HACKING
YOUR MEMORY
Learn faster. Be smarter.
ABOUT ME
 Microsoft Developer – C#, F#
 Former Development Manager, US Airways, DaVita
Healthcare
 Former Enterprise Ar...
AGENDA
 Story telling: The Experiment
 The Case for Memorization
 Four Key Concepts
 Foundational Memory Hack: Engagin...
DISCLAIMERS AND APOLOGIES
THE EXPERIMENT
 Initial result: Seven plus or minus two
THE EXPERIMENT REVISED
 5 minutes.
 43 presidents.
 100% retention at two weeks.
 80% retention at four weeks.
1. Geor...
THE EXPERIMENT REVISED
1. African Lion
2. African Wild Dog
(cape hunting dog)
3. Aldabra Tortoise
4. Andean Bear
5. Arabia...
THE EXPERIMENT
 Initial result: Seven plus or minus two
 Final result: 100+
THE ECONOMICS OF MEMORY
 Premise: Memorization is very expensive.
 Premise: We are very busy.
 Premise: We have Google ...
Store information
here
Do thinking here
THE LIMITED ACCESS PROBLEM
See Pragmatic Thinking And
Learning, Andy Hunt
THE MENTAL TOOLBOX
Thinking Tools Memory Tools Imagination Tools Emotional Tools
Logic Repetition Brainstorming Cognitive ...
WHAT IS “EASY”?
 Imagine you have ten dollars in cash. You wish to
buy as many cookies as possible. Cookies sell for
$3.1...
A PARTIAL LIST OF AUTHORS WHO WROTE
ABOUT MEMORY TECHNIQUES
 Simonides (556 – 468 BC)
 Aristotle (384 – 322 BC)
 Cicero...
THOMAS AQUINAS – 1225-1274
A HISTORY OF ACCESSING INFORMATION
A HISTORY OF ACCESSING INFORMATION
EDUCATION IN THE MIDDLE AGES
 Trivium
 Grammar – the mechanics of language
 Logic – analysis and thinking
 Rhetoric – ...
THE CASE FOR MEMORY: SUMMARY
 There is evidence that having more facts in your brain
leads to better thinking. There is e...
KEY CONCEPT: MEMORY RULES
How the brain decides if something is worth
remembering:
1. Will it keep you from getting eaten ...
KEY CONCEPT: THE NETWORK
The problem is not storing the memory; the problem
is accessing the memory.
KEY CONCEPT: THE NETWORK
KEY CONCEPT: THE NETWORK
How do I make a memory
durable?
How do I make a memory
accessible?
KEY CONCEPT: MEMORY TYPES
 We suck at remembering
 Anything abstract
 Numbers
 Anything we aren’t emotionally engaged ...
KEY CONCEPT: MAKING IMAGES
“These ought to be full of ridiculous movement,
remarkable gesture, savage and cruel expression...
MEMORY TECHNIQUES
Memory
Natural
Memory
Artificial
Memory
Ad Verbum
(word for
word)
Ad Res
(concept or
summary)
USING ARTIFICIAL MEMORY
 Build your mental toolbox with memory techniques
for specific situations. Do the necessary prepa...
FOUNDATIONAL MEMORY HACK
ENGAGING YOUR MEMORY
1. Care.
2. Get emotional.
3. Make memory explicitly.
FOUNDATIONAL MEMORY HACK
SUBVERT LOCATION
 Many names for (basically) the same thing
 Method of Loci
 Memory Palace
 M...
MEMORIZATION DEFINED
The explicit, emotional, creative act of storing
information in your brain using a
disciplined, struc...
HOW TO REMEMBER
1. Develop a Memory Toolbox
2. Explicitly decide to remember
3. Use the right memory technique for the dat...
THE MENTAL TOOLBOX
Thinking Tools Memory Tools Imagination Tools Emotional Tools
Logic Method of Loci Brainstorming Cognit...
WHAT IF?
 What if you memorized a list of design patterns, their
uses, strengths, and weaknesses?
 What if you could eas...
ANYTHING?
Data Technique
All my credit card numbers, and
the 1-800 numbers to call if they
are stolen
Memory Coin
Work to-...
SUGGESTED READING
 Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
 Pragmatic Thinking and Learning by Andy Hunt
 Mindhacker b...
UNUSED SLIDES
PRO TIPS
 Live longer by defeating the “days speeding past”
problem.
 Meditation – twice a day, every day.
 Eastern med...
DEEP READING
 Survey – looking at chapters, headings, and
pictures
 Skim – Identify structure and important topics
 Rea...
THE MENTAL TOOLBOX
Thinking Tools Memory Tools Imagination Tools
Logic Brainstorming
Arithmetic Mind Maps
Algebra Meditati...
THE MENTAL TOOLBOX
Thinking Tools Memory Tools Imagination Tools
Logic Method of Loci Brainstorming
Algebra Peg System Min...
FOUNDATIONAL MEMORY HACK
BEATING THE NUMBERS
 01: Captain America
 02: Captain Marvel
 03: Deadpool
 04: Hawkeye
 05:...
Hacking your memory
Hacking your memory
Hacking your memory
Hacking your memory
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  • Apologies to Bloom for ignoring the other two domains (Affective and Psychomotor).
  • Hacking your memory

    1. 1. HACKING YOUR MEMORY Learn faster. Be smarter.
    2. 2. ABOUT ME  Microsoft Developer – C#, F#  Former Development Manager, US Airways, DaVita Healthcare  Former Enterprise Architect, US Airways  Consultant on SOA, EA practices, process engineering, team development  Related blog: http://TheSkillfulBrain.com
    3. 3. AGENDA  Story telling: The Experiment  The Case for Memorization  Four Key Concepts  Foundational Memory Hack: Engaging Your Memory  Foundational Memory Hack: Subverting Location  Foundational Memory Hack: Beating the Numbers  Wrap-up and Review  Resources
    4. 4. DISCLAIMERS AND APOLOGIES
    5. 5. THE EXPERIMENT  Initial result: Seven plus or minus two
    6. 6. THE EXPERIMENT REVISED  5 minutes.  43 presidents.  100% retention at two weeks.  80% retention at four weeks. 1. George Washington 2. John Adams 3. Thomas Jefferson 4. James Madison 5. James Monroe 6. John Quincy Adams 7. Andrew Jackson 8. Martin Van Buren 9. William Henry Harrison 10. John Tyler 11. James K. Polk 12. Zachary Taylor 13. Millard Fillmore 14. Franklin Pierce 15. James Buchanan 16. Abraham Lincoln 17. Andrew Johnson 18. Ulysses S. Grant 19. Rutherford B. Hayes 20. James A. Garfield 21. Chester A. Arthur 22. Grover Cleveland 23. Benjamin Harrison 24. Grover Cleveland (again) 25. William McKinley 26. Theodore Roosevelt 27. William Howard Taft 28. Woodrow Wilson 29. Warren G. Harding 30. Calvin Coolidge 31. Herbert Hoover 32. Franklin D. Roosevelt 33. Harry S. Truman 34. Dwight D. Eisenhower 35. John F. Kennedy 36. Lyndon B. Johnson 37. Richard Nixon 38. Gerald Ford 39. Jimmy Carter 40. Ronald Reagan 41. George H. W. Bush 42. Bill Clinton 43. George W Bush 44. Barack Obama
    7. 7. THE EXPERIMENT REVISED 1. African Lion 2. African Wild Dog (cape hunting dog) 3. Aldabra Tortoise 4. Andean Bear 5. Arabian Oryx 6. Asian Elephant 7. Bald Eagle 8. Bornean Orangutan 9. Capybara 10. Cheetah 11. Chilean Flamingo 12. Coyote 13. Crowned Pigeon 14. Desert Tortoise 15. Fennec Fox 16. Galapagos Tortoise 17. Golden Conure 18. Golden Lion Tamarin 19. Grevy Zebra 20. Hamadryas Baboon 21. Mandrill 22. Meerkat or Suricate 23. Mexican Gray Wolf 24. Mhorr Gazelle 25. Mountain Lion 26. Ocelot 27. Palawan Peacock Pheasant 28. Prairie Dog 29. Radiated Tortoise 30. Reticulated Giraffe 31. Rhinoceros Hornbill 32. Ring-tailed Lemur 33. Rothschild's Mynah 34. Spotted Necked Otter 35. Squirrel Monkey 36. Sumatran Tiger 37. Thick-billed Parrot 38. Warthog 39. White Faced Saki 40. White Rhinoceros
    8. 8. THE EXPERIMENT  Initial result: Seven plus or minus two  Final result: 100+
    9. 9. THE ECONOMICS OF MEMORY  Premise: Memorization is very expensive.  Premise: We are very busy.  Premise: We have Google and Bing.  Conclusion: Memorization isn’t cost effective.
    10. 10. Store information here Do thinking here
    11. 11. THE LIMITED ACCESS PROBLEM See Pragmatic Thinking And Learning, Andy Hunt
    12. 12. THE MENTAL TOOLBOX Thinking Tools Memory Tools Imagination Tools Emotional Tools Logic Repetition Brainstorming Cognitive Therapy Arithmetic Mind Maps Talk Therapy Algebra Meditation Meditation Calculus Collaborative Writing Stress Management Statistics Stream of Consciousness Family Counseling Critical Thinking Free Association Self-Help Books Etc… Etc… Etc…
    13. 13. WHAT IS “EASY”?  Imagine you have ten dollars in cash. You wish to buy as many cookies as possible. Cookies sell for $3.14 per box. How many boxes can you buy?  A passenger train is 20 miles per hour faster than a freight train. It takes the passenger train half as much time to travel 160 miles as the freight train. How fast are the trains?
    14. 14. A PARTIAL LIST OF AUTHORS WHO WROTE ABOUT MEMORY TECHNIQUES  Simonides (556 – 468 BC)  Aristotle (384 – 322 BC)  Cicero (106 – 43 BC)  Quintillian (35 – 100)  Hugh of St. Victor (1096 – 1141)  Alan of Lille (1120 – 1202?)  Boncompagno da Signa (1170 – 1240?)  Albertus Magnus (1193? – 1280)  Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274)  Thomas Bradwardine (1290 – 1349)  Francesc Eiximenis (1330? – 1409?)  John of Metz (13th Century)  Peter of Ravenna (1448 – 1508)
    15. 15. THOMAS AQUINAS – 1225-1274
    16. 16. A HISTORY OF ACCESSING INFORMATION
    17. 17. A HISTORY OF ACCESSING INFORMATION
    18. 18. EDUCATION IN THE MIDDLE AGES  Trivium  Grammar – the mechanics of language  Logic – analysis and thinking  Rhetoric – communication  Invention  Arrangement  Style  Memory  Delivery  Quadrivium  Geometry  Arithmetic  Astronomy  Music
    19. 19. THE CASE FOR MEMORY: SUMMARY  There is evidence that having more facts in your brain leads to better thinking. There is evidence that Google is not a substitute for knowing stuff.  Training in how to use memory was a foundational part of a classical education for hundreds of years.  The techniques work, but require considerable effort.  Imagine doing math without any kind of training. That’s what you’re currently doing with your memory.  Specific memory techniques exist to help you remember faces, numbers, conversations, large sections of text (word for word), large sections of text (Cliff Notes version), lists, sequences, and relations.
    20. 20. KEY CONCEPT: MEMORY RULES How the brain decides if something is worth remembering: 1. Will it keep you from getting eaten by a tiger? 2. Is it new? Is it novel? 3. Is it relevant for understanding social norms? a) Is it gossip? b) Does it illustrate where social boundaries are? 4. Is it emotionally charged? 5. Will it get you food, safety, or prestige? 6. …. 7. Lots and lots of repetition
    21. 21. KEY CONCEPT: THE NETWORK The problem is not storing the memory; the problem is accessing the memory.
    22. 22. KEY CONCEPT: THE NETWORK
    23. 23. KEY CONCEPT: THE NETWORK How do I make a memory durable? How do I make a memory accessible?
    24. 24. KEY CONCEPT: MEMORY TYPES  We suck at remembering  Anything abstract  Numbers  Anything we aren’t emotionally engaged with  Anything we perceive as routine  We excel at remembering  Location  Emotions  Sights  Smells
    25. 25. KEY CONCEPT: MAKING IMAGES “These ought to be full of ridiculous movement, remarkable gesture, savage and cruel expression, bewilderment, sadness, and severity. The reason for this is that things which are great, unbelievable, previously unseen, new, rare, unheard of, deplorable, exceptional, indecent, unique, or very beautiful convey a great amount to our mind, memory, and recollection. For extreme things excite the human senses and the human mind with greater force than do average things.” -The Second and Last Book of Images of Jacobus Publicus (1485 or 1490)
    26. 26. MEMORY TECHNIQUES Memory Natural Memory Artificial Memory Ad Verbum (word for word) Ad Res (concept or summary)
    27. 27. USING ARTIFICIAL MEMORY  Build your mental toolbox with memory techniques for specific situations. Do the necessary preparation work.  When you find something worth remembering:  Select the appropriate technique for the thing to be remembered  Follow the rules of the technique  Profit!!!
    28. 28. FOUNDATIONAL MEMORY HACK ENGAGING YOUR MEMORY 1. Care. 2. Get emotional. 3. Make memory explicitly.
    29. 29. FOUNDATIONAL MEMORY HACK SUBVERT LOCATION  Many names for (basically) the same thing  Method of Loci  Memory Palace  Memory Journey  Memory Theatre  Demo
    30. 30. MEMORIZATION DEFINED The explicit, emotional, creative act of storing information in your brain using a disciplined, structured approach. Memory does NOT “just happen”. Repetition, while often necessary, should be minimized.
    31. 31. HOW TO REMEMBER 1. Develop a Memory Toolbox 2. Explicitly decide to remember 3. Use the right memory technique for the data to be memorized
    32. 32. THE MENTAL TOOLBOX Thinking Tools Memory Tools Imagination Tools Emotional Tools Logic Method of Loci Brainstorming Cognitive Therapy Algebra Peg System Mind Maps Talk Therapy Calculus Major System Meditation Meditation Statistics Link System Collaborative Writing Stress Management Critical Thinking PAO System Stream of Consciousness Family Counseling Critical Analysis Dominic System Etc… Self-Help Books Etc… Chunking Etc… Memory Theatre Etc…
    33. 33. WHAT IF?  What if you memorized a list of design patterns, their uses, strengths, and weaknesses?  What if you could easily recall all the WCF hosting options, including their tradeoffs and which environments support which options?  What if you could quote the agile manifesto word for word? Or the 12 core principles of agile development?  Learning another language? What if the time to learn new vocabulary words was cut by a factor of 5? Or 10?  Learning another computer language? What if memorizing a list of ALL of the keywords took only an hour?  What if you could actually learn and visualize most of the .NET (or WinRT) namespaces?
    34. 34. ANYTHING? Data Technique All my credit card numbers, and the 1-800 numbers to call if they are stolen Memory Coin Work to-do lists Honey-do lists Shopping lists Memory Journey Any large framework, such as the .Net framework Memory Palace. Use floors, colors, or similar to represent hierarchy. Where I left my car keys Explicit Memory; Care Hamlet – all of it The Bible – all of it Harry Potter – all of it Memory Palace or Memory Theatre A new language; new vocabulary words Memory Journey + Letter Wheel Large blocks of numbers PAO System or Major System
    35. 35. SUGGESTED READING  Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer  Pragmatic Thinking and Learning by Andy Hunt  Mindhacker by Ron and Mary Hale-Evans  The Book of Memory by Mary Carruthers  Max Your Memory by Pascale Michelon  Any book by Mary Carruthers. In fact, just send her money for being cool.  Blog: http://theskillfulbrain.com  Rate: http://speakerrate.com/talks/23961-hacking- your-memory
    36. 36. UNUSED SLIDES
    37. 37. PRO TIPS  Live longer by defeating the “days speeding past” problem.  Meditation – twice a day, every day.  Eastern meditation for mood and focus.  Western meditation for memory.
    38. 38. DEEP READING  Survey – looking at chapters, headings, and pictures  Skim – Identify structure and important topics  Read  Write in the margins. Mark it up. Doodle.  Flag phrases, sections, or information to memorize  Memorize what you think is worth it  Meditate  Review major points without referencing the source  Imagine teaching the material to someone else
    39. 39. THE MENTAL TOOLBOX Thinking Tools Memory Tools Imagination Tools Logic Brainstorming Arithmetic Mind Maps Algebra Meditation Calculus Collaborative Writing Statistics Stream of Consciousness Critical Thinking Free Association Etc… Etc…
    40. 40. THE MENTAL TOOLBOX Thinking Tools Memory Tools Imagination Tools Logic Method of Loci Brainstorming Algebra Peg System Mind Maps Calculus Major System Meditation Statistics Link System Collaborative Writing Critical Thinking PAO System Stream of Consciousness Critical Analysis Dominic System Etc… Etc… Chunking Memory Theatre Etc…
    41. 41. FOUNDATIONAL MEMORY HACK BEATING THE NUMBERS  01: Captain America  02: Captain Marvel  03: Deadpool  04: Hawkeye  05: Hulk  06: Iron Man  07: Spider-Man  08: Spider-Woman  09: Thor  10: Wasp  11: Wolverine  12: Doctor Doom  13: Green Goblin  14: Red Skull  15: Batman  16: Superman  17: Wonder Woman  18: Walt Disney  19: Natalie Portman  20: Billy Crystal  21: Christopher Hitchens  22: Ellen Degeneris  23: Regina Spektor  24: Hugh Laurie  25: Omar Epps  26: Scott Guthrie  27: Lucille Ball  28: Pink  29: Mark Twain  30: Stephen Hawking  31: Albert Einstein  32: Carl Sagan  33: Darren Brown  34: Jennifer Anniston  35: Bill Gates  36: Natalie Imbruglia  37: Sam Harris  38: Ricky Gervais  39: Sandra Bullock  40: Adolf Hitler  41: Lenin  42: Stalin  43: George Washington  44: John Adams  45: Thomas Jefferson  46: Abraham Lincoln  47: Teddy Roosevelt  48: FDR  49: Harry Truman  50: Hymen Rickover  Etc…

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