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Joshua Foer and "Moonwalking with Einstein" - and memory

Chances are you won’t remember much about this story after you’ve read it. But if you want to recall it line by line, Joshua Foer has a few tips for you.

Foer Foer is a journalist, author of Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering  Everything (Penguin, $26.95) — and the winner of the 2006 U.S. Memory Championship, a feat he began training for after observing the previous year’s competition and writing an article about it for Slate. Mesmerized, he watched competitors memorize a 50-line poem, 300 random words, 1,000 random digits and the order of a deck of playing cards and identify 99 photographic headshots, all within carefully prescribed times (we’re talking increments of 15 and 5 minutes here).

They were savants, Foer thought. But Brit Ed Cooke, at the time the 11th best memorizer in the world, laughed at that idea. “All of us here have average memories,” he said.

And Foer, who appears at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Books & Books in Coral Gables, wondered: Can anybody do this? Absolutely, Cooke said, and Foer went on to prove him right.

Click here to read how Foer - brother of novelist Jonathan Safran Foer - and the other memory fanatics use a "memory palace" to train for the events.



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