Joshua Foer is a science writer who 'accidentally' won the U.S. Memory Championship.

Why you should listen

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.

What others say

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

Joshua Foer’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Joshua Foer


Playing memory games on this week’s TED Radio Hour

May 24, 2013

How do you keep memories? And how much can you trust those preservations? This week’s TED Radio Hour, “Memory Games,” looks at recollections versus actual experiences, sorts through our tendency to create false memories, and unpacks how we can actually enhance our ability to remember. Forensic psychologist Scott Fraser starts the hour. He is the […]

Continue reading

TED Weekends wonders: What’s the key to memory?

March 23, 2013

Joshua Foer thought he might have set out on a fool’s errand when he started training to compete in the U.S. Memory Championship. Only, he ended up winning it in 2006. In his talk from TED2012, Foer shares the simple trick of memory that helped him become a champion — creating a memory palace that […]

Continue reading

Remembering to remember: Joshua Foer at TED2012

March 2, 2012

Photo: James Duncan Davidson Joshua Foer challenges the audience to close their eyes, and then he tells a very strange story. In summary: “Imagine yourself standing outside the front door of your home. Notice the color of the door, the material it’s made out of. Now visualize a pack of overweight nudists on bicycles. They are […]

Continue reading