Review: The Magic of Memory

Published on Sunday, August 12, 2007 in , , , , , ,

The Magic of Memory: Phonetic MnemonicsDr. Thomas Harrington has recently released an excellent new PDF e-book called The Magic of Memory: Phonetic Mnemonics.

Unlike most memory books, which try to cover as many aspects of the topic as possible, The Magic of Memory focuses solely on the phonetic alphabet. The phonetic alphabet will be familiar to many in the Brain Gang (that is, Grey Matters readers). If you're not familiar with it, see the explanations of the Major System in the Memory Basics section.

After Dr. Harrington finishes the basics of the system, he teaches how to use them to help remember mathematical constants. Once he finishes with the basics, however, he quickly begins taking the system in new directions!

One technique which is discussed here, but is rarely covered in great detail elsewhere, is the Memory Chart, or “trellis”, as Dr. Harrington calls it. Not only is it discussed in detail here, there are numerous trellises offered for use. They range from a classic list of nouns, as discussed in the Roth Memory Course, to an original 100-proper-name trellis.

Next, an original approach to the classic Day of the Week For Any Date feat is proposed. Above and beyond the classic approach, Dr. Harrington's approach can even enable to determine the time between any 2 given dates in the same year! The discussion of dates wraps up with a lesson in remembering the birth years of famous artists.

Another rarely-discussed mnemonic topic, that of clustering, is then examined. Clustering is using the same links for several items, such as the order of the elements and the order of the U.S. Presidents.

From here, several topics are covered using the techniques discussed, such as memorizing details on a map, playing cards, and long numerical sequences. There's even an excellent examination on the use of verbs alongside the traditional nouns.

As an added bonus, two mnemonic dictionaries are included. The first simply gives mnemonic words for each of the numbers 1-1000. The second dictionary contains the numeric sequences for a majority of the most commonly used words in the English language. This dictionary is so detailed, that it takes up over 90 pages of the book itself!

If you are interested in the phonetic alphabet, whether you're a new or veteran mnemonist, I highly recommend The Magic of Memory: Phonetic Mnemonics. The thorough examination makes it a valuable aid, even if the mnemonic dictionaries weren't included.

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