Joshua Foer is a science writer who 'accidentally' won the U.S. Memory Championship.
In 2005 science writer Joshua Foer went to cover the U.S. Memory Championship. A year later he was back -- as contestant. A year of mental training with Europe's top memorizer turned into a book, Moonwalking with Einstein, which is both a chronicle of his immersion in the memory culture and wonderfully accessible and informative introduction to the science of memory. Much more surprisingly, that year of training also turned into a first-place victory at the national competition in New York and the chance to represent the U.S. at the World Memory Championship. Foer's writing has appeared in National Geographic, Slate, the New York Times, and other publications. He is the co-founder of the Atlas Obscura, an online guide to the world’s wonders and curiosities, and is also the co-founder of the design competition Sukkah City.
“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.”
“If you want to live a memorable life, you have to be the kind of person who remembers to remember.”
“Our lives are the sum of our memories. How much are we willing to lose from our already short lives by … not paying attention?”
“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.”
“When we first hear [a] word, we start putting these associational hooks into it that make it easier to fish it back out at some later date.”
“Over the last few millennia, we've invented a series of technologies … that have made it progressively easier and easier for us to externalize our memories, for us to outsource this fundamental human capacity.”