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I'm not sure it's possible to not use a mnemonic device. Our brains record information by association, which, by definition, is a mnemonic device.

I highly recommend reading Moonwalking with Einstein. It's about a journalist who got interested in memory competitions and, with a lot of practice, ended up winning the US memory championship. Anyone can do it.

[0] http://www.amazon.com/Moonwalking-Einstein-Science-Rememberi...

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