The Worlds Longest Rivers

Have a go at learning the following twenty rivers. Memorize their length by converting the information into complex images. Using the dominic system, break the numbers down into pairs of digits, ascribing a character and an action to each. D 1 A) running along the banks of the river. (Running is the action of Steve Ovett. 6 S 0 O.) If I want to remember more information, I just add the relevant images to < - my scene. To remind myself that the Nile is in Africa, I might introduce a bit of big...

Healthy Body Healthy Mind

A powerful memory is not all you need to become a chess champion. Kasparov is utterly dedicated to his profession, and trains mentally and physically every day. A typical morning might begin with a long cycle ride, followed by several lengths in a pool, before setding down to some work at the chessboard. He believes that if he stays physically fit, the quality and duration of his mental concentration is enhanced. Top-level matches are arduous affairs, requiring long periods of acute mental...

Artificial Memory

Much of what we know about Simonides and the classical art of memory comes from three Roman sources, all written between the first century BC and the first century AD an anonymous work entitled Ad Herrenium, Quintillian's Institutio Oratoria, and Cicero's De Oratore. (The three are discussed in Dame Frances Yates's absorbing book The Art of Memory, republished by Pimlico, 1992.) The Romans documented and expanded the practice pioneered by the Greeks. Written by a teacher, Ad Herrenium is...

How To Memorize Thirtyfive Decks

I was once given the task of memorizing the order of six separate packs of cards on a live TV show in Switzerland. Just before going on air, I mm made the fatal mistake of asking how many people would be watching. 'Oh, about 40 million,' said the producer nonchalantly, unaware of the terror he was instilling in me. T he programme was broadcast right across Europe. I was given my cue and duly stepped out onto the set and into the homes of 40 million Europeans. It really was quite a lot of...

Combining Journeys With Random Location

You can, of course, choose a random location to remember a date and then decide to store more information using a journey. For example, to remember that the battle of Waterloo took place in 1815, you might imagine Adolf Hitler (1 A 8 H) writing on a blackboard (1 A 5 E AE Albert Einstein) in the middle of Waterloo station (your location). Further facts about the battle could be placed along a journey out of Waterloo. Each station on the Exeter St David's line, for example, going out through...

Binary

It is one of the simplest ways of representing information because only two symbols, 0 and 1, are employed. Anything of a two-state, or dyadic, nature can be translated into binary on ofT, true false, open closed, black white, yes no, and even heads tails. Long binary numbers, however, are fiendishly difficult to remember. On the face of it, they would appear to present even more of a challenge than their base 10 cousins. Unless, of course, there is a way of...

Matteo Rjccj

Ricci was a sixteenth-century Italian Jesuit missionary who dedicated his life to converting the Chinese to Catholicism. Using principles that he attributed to Simonidcs, lie trained his mind to create vast memory palaces. Concepts, people, objects could all be stored in these mental buildings if they were translated into images and placed inside. Ever the ingenious missionary, he performed endless feats of memory, hoping that the Chinese would want to discover more about the religion of such a...

Memorizing The Pack

Before I start on a pack, regardless of whether I am going for a world record or just exercising my brain, I run through the journey in my head with three things in mind 1. I count each stage to make sure there are 52 in total. 2. I imagine each stage to be empty. There must be no sounds, no people Guildford, for example, becomes a ghost town. This will ensure that any previous characters or items you might have memorized are wiped out. You are erasing the video tape in anticipation of new...

Other Benefits

Time travel borders on self-hypnosis, but it comes with no health warnings and you won't need the click of someone's fingers to wake you. When I relax in my sauna of early childhood memories, I adopt the same frame of mind I had all those years ago carefree, innocent, untroubled. Only then do I realize how much my expectations and opinions have changed. Time travel has many other benefits. One common symptom of people who don't know how to use their memories is the failure to recall dreams. It...

Chess And The Memoriap

One of the events at the first World Memory Championships (Memoriad) in October 1991 was to memorize as many moves as possible from a game of chess. Moves had to be remembered in sequence. We were each given five minutes to study the game and no mistakes were permitted. The moves, were listed on a piece of paper and had to be remembered in sequence. I managed to recall the first 11 moves. In chess, one move includes the repositioning of a white piece and a black piece. In effect, I had...

How To Remember The Time Of An Appointment

The whole purpose of the mental diary is to improve your awareness of future engagements and plans. There is nothing to stop you from using it in conjunction with a written diary. The sight of a doctor standing by a well, for example, need only be a reminder of the day. You can always then check the time of your appointment in a diary. Having said that, the mental diary is well equipped to record the time of an appointment. Using the twenty-four-hour clock, you can translate times into people...

Strategy Not System

I play to a strategy not a system. Over the last few years, the face of the compulsive gambler has become an all too familiar sight. I see them with their own 'winning' systems, some of which work for a while, but they never make money in the long term. That is why casinos love them - they are a bread-and-butter source of income. The strategy player is the complete antithesis. I may lose occasionally, but the underlying trend is always upwards. The only chance...

How To Stori Extra Information

Sometimes there is more to the match than the final score reveals. In 1901, Spurs' 3-1 victory over Sheffield United was a replay, following a 2-2 draw. To memorize this extra detail, I imagine Charles Atlas (who is waiting for his supper, courtesy of Bob, my agent) beating on the goalposts crying, 'Order ' In 1910, Newcastle were finally victorious after being runners up for three out of the five previous years. The 1-0 victory was, in fact, a replay, following a 1-1 draw. This sort of...

The Pi Chalienoi

When I begin to memorize the first 50,000 decimal places to pi, I intend to have 50 separate journeys, each with 50 stages. Every stage will incorporate 5 people and 5 actions, linked by a story. In other words I will be allocating 20 digits to each stage. 50 x 50 x 20 50,000. I find this the optimum geographical design, facilitating the location of any digit. For example, to find the 33,429th decimal place, I would initially take an overhead view of the 33rd journey (around the County of...

Right Side Of The Brain

Among other things, this meant that the right-hand side of my brain, which is more concerned with spatial co-ordination and creativity, dominated the left-hand side, which is more concerned with articulating speech and comprehending language. It might explain why my passion for music, art and sport far outweighed any desire I ever had to learn Spanish or German. I am convinced that training my memory over the last five years has helped to develop the left-hand...

Room Allocation

Here is a list of the people who have gathered in the garden, and the years they represent. Needless to say, you should use your own characters - a mixture of personal acquaintances and celebrities. For the purposes of demonstration, however, I will use the people on the list in Chapter 4. Imagine each person in a different part of your garden. Make people interact, and incorporate the actions you gave them in the dominic system. Omar Sharif is playing backgammon with Ebeneezer Scrooge. Gerry...

The Dinner Party

The story most people know about Simonides relates to a banquet thrown by a nobleman called Scopas. Simonides chanted a poem in his honour and also included a few verses in praise of Castor and Pollux. When the poet had finished, the slightly jilted host told him that he would only be paid half his fee he should ask the gods Castor and Pollux for the remainder. Later on in the meal, a message arrived for Simonides, saying that two men wanted to sec him outside. The poet left his table and...

Vocabulary

During language classes at school, I was left with the impression that we were expected to learn new words as best we could. There was no instruction or set procedure telling us how to go about fixing these strange new sounds in our head or converting them into English. I was told, for instance, that the Spanish for food was alimento. How was I to remember this word, and that it was masculine The teacher's job didn't extend to the nitty-gritty business of learning how to learn. No one taught me...

The Ten Longest Rivers In The Uk

Numerical data of any kind can always be broken down into constituent parts and then converted into memorable images. If I want to remember that the River Thames is 215 miles long, I imagine Bryan Adams (2 B 1 A) at the Thames flood barrier, closing a huge iron curtain to stop the water from drowning London. (Using number-shapes, 5 curtain hook.) Try learning the nine other rivers. There is no limit to the information you can memorize if you use a little imagination.

Using A Journey To Remember Groups Of Countries

You are told to learn the capitals and population of all thirteen countries in South America. Unfortunately, you have very little knowledge of any of them, so ready-made key images are thin on the ground. Time is also short, and this is how you are presented with the information Faced with this sort of problem, you could do what you did with unfamiliar American states form your own key images based on word association and place them all in a mental warehouse. One place, however, is likely to...

My Love Of Carps

Cards are where it all started for me. Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated with games patience, poker, pelmanism, bridge. When I was h learning to count, I used to say 'eight, nine, ten, jack, queen, king'. And if I ever saw a card trick, I took great delight in solving it, whether it was a feat of mathematics or sleight of hand. My love of cards took a dramatic change of direction in 1987. In fact, my whole life changed direction. You certainly wouldn't be reading this book now if...

Forming Your Images

There are four basic pieces of information to memorize when you are learning the FA Cup the year, the winner, the runner up, and the score. The year is taken care of by the stage (1903 is at the third stage) the other three pieces of information can be translated into a single complex image, the sort you formed when learning how to memorize numbers in Chapter 4. The process is very simple Winner, I-oscr, Score Person, Action, Person. The choice of person and acuon for the winner and loser is...

Giulo Cam I

Camillo was one of the most-famous men in the sixteenth century. Largely forgotten now, he was known at the time as the 'divine Camillo'. His fame spread throughout Italy and France, thanks entirely to a creation of his known as a 'memory theatre.' Initially financed by the king of France, Camillo set about building a wooden model theatre, big enough for two people to enter. He claimed that it contained everything the human mind could conceive. We know that Camillo was a neo-platonist and...

How To Remember The Calendar Of Other Centuries

Once you have become fluent with the codes, there is nothing to stop you from memorizing other centuries. You just have to learn one more set of simple codes 1753-1799 4 1800-1899 2 2000-2099 6 What day was it on 24 November 1777 What day was it on 24 November 1777 Day code 24, cast out 7s, leaving 3 Month code November NOVice praying on Year code 77 GG Germaine Greer burning bras in kitchen Casting out 7s, you are left with 2. 24 November 1777 was a Monday. Casting out 7s, you are left with 2....

Memory And Job Interviews

Before I became a full-time Memory Man, I once applied for a job at an airport. Sensing that I had to pull something special out of the hat if I was h to get it, I decided to swot up on some background information. 1 memorized every piece of data I could find about the company, and I also learnt all I could about each airline that operated out of the airport. The interview went well. I tried to give the impression that I was genuinely interested in the overall environment. It must have paid off...

Journeys

There is no limit to the information that can be stored using journeys facts and figures about the company, including balance sheets and its history information relating to customers, branches, key employees data about the general sector or industry related share prices. But be careful Don't show off too much you may unnerve your interviewer if you suddenly reel off the company's entire annual accounts. The odd subtle throwaway line at the right moment is far more likely to leave the right...

The Breakthrough

As I sat in my room, my mind wandered back to a recent business trip. I had been obliged to stay in Khartoum for five weeks, doing nothing very much. Most of my time was spent at the Sudan Club, a place for British expats, and I could still visualize in detail the exact layout of the place. Searching for a way to remember the pack in front of me, I started to imagine the court cards - jacks, queens, kings - sunning themselves in deckchairs around the club pool, chatting to one another. I could...

Using Random Locations To Remember Dates

A journey is not always the best way to remember dates. Faced with a long sequence of events or people, you will be hard pressed to find a more efficient method. However, there are occasions when we want to memorize individual instances in time, one-offs. The best way to remember these is by using random locations, as opposed to the ordered sequence of a journey. Have a look at the following list of twenty useful dates 1431 Joan of Arc burnt at stake 1476 William Caxton begins printing in...

The Importance Of Actions

The passage from Ad Herrenium illustrates another similarity between our two systems. The emphasis on active images (imagines agentes) is identical I have always stressed that each person must have a unique and distinguishing action, and here Simonides is saying that the image must be doing something. There are only three examples of human images in Ad Herrenium. This is a pity, although I applaud the reason why the author didn't leave us with more. As I have stressed all along in this book,...

The Journey

The easiest way to teach you how to placc these people along a journey is if I show you how I do it. I have listed below the 52 stages of a favourite route of mine around the town of Guildford in Surrey. When I originally mapped out this particular journey, I imagined a bird's-eye view of the town and sketched out a rough route from one end to the other. I then pictured myself walking along the route in a logical direction, and wrote down all the familiar places I frequented which I thought...

Tricks You Caw Now Do

I mention this particular occasion to give you an example of the sort of tricks you can do, once you have learnt how to memorize a pack of cards in order. With a little concentration, you should be able to recite the cards backwards as well as forwards. You simply move along your journey in reverse order. More impressive, I think, is the ability to sing out any card you are asked for the 12th, the 39th, the 25th, and so on. This feat is easily achieved, providing you have reinforced certain...

The Method

When you are memorizing a large vocabulary, you need somewhere to store everything, a place where words can be accessed quickly and easily. There's nothing worse than having a head crammed full of information. It's not that there is too much (your brain can store far more information than most of us will ever need), it just isn't ordered properly or organized well. Choose a familiar town. The perfect way to store basic vocabulary is by using a detailed mental map of a town or village. Think of...

The Importance Of Trust

One of the secrets of remembering cards at speed is trust. You are bound to ask yourself how quickly you can move on to the next stage. But how do you know when a person has sunk in No light flashes, no bell rings. To be honest, you are never going to know for certain when something is secure in your memory you have just got to go on trust. The relationship between people and location is like two velcro patches. There are hundreds of little idiosyncrasies in each person (and their associated...

The Month Code

The second stage is to get a numerical code for the month. Here is a list of the numbers for each month They are not difficult to remember. I suggest you use the number-shape method as an aide-memoire. Exercise your imagination to create a relevant image. Listed below are a few suggestions No need for any visual mnemonics here. January is the first month of the year, hence 1. February reminds me of feBREYVERY. I can visualize an old Thames barge unloading kegs of beer at a smuggler's inn. Using...

Number Crunching

With training, many of us could walk from Land's End to John O'Groats, trek across the Antarctic, or even climb Everest. Very few of us, however, get mma around to achieving these goals we are quite happy to watch others, content in the knowledge that of course we could do it too, we just don't want to. The same could be said about memorizing large numbers. Not many people have the inclination to commit to memory the first 40,000 decimal places of pi, the current world record. The very notion...

Heaps I Win Tails You Lose

I once bet a friend of mine that I could memorize the result of any number of coin flips as fast as he could spin the coin. He accepted the bet, think-m ing that he was on to a winner. A separate referee recorded the results if it was tails, he wrote down 1, if it was heads, he wrote down 0. After ten minutes, the referee had painstakingly written down the results of 300 coin flips. My friend thought that 300 would be a more than adequate number to winjjHie bet. He was wrong. I was not only...

How To Use A Journey To Remember Pates

You are presented with the following list of twenty battles and wars and told to remember the whole lot in chronological order. 1455 Wars of the Roses begins ( ends 1487) 1642 English Civil War begins (ends 1645) 1899 Second Boer War begins (ends 1902) 1939 World War II begins (ends 1945) 1945 Bomb dropped on Hiroshima 1950 Korean War (ends 1953) 1956 Suez Crisis 1962 Cuban Crisis 1982 Falklands War 1991 Gulf War Choose a journey with twenty stages. Personally, I would base mine in Hastings, a...

The Role Of Memory

It is not very easy to adopt my strategy without a trained memory. On a simple level, your overall concentration and powers of observation are so much sharper if you have worked on improving your memory. They need to be I am often sitting at the table for five or six hours without a break. And in today's casinos, you are being scrutinized from every possible angle. I have quite often found myself playing with three security cameras trained on my table, a croupier watching my every move and an...

How To Remember Lists

A list of ten items, whatever they are, should not present a challenge to our memory, and yet it does. Take a simple shopping list, for example. Try m memorizing the following, without writing any of it down, within one minute. light bulb dog bowl Most people can remember somewhere between four and seven items. And there was I announcing in the introduction that you have an amazing memory. It wasn't an idle boast. By the end of this chapter, you should be able to remember any ten items...

Bigger Numbers

With practice, you may become more ambitious and want to attempt even longer numbers. There are two ways to do this. You can cither increase the number of stages on your journey, or expand the existing stages to accommodate a bigger complex image. If you have two persons and two actions at each stage, for example, you immediately double your storage capacity to 200 digits. Complex images of this sort are not difficult to form. In Chapter 4, you creat ed ten digit complex images to remember...

How To Remember The States Of America

Montgomery Juneau Phoenix Litde Rock Sacramento Denver Hartford Dover Washington Tallahassee Atlanta Honohulu Boise Springfield Indianapolis Des Moines Topeka Frankfort Before you go any further, open a map of the United States. Console yourself by checking the whereabouts of the few states and capitals you already know. You've got a rough idea, perhaps, that New York is on the east coast and that Florida is further south. Stay with the coastline and take a wander. Try to orientate yourself by...

Imagination

Practitioners of the classical art of memory must have had an extraordinarily vivid inner vision. Anyone who comments on the lighting of a particular locus along an imaginary route is assuming tremendous powers of imagery. Simonides himself was universally praised for his use of evocative imagery in his poetry, and he frequently compared his poems to paintings. Aristotle (fourth century BC), writing in De Anima, believed that the human soul never thought without first creating a mental picture....

Professor A C Aitkew

Aitken was a professor of mathematics at the University of Edinburgh. He was one of those people who could make lightning-fast, complex mathematical calculations in his head. Although he was first and foremost a mathematician, his unusual memory skills deserve a mention. He once memorized the first 1,000 digits of pi and said it was like 'learning a Bach fugue'. It would appear that he arranged the digits in rows of fifty, each row comprising ten groups of five numbers. He would then read...

The Jonathan Ross Show

I have had to remember some daft things in my time. I was once asked by Jonathan Ross to memorize the first word on every page of Jilly Cooper's novel Polo for his TV show. The paperback version consists of no less than 766 pages. I set about this unusual task by planning eight journeys, each with fifty stages. I would need 383 stages in total if I placed two words on each one. To make the words more memorable, I gave them symbols, usually people 'and' became 'Andrew', 'the' became 'Thea',...

Unorthodox Calls

There are times when knowledge of the true count can lead to some very unusual calls. For example, let's suppose that my first two cards add up to 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16. The dealer's card, which is always face up, is a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. I know that the true count is -6 in other words, there are a lot of low cards left in the shoe. It's not a good situation for me, and the dealer is likely to win. Most players would stick. Knowing that I am likely to be dealt a low card, however, I break with...

Giordano Bruno

Bruno started off in life as a Dominican friar, and ended up being burnt at the stake in 1600. (Such are the hazards of the job.) In between times, he was an Italian philosopher.Twentieth-century admirers of his work include James Joyce, who made occasional references to 'the Nolan', which baffled his friends. (Bruno was born in Nola.) Bruno joined the Dominican order when he was fifteen, and familiarized himself with the classical art of memory, through the works of Thomas Aquinas. He soon...

Conclusion

Ihopc that you have enjoyed reading this book and that you are already putting some of the methods into practice. Don't try doing too much in one go see it as a training programme. An athlete, after all, doesn't get fit overnight, and your brain is like a very sensitive and powerful muscle. A little bit of practice every day is much better than a burst of activity followed by frustration. Practice makes a perfect memory. Apart from the basic principle of using a mental journey, there is one...

Daily Routine

Spend a little time every day reflecting on the same area of your past until you feel you have exhausted every avenue of retrieval. It's possible you never will. Ever)' time you return to the scene, you will be starting with a clearer, more comprehensive picture. It's a bit like assembling a jigsaw puzzle each detail adds something to the overall image. Don't be surprised if you move the pieces around, making corrections in matters of detail. I have just had to alter the layout in my parent's...

Two Tips

There are, however, two techniques diat I use to give the impression of instantaneous recall. First, ask the person to repeat the data slowly. Second, start calculating the moment they impart the information. For instance, as soon as someone says 'The 30th ' I am immediately casting out the 7s (four of them) leaving me with 2 ' of September'. Again, I instantly think of SEPTic trunk, 6, add it to the 2 I already have, which makes 8, cast out 7, leaving me with 1. I am now already ahead of the...

Reviewing

Once you have completed shooting on location, it is time to put your feet up and play back the film. Judge the results for yourself you may need to do a little editing in places. If some scenes are too vague or confused, you may even have to call up the relevant actors and ask for a re-shoot. If you are confident that all the scenes are equally memorable and arc satisfied with the quality of the acting, you may decide you want to keep your home movie. (It is, after all, the first 100 digits of...

LAWS Of Association

Aristotle is often attributed with forming the laws of associadon. We remember something by recalling something else that is similar, closely related, or opposite to that which we want to remember. Clearly, this is the basis of every memory system ever invented, not just mine. If we can't remember the actual name, object, number, or topic, we recall something else (a place or image), which then triggers off our memory. Aristotle makes this point when he is discriminating between reminiscence...

The Day Code

You will have noticed that all the code numbers fall somewhere between 0 and 6. This is because we are working in base 7. We are, after all, trying to calculate days of the week. To establish the day code, take the date of the month, the 17th for example, cast out as many 7s as you can and see what you are left with. In this case, take 14 away from 17, leaving 3, which is the day code. If the date is less than 7, 3 for example, then 3 is your day code. Once you have learnt these three codes...

Leap Years

If a leap year is involved, you will sometimes have to make a slight alteration to the calculation. Leap years are divisible by 4 (1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, etc.) Let us suppose the date you are asked is in a leap year and falls between 1 January and 29 February. In this case (and no other), simply subtract 1 from your final total. If the date falls within a leap year, but is outside January or February, simply carry out the calculation as before. 1. Day code 14, cast out 7s, leaving 0 0 2. Month...

Popular Mnemonics

Amnemonic is something that assists memory. (Mnemosyne was the Greek goddess of memory, and mother of the nine muses.) The most common forms are acronyms and verses, although my journey system could also be described as a mnemonic. In this chapter, I list a selection of the most common (and printable) ones medical, historical, musical, mathematical, and legal. It should be said that mnemonics don't meet with universal approval as a teaching method academics dismiss them as exercises in idle...

Keeping It In The Family

You may find the thought of devoting so much time to a card game abhorrent, or at least a trifle excessive. I often wondered at the time what was really keeping me going. I think I now know, and it is quite uncanny. After I had carried out all these experiments, 1 came across a 1932 newspaper article about the game of bridge. In December of that year, the London Evening Standard published a series of five articles by Dr E. Gordon Reeve on the 'Reeveu' system for auction and contract bridge,...

Carpcounting

One of the first discoveries I made during my experiments was realizing that I would usually win if low cards had been removed from the deck. Conversely, if high cards (10s, court cards, and aces) had been removed, the bank won the majority of hands. By keeping a constant check or tally on which cards had been dealt, I was able to judge, at any stage during the game, whether or not the conditions were favourable. If they were good (lots of low cards removed), I would stake large bets if they...

Animating The Carps

You must first assign a person to every card between ace and 10 (court cards will come later). Cards are essentially numbers the easiest way to bring them to life is to translate them into pairs of letters, a technique you have already learnt. Use the DOMINIC SYSTEM to provide you with the first letter. Taking ace to be 1, you have the letter A 2 becomes B, 3 becomes C, and so on. The suit provides you with the second letter. All club cards, for example, are represented by a C. Diamonds are...

Places

The Greeks discovered that the best way to remember things was to impose order on them. They did this by choosing a scries of real places or loci which they could visualise in their mind. Images of what they wanted to recall would then be placed on the various loci. Writing in De Oratore, Cicero says, 'The order of the places will preserve the order of the things to be remembered.' The Greeks recommended using spacious and architecturally varied buildings. Quindllian suggests using buildings...

Planning The Whole Year

I said earlier that if you wanted to plan for more than two months ahead, you should rotate among three separate journeys. However, if you have only the odd event to remember throughout the rest of the year, stick with your two main journeys and use a third, short one, consisting of ten stages. I have just such a route, heading out north from my tower. If I need to remember an art exhibition on 27 August, for example, I would create an image at the first stage Bob Geldof swinging a plank of...

The Professionals

Any financial 'sting' requires an initial working capital. To date, most professional players get to know a machine by spending anything up to 250 playing them regularly and memorizing the answers. Simon, a player I met in Brighton (average earnings 400 a week, by no means full-time), wires himself up with a microphone before playing a new machine. Standing in front of it with a couple of friends, he says the answers out aloud and transcribes the tape later. (This tacdc isn't to be recommended...

THi Talking Briefcase

I once spent the day at Hamley's toy shop in Regent Street, London, answering Trivial Pursuit questions chosen by the general public. If I got one wrong, the questioner would win 50 if I got a second question wrong, they would win 100 and if, God forbid, I got three questions wrong, they would stand to win 5,000, in cash Questions were picked entirely at random and throughout the day there were queues of people desperate to try their luck and catch me out. At one point, I noticed a man who...

Rules For Places

Loci are compared in Ad Herrenium to wax tablets. They can be used again and again, even though the images inscribed on them are regularly wiped off. As befits someone from the twentieth century, I have always described my journeys as blank video tapes, which can be similarly wiped clean and used again. The Greeks had a number of interesting rules for loci. The following are taken from Ad Herrenium'. Loci should be deserted or solitary places. Crowds of people tend to weaken impressions and...

The Language

You are now in a position to give two-digit numbers a character by translating them into the new language. Take 20, for example. This translates into BO (2 B 0 0). Let the letters suggest a person to you, and use the first association that comes into your head. BO might suggest Bo Diddley or Little Bo Peep. Or take 27, for example. This translates into BG (2 B 7 G). Again, think of the first person who comes to mind. Barry Gibb, perhaps, a member of the BeeGees. The numbers are coming to life....

Revision

If you want to memorize Trivial Pursuit, the Annual Edition is a good place to start. It has 1,500 questions. As I said earlier, you should aim to memorize them at a rate of three a minute. You may find it takes you considerably longer to begin with, but the process will speed up. In order for the information to be stored on a long term-basis, you must revise regularly. Find your own level of retention. You might need to look at the cards again within minutes, or after twenty-four hours....

Images

The Greeks had two types of images one for memorizing things, arguments, or notions and one for remembering single words. Each image would be placed at a different locus. As he was reciting his poetry, Simonides would have moved around his mental journey, recalling each image as he went. Lawyers would remind themselves of the details of a case in this way orators would know their next subject or topic. (Interestingly, the English word 'topic' comes from the Greek topoi, which means place or...

More Thaw Owe Loop

Pubs will swop their machines around after a while and you will have to decide whether to work a new patch or buy a new machine. There is a chance that you will be able to sell your old one back to the dealer or part exchange it. Don't bank on this Even though there is a demand for SW'PS, dealers won't necessarily take them back, and they certainly won't offer you the full price. Before you buy your first machine, it's sometimes worth asking the dealer whether they will buy it back from you in...

Sounds Similar

The ram's testicles arc a more unusual aspect of the image. Frances Yates, in her discussion on the subject, suggests that the Latin word for testicle (testicu-lus) would have reminded the lawyer of the word for witnesses (testes). In another part of Ad Herrenium, she points out, the author gives an example of an image ('Domitius raising his hands to heaven while he is lashed by the Marcii Reges') that is designed to remind the student of rhetoric of a particular sentence ('domum itionem...

Court Carps

There is no need to translate the court cards into letters, as they are already people. Once again, let them trigger off associations with people you know, or with public figures. I have listed below some suggestions to help you, but come up with your own as well. Personally, I associate clubs with aggression, diamonds with wealth, spades with brunettes, and hearts with sex symbols. Jack of clubs Queen of clubs King of clubs Jack of diamonds Queen of diamonds King of diamonds Jack of spades...

Skill With Prizes

Quiz machines are known in the trade as SWTS, which stands for 'Skill with Prizes'. Fruit machines are known as AVVPS, 'Amusement with Prizes'. Under the current gaming laws, you are allowed to win a maximum of 6 in tokens ( 4.80 cash) on an AWP. On an SWP, you can win up to 20 in cash, hence their attraction for professional players. 1 have looked into the grey area of 'winning systems' for fruit machines. As far as I can tell, the only advantage to be had is knowing when a machine has...

Tony Buzan

Tony Buzan is one of the leading world authorities on brain power. He lectures all around the world, advising royalty, governments, multi-nationals such as BP, Digital Equipment Corporation, General Motors and Rank Xerox, and universities. His most important contribution to date has been 'Mindmapping1, a very successful method of ordering information in a visual way. A subject is broken down into its component parts and displayed on a page in different colours, allowing you to see and make new...

Memory And Greeks

During the course of writing this book, I took the opportunity to read up on the history of memory. It came as something of a shock to discover that there were a number of striking similarities between my method and the Greeks' approach to memory. I had heard of Simonides of Ceos, the Greek poet born in the 6th century BC, but I had never studied his famous memory skills in detail. A brilliant poet, Simonides is widely acknowledged as the founder of the art of memory. The Greeks, and later the...

Concepts Of Time

What's going on in our minds when we think of historical dates How do we know immediately, for example, that the year 1947 is later in dme than 1923 I am certain that it's not just because we've learnt to count. Time is an abstract nouon, and in order to perceive it, we try to give it some form of spatial representation. How do you 'see' years I have asked people this question many times. Initial replies range from 'I don't quite get your drift' to 'How can you possibly see a year ' After...

How To Remember Populations

It's very easy to add farther information to your images of countries and capitals. For example, if you want to remember that the population of Venezuela is 20 million, you just have to convert 20 into a person and incorporate them into your image. Using the Dominic system, 20 turns into Bill Oddie (2 B 0 O). I imagine Bill Oddie pulling a cracker with a deer. Unless the populations are very small, always expect your number image to refer to millions. To remember that the population of the...

55

A rather tasteless porcelain swan ornament sits on the dresser (that's why it is in the spare room). I always keep these handy at the top of the stairs in case I have to arrest an unwelcome intruder. The seascape oil painting above the fireplace depicts a sailing boat. Why are the curtains drawn in the kitchen An elephant's trunk acts as a shower attachment (another tasteless feature, I am afraid.) The next stage is to work out where each person has been allocated. This will give you the...

In A Name

What's in a name That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.' Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare Shakespeare might have been right about roses, but we all know how embarrassing it can be to forget someone's name. People are flattered when you remember it, but insulted when you don't. You might as well tell them, 'You have made no impression on me at all. You don't exist in my world. You are completely forgettable.' I speak from painful experience. For the first thirty...

Back To Skooli

When I was at school, I just about managed to scrape through with passes in O level French and Spanish. I can't help feeling slightly resentful today h about the way I was taught. The ability and good intention of my teachers is not in doubt, but I bitterly regret the methods they used. If only I had learnt how to train my memory when I was tiiirteen rather than thirty I am convinced that I would have sailed through all my exams with top grades, using the principles that you are about to...

The Importance Of Practice

Test yourself to see if you know all the people. There is no point going on to the next stage, the journey, unless you can name the person for each and every card. Deal yourself a pack ideally, you should be able to call out the name quickly, but this takes a bit of practice. To begin with, try to spend not more than ten seconds per card. Some names will always come easily, others will prove more difficult. Make a note of the ones that aren't sticking and try changing the person. And remember,...

How Memory Can Improve Your Chess Game

When he was asked what single overriding quality was required to become World Chess Champion, Gary Kasparov replied 'a powerful memory'. In 1985, he defeated Anatoly Karpov to become the youngest-ever world champion. He was barely twenty-two years old. Since then, Kasparov has been universally hailed as the greatest chess player who has ever lived. A powerful memory can help players of all standards to improve their game. Beginners can learn simple opening moves and gambits, and club players...

Aloibraic Notation

No one knows for certain who invented the game of chess. Sir William Jones, writing in his eighteenth century essay 'On The Indian Game of Chess', suggested that it evolved in Hindustan. Known as 'Chaturanga1, it consisted of elephants, horses, chariots, and footsoldiers. Chaturanga reached the Arab lands in sixth century ad (where it became known as Chatrang) and was taken up in the west a century later. One thing we can be sure of is that the Arabs, in the ninth century ad, devised the now...

The Year Code

The setting for your party should consist of six rooms and your garden. Each area must be distinct and have familiar associations furniture, pictures, windows. It doesn't have to be your own house. You might prefer to chose your place of work, a health club, a school, your parents' home. It is important, however, that you use the location solely for calculating the twentieth-century calendar. Allocate to each room a number between 0 and 6. As the garden is not a room, we will call it zero. I...

How To Remember Directions

If you want to join the ranks of London's 23,000 drivers of black taxis, you first have to pass a gruelling test known as 'the Knowledge'. Among other things, it requires that you learn 468 routes around the capital, including 5,500 roads, and a whole host of museums, churches, hospitals, railway and police stations, theatres, parks, and other landmarks. It's hardly surprising that the success rate for passing is a mere 30 per cent. . In 1992, I was asked by Auto Express, a motoring magazine,...

Rich Pickings

Today, there are signs that swp manufacturers have grown tired of trying to outwit the professional player. Machines have been introduced with 10,000 questions, but they have suffered a similar, if slower fate to the others. At the 1993 trade fair for the amusement arcade industry (ate at Earl's court in January), there was only one new quiz machine on display Brainbox. It offers a maximum cash prize of 6 and boasts over 12,000 questions. (The questions are generated randomly, and a second data...

How To Win At Blackjack

Soon after I had learnt how to memorize playing cards, it occurred to me that there must be a way of cashing in on my new found ability. Blackjack m seemed like a natural target. It involved skill (unlike roulette or dice, which are based on pure chance), and I was already familiar with the game. I also felt there was a score to be settled I had lost many more times than I had ever won I had always thought that beating the bank was a romantic but ill-con-ceived notion - the stuff of fiction and...

Telephone Numbers

We now come to phone numbers themselves. Take the phone number 0122 524593, an ordinary ten-digit number. Apply exactly the same principles as before. The first stage is to break this number down into pairs of digits. 01 - 22 -52 - 45 - 93. And then translate them into letters OA - BB - EB - DE -NC. We are then reminded of five images of people and their actions Ossie Ardiles (playing football) Betty Boothroyd (banging, order ) Eric Bristow (playing darts) Duke Ellington (playing piano) Nadia...

Health Warning

It is very easy to get out of shape playing quiz machines. The smoky atmosphere of a pub and the constant temptation to drink are not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Some people play better after one pint of beer. My own experience suggests that the brain performs best without any alcohol. The one thing you must watch out for, however, is the sort of landlord who might get difficult if you order tomato juices all night. The legend of F.E.Y. lives on in pubs around Britain, even though the man...

The Use Of People

According to the author of Ad Herrenium, certain images stick in the mind, others don't adopting the tone of a psychologist, he sets out to find the most memorable image. 'If we sec or hear something exceptionally base, dishonourable, unusual, great, unbelievable, or ridiculous, we are likely to remember it for a long time. We ought then to set up images of a kind that can adhere longest in memory. And we shall do so if we establish similitudes as striking as possible if we set up images that...

The Moment Of Truth

As I said earlier, the card-counter's skill is to predict which cards arc left in the shoe. People do this in a variety of ways, some more subtle than others. My approach, a variation on existing methods, is to assign a very specific value to each card as it is dealt. A high card has a minus value, and a low card has a plus value. (They range from approximately -2 to +2.) As the shoe progresses, I keep a running total of the overall value, which I divide by a figure (anything between 1 and 8)...

The Calculation

To work out the day of the week, simply add together the three codes year, month, day. Once again, if the grand total is more than 7 (9 for example), simply cast out as many 7s as you can, leaving 2 a Monday. 1. Day code 22 cast out three 7s, leaving 1 2. Month code October OCTopus on telegraph pole 3. Year code 1906 OS Omar Sharif playing backgammon in garden The total tells us the day of the week 2nd. 22 October 1906 was a Monday. 1. Day code 31, cast out four 7s, leaving 3 2. Month code...

Learning The Fa

If you are one of those people who likes to know who won in the 1949 FA Cup final (Wolverhampton Wanderers), or which horse won the Grand National in 1909 (Lutteur III), then this chapter is for you. Before I go on, however, 1 must declare a disinterest I am not a football fanatic. I just happen to know the results of every FA cup match since its inception back in 1872 (when the final was held at the Kennington Oval and the Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers 1-0). As Leslie Welch discovered in...

Back To The Drawing Board

I was convinced that I was being barred because of my betting strategy. Most of the time, I would stake the minimum permitted amount (usually 5). When I calculated a clear advantage, however, I would raise it to 25, 50, or 100. Increasing it by a factor of twenty inevitably attracted the attention of the casino inspectors, but it was the only way I could capitalize on the odds. Or so I thought. Back at the drawing board, I read all the best books on the game and managed to acquire a print-out...

High Rollers

Set apart from the hoi polloi of small-time card-counters are a handful of supreme professionals, or 'high rollers1. They can make upwards of 500,000 tax-free, annually. Utterly dedicated to their work, these are the card-counting elite. They operate either 011 their own or in small groups, and are virtually impossible to identify. They are always on the move, flying from one country to the next, constantly changing their identities and adopting a variety of disguises. Most of them are American...

The Game

The object of blackjack is for the player to be dealt cards that add up to 21, or as close as possible, without 'busting'. The opposing dealer must draw cards totalling a minimum of 17. Whoever is closest to 21 wins that particular hand. The skill, for the player, lies in deciding how many cards he or she should draw, relative to the degree of risk. As is my nature (my stubborn streak again), I wanted to work out whether it was possible to gain an edge over the dealer. I proceeded to deal...

Fade To Grey

Don't be worried about cramming your head full of bizarre images. Mnemonics of this sort are servants, and can be hired or fired at will. Their sole purpose is to act as aides-memoires until the information has been properly absorbed, at which point they will fade away, leaving the data firmly in place. Facts will soon be rolling off the tongue without a moment's thought Boston Massachusetts Phoenix, Arizona Washington, D.C. You certainly won't have to keep referring back to your galaxy of...

New Method For Learning Languages

The method I am about to show you is so effective and simple that I would expect you to learn a new language in a matter of days and weeks rather than months and years. Foreign words can be learnt and memorized after just one reading at an accelerated rate of approximately 50 to 150 words per hour. This means that a basic vocabulary of 2,000 words could be learnt after just twenty hours' study. My personal best, using this method, is 320 new German words in an hour (after one sighting of each...

Complex Binary Images

Consequently, if you want to remember 011100111111, you just have to memorize the complex image for 2533 Brian Epstein flexing a cane. (25 BE Brian Epstein 33 CC Charlie Chaplin, whose action is flexing a cane). When you look closely at a photograph in a newspaper or a magazine, you see a whole mass of tiny dots. Under a magnifying glass, they appear meaningless it's only when you stand back that they 'condense' into a picture that makes sense. A similar process is going on here you are...

The Mental Diary

The easiest way to honour appointments is by writing them down in a diary, but there will always be occasions when you have left it behind, or it is not mm practical to carry one around with you. Large yearly planners can be particularly cumbersome, and even the latest in electronic personal organizers can occasionally go on the blink In this chapter, I want to introduce you to an alternative way of remembering appointments the mental diary. Sadly, our dependence on wall planners, desk charts,...

How To Remember More Thaw Owe Pack Of Carps

This is not as daunting as it might sound. For each new pack, I plan a new journey. When I memorized 35 packs of cards, I had previously mapped out 35 different routes. I don't expect many people to attempt 35 packs. You have to be slightly unhinged to put yourself through that particular agony. (It took me thirteen hours.) But if you do want to move on to multiple packs, there arc one or two tips and pitfalls to look out for. When I was attempting the world record, it took the invigilators...

The Mental Intray

One thing my turn to do the shopping. And the sight of my aunt in tears, pouring her heart out to the somewhat bemused hotel receptionist, is a sharp reminder that a letter is well overdue. Priority is not important. Once all your worries are out in the open and pleasant surroundings of your journey, you will have an equal awareness of each of them, allowing you to get them into some sort of perspective. A mental in-tray has many other uses. I find it invaluable when I am attending a meeting,...

Thi Golf Swing

The person we have to thank for the golf swing as we know it today is Harry Vardon, the British professional who dominated the game at the turn of the century. He won the British Open six times and the US Open once. Before Vardon, players used the 'classical swing', hitting the ball long and low, but not very accurately. Vardon's style was to hit the ball higher in the air, causing it to land at steeper angle and stop more quickly. It resulted in much greater accuracy and gave rise to the...

Leslie Welch

Leslie Welch is perhaps the best-know n Memory Man of all. Often referred to as a walking sports encyclopaedia, he became famous for his ability to answer almost any question on football, horse racing and cricket. He played to packed music halls in the late 1940s and 1950s, bewildering audiences wherever he went. Millions tuned into his radio shows and he was soon earning 11,000 a year. Then it all went wrong. He ended his working life as a 25-a-wcck accountant for the Department of Employment....