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There is a very interesting book on this topic - memory competitions - the book is about how ordinary people using an ancient Roman technique (Memory palace) becomes extraordinary memorizers. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything https://www.amazon.com/Moonwalking-Einstein-Science-Remember...

I could pickup the technique to help me in my day to day life. For very little investment in efforts it managed to drastically improve my life.

Context: I consider myself quite challenged when it comes to memorizing numbers.

The technique described in the book (and in this article) allowed me to remember details of a financial instrument which involves 32 numbers without any pattern. Whenever I have to use this instrument I have to input random 6 numbers out of those 32. Before I discovered this technique I had to pull out the hardcopy of the instrument every time for reference (it was painful - sometime it will be not in my possession, or it would be buried inside some cabinet etc.)

The technique that I use/adapted essentially is, I use mental map of a roadway which I’m intimately familiar with to place the 32 numbers on the various 32 landmark along the way (landmarks can be anything - a funny looking rock next to the road will also do. The key is one should be able to visualize it very clearly). So, whenever I need to retrieve numbers I mentally ’drive’ on the road and start checking out the landmarks. Example: I need to retrieve number corresponding to landmarks 5,9,15,20.. I start ‘driving’ reach landmark no. 5 and able to remember immediately this landmark is associated with number 29, then I move on and reach to next landmark, when I ‘reach’ that one I’m able to recollect that this landmark has number 89 associated with it, and so on…

Somewhere I read that it works so well because as a human species we have ability to remember geo spatial things much better than abstract things like numbers. I would guess that it has to do with our hunter-gatherer days when we were primarily dealing with spatial concepts; brain is hard wired to store those information much better than things like numbers.




Another good books to suggest are books written by Harry Lorayne[0]. You could also see his demonstrations in youtube. His books were published long before Moonwalking with Einstein, most of them are similar to Lorayne's system and I would recommend it for those who want to improve and train further on memorizing things.

Also for those who want a book that demonstrates the use of creating a memory palace, I would recommend The Memory Palace - Learn Anything and Everything[1]. You'll just learn the 37 plays of Shakespeare wherein almost of the descriptions were funny.

I also listen to a free audiobook Memory: How to Develop, Train and Use It by William Walker Atkinson[2].

[0] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Lorayne

[1] - https://www.amazon.com/Memory-Palace-Anything-Everything-Sha...

[2] - https://librivox.org/memory-how-to-develop-train-and-use-it-...


+1 for Harry Lorayne. I learned how to memorize long lists, numbers, dates, as well as decks of cards (backward, forward, by card number or if given a card, I'd call it's number in the deck). Fun stuff, and quite useful too.


And +1 for William Walker Atkinson. That man has written so much it's incredible.

Also highly recommended by Mr. Atkinson: The Power of Concentration (under his pen name Theron Q. Dumont) .


For numbers, I think mapping them to consonants helps: 1-> t/d, 2 -> n (as it has two things on bottom), 3 -> m (3 things on bottom), 4 -> r (ends in r), 5 -> l, 6 -> j/ch, 7 -> g/k, 8 -> f/ph, 9 -> p/b. Now plug in some vowels and make words / a sentence for whatever numbers you need, e.g. mud riddle -> 31415 -> 3.1415. I forgot where I learned this many years ago, but its probably on some random website.



According to your technique "mud riddle" should map to 314115. There're two d's. Anyway, the method seems interesting.


It's called the major system and it's based off the sonority rather than the spelling. Great system.


But then how do you remember a number that really does have repeated digits? I'd never be able to remember my phone number under this system.


To remember the number 1111, `to do today`. Or even "today today".

You construct words by mapping consonant sounds to numbers and using whatever vowels you need to construct words.

Other people learn gibberish sentences instead. They break down the number into groups of two, three, or four and use pre-memorized words for each group of words.

So to memorize the number "102457692" they might break it up into three groups: 102, 457, 692. Then they have a word memorized for "102" (ton) and a word for "457" (rolling), and "692" (cheapen). They memorize the number as `ton rolling cheapen`.

Words are easier to memorize than numbers, even if the words don't form proper sentences.


Most memorizers have preset mnemonic images for each number -- usually 0-9 and 00-99. Competitors often have images for 000-999 to further reduce repeated images.

Example: 123-555-2222

123 is always encoded as "tomb" in my phonetic system. 555 is always lilacs. 22 is always an onion.

When an image repeats, I place a mirror at that spot.

So 123-555-2222 becomes: a tomb, lilacs, an onion, and an mirror. I store them in a certain order with a story to keep them in order.


You can intersperse the vowels and the letters w, h, y anywhere you like.


Can confirm this works amazingly well. A buddy and I used to do this in a high school class. We'd give each other lists of 50 random words and have them memorized in a minute or so by 'attaching' them to items in the room. It's surprising how long those attachments were maintained.


Moonwalking is a fascinating book, but it is not actually a how-to-memorize-things book. It only mentions various techniques. See other comments here for Harry Lorayne's books if you just want nuts and bolts on how to memorize things.


When you are recalling these long numbers, how do you actually do it? The road construct sounds like it would take quite awhile as you 'drive down the road'. Do you write each number down, pause and recollect the next number, write it down, pause and recollect... etc.? How does this work if there people around? It sounds like you would need some quiet to do this. Thanks.


> The road construct sounds like it would take quite awhile as you 'drive down the road...

Not really. I phrased it that way ("driving down") for a simple explanation. I actually zip around at light speed on that road :-). After doing it for a while I can now 'jump' from landmark to landmark instantly.

> Do you write each number down, pause and recollect the next number, write it down, pause and recollect...

Yes. The moment I get a number I enter that in a text field (I'm actually using this to fill up a bank form for completing financial transactions). It does not matter if I'm in a noisy place or not, it does not need super focus or anything like that.


Interesting. Do you re-use the same map for remembering different numbers?


Good question. Actually no, once I tried doing it and it was a mess. But it could be due to my limited capacity of handling numbers. YMMV.




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