I read a lot of these experiential journalism books. Some of these are call-in jobs that would have been better as a magazine article, but many, including this one (and Cork Dork), are entertaining edutainment in which a pretty smart person gets to do some pretty fun stuff and write about it for our enjoyment.
Here, the smart person is a Foer, but don’t let that stop you. It’s still an entertaining read. Foer learns to train his mind using centuries old memorization techniques to do things like remember long strings of numbers and packs of playing cards. Quickly, he gets very good, and soon enough is competing to have the best memory in the country. Along the way, he dives into the science of memory, the history of memorization, and the odd people who get obsessed with it.
I picked it up after Cal Newport mentioned it, and card memorization, in Deep Work and am inspired enough by the straight forwardness of the method to give it a try… when the kids are a little older and I’m sleeping a little more.
All in all, not a work of genius, but still, recommended for the experiential journalism enthusiast.