and family. Today, I'm not sure if I know more than four phone numbers by heart. And that's probably more than most.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Family, Today, Heart

Over the last few millennia we've invented a series of technologies - from the alphabet to the scroll to the codex, the printing press, photography, the computer, the smartphone - that have made it progressively easier and easier for us to externalize our memories, for us to essentially outsource this fundamental human capacity.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Memories, Photography, Last

Since at least the Middle Ages, philosophers and philologists have dreamed of curing natural languages of their flaws by constructing entirely new idioms according to orderly, logical principles.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote New, Flaws, Middle

During the Middle Ages they understood that words accompanied by imagery are much more memorable. By making the margins of a book colorful and beautiful, illuminations help make the text unforgettable. It's unfortunate that we've lost the art of illumination.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Art, Beautiful, Words

One of the great challenges of our age, in which the tools of our productivity are also the tools of our leisure, is to figure out how to make more useful those moments of procrastination when we're idling in front of our computer screens.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Age, Great, Challenges

We've forgotten how to remember, and just as importantly, we've forgotten how to pay attention. So, instead of using your smartphone to jot down crucial notes, or Googling an elusive fact, use every opportunity to practice your memory skills. Memory is a muscle, to be exercised and improved.Joshua Foer

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Photographic memory is often confused with another bizarre - but real - perceptual phenomenon called eidetic memory, which occurs in between 2 and 15 percent of children and very rarely in adults. An eidetic image is essentially a vivid afterimage that lingers in the mind's eye for up to a few minutes before fading away.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Children, Mind, Memory

We often talk about people with great memories as though it were some sort of an innate gift, but that is not the case. Great memories are learned. At the most basic level, we remember when we pay attention. We remember when we are deeply engaged.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Memories, Great, People

Once I'd reached the point where I could squirrel away more than 30 digits a minute in memory palaces, I still only sporadically used the techniques to memorize the phone numbers of people I actually wanted to call. I found it was just too simple to punch them into my cell phone.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Simple, Memory, Cell Phone

If you want to live a memorable life, you have to be the kind of person who remembers to remember.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Life, Remember, Want

Many memory techniques involve creating unforgettable imagery, in your mind's eye. That's an act of imagination. Creating really weird imagery really quickly was the most fun part of my training to compete in the U.S. Memory Competition.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Training, Competition, Mind

We reserve the term 'genius' for people who are creative, who are innovators, who think in ways that are entirely new. In the Middle Ages, the term 'genius' was reserved for people with the best memories. That is telling.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Best, Memories, Creative

Memory training is not just for the sake of performing party tricks; it's about nurturing something profoundly and essentially human.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Training, Memory, Party

Once upon a time, this idea of having a trained, disciplined, cultivated memory was not nearly so alien as it would seem to us to be today.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Time, Today, Memory

As bad as we are at remembering names and phone numbers and word-for-word instructions from our colleagues, we have really exceptional visual and spatial memories.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Memories, Colleagues, Bad

The sport of competitive memorizing is driven by a kind of arms race where every year somebody comes up with a new way to remember more stuff more quickly, and then the rest of the field has to play catch-up.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Remember, Play, New

How much are we willing to lose from our already short lives by losing ourselves in our Blackberries, our iPhones, by not paying attention to the human being across from us who is talking with us, by being so lazy that we're not willing to process deeply?Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Short, Losing, Process

Sequencing - the careful striptease by which you reveal information to the reader - matters in an article, but it is absolutely essential to a book.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Book, Information, Matters

Back when I lived in Brooklyn, I'd sometimes take the Q train all the way out to Coney Island and back, and work on my laptop. There's something about pushy New Yorkers looking over your shoulder that really makes you produce sentences.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Work, Looking, Train

Woodworking requires a completely different kind of thinking and problem-solving ability than writing. With writing, you take a set of facts and ideas, and you reason your way forward to a story that pulls them together. With woodworking, you start with an end product in mind, and reason your way backward to the raw wood.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Together, Mind, Thinking

There is a short window at the beginning of one's professional life, when it is comparatively easy to take big risks. Make the most of that time, before circumstances make you risk averse.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Life, Time, Beginning

We're visual creatures. Probably, when we were hunter gatherers... that was the kind of thing that mattered. And remembering, say, phone numbers was, like, not that important when you're hunting down a mastodon or whatever.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Important, Numbers, Down

Languages are something of a mess. They evolve over centuries through an unplanned, democratic process that leaves them teeming with irregularities, quirks, and words like 'knight.'Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Words, Process, Something

No one who set out to design a form of communication would ever end up with anything like English, Mandarin, or any of the more than six thousand languages spoken today.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Communication, Today, Design

Invented languages have often been created in tandem with entire invented universes, and most conlangers come to their craft by way of fantasy and science fiction.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Science, Fantasy, Way

One trick, known as the journey method or 'memory palace,' is to conjure up a familiar space in the mind's eye, and then populate it with images of whatever it is you want to remember.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Journey, Mind, Space

The 'OK Plateau' is that place we all get to where we just stop getting better at something. Take typing, for example. You might type and type and type all day long, but once you reach a certain level, you just don't get appreciably faster. That's because it's become automatic. You've moved it to the back of your mind's filing cabinet.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Day, Mind, Long

We've outsourced our memories to digital devices, and the result is that we no longer trust our memories. We see every small forgotten thing as evidence that they're failing us.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Trust, Memories, Small

Part of being creative is not being super-duper focused.Joshua Foer

0 likes view quote Creative, Focused, Being
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