Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer

77%

54 Critic Reviews

As Mr. Foer's own occasional absent-mindedness should remind us, the human memory is a complicated, confounding subject. Yet, in the end, "Moonwalking With Einstein" proves uplifting: It shows that with motivation, focus and a few clever tricks, our minds can do rather extraordinary things.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

The blockbuster phenomenon that charts an amazing journey of the mind while revolutionizing our concept of memory.

An instant bestseller that is poised to become a classic, Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer's yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top "mental athletes". He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist's trade to transform our understanding of human memory. From the United States Memory Championship to deep within the author's own mind, this is an electrifying work of journalism that reminds us that, in every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.

 

About Joshua Foer

See more books from this Author
JOSHUA FOER has written for National Geographic, Esquire, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Slate.
 
Published March 3, 2011 by Penguin Books. 317 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Self Help, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Mar 27 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for Moonwalking With Einstein
All: 54 | Positive: 46 | Negative: 8

Kirkus

Excellent
on Dec 01 2010

He offers fascinating and accessible explorations into the workings of the brain. . .

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Alexandra Horowitz on Mar 11 2011

Discussing the neurological underpinnings of memory, he repeats some commonly held myths about it...

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Mar 07 2011

His narrative is smart and funny. . .it’s informed by a humanism that enables its author to place the mysteries of the brain within a larger philosophical and cultural context.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Tim Radford on Nov 21 2012

Moonwalking with Einstein is huge fun to read, intellectually rewarding and chronicles a lot of drunk and nerdy behaviour. But what in the end does Foer gain from his newfound capacity for total recall under testing conditions? A good book, certainly, and a better memory – but not vastly better.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Tim Radford on Nov 21 2012

It's a good way to explore a certain kind of science, especially the essentially subjective science of memory.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Peter Conrad on Apr 16 2011

...by telling the story all over again five years later, he is hoping to prolong his meagre allocation of fame and persuade the world to remember his name. But I have too much on my mind, and now intend to exercise my prerogative as a thinker by forgetting him.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Peter Conrad on Apr 16 2011

Foer's self-improvement manual reads like the script for a reality TV series. . .

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Oliver Burkeman on Apr 08 2011

. . .it is Foer's detours down other side-streets of memory that make for some of the book's most compelling moments.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Dr Joseph S Maresca on Mar 10 2013

Moonwalking With Einstein is a wonderful book on the dynamics of memory...The author provides many different examples of how people utilize memory to the maximum extent possible through a variety of techniques which involve rote memorization, intuition, compartmentalization, association and other vehicles described at length in the book.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Vinton Rafe McCabe on Nov 26 2011

Without that sore-thumb of a chapter, Moonwalking with Einstein would be a nearly perfect thing, a book that combines a skillful, literate look into how memory functions, and why it is so very important to us individually and culturally with a lush, sweet coating of its setting...

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WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by ELIZABETH F. LOFTUS on Mar 05 2011

As Mr. Foer's own occasional absent-mindedness should remind us, the human memory is a complicated, confounding subject. Yet, in the end, "Moonwalking With Einstein" proves uplifting: It shows that with motivation, focus and a few clever tricks, our minds can do rather extraordinary things.

Read Full Review of Moonwalking With Einstein | See more reviews from WSJ online

WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Elizabeth Loftus on Mar 05 2011

. . .his account implies that all our past experiences are actually lurking somewhere in the brain. . .scientists have been debating the permanence of memory for decades. . .many reject the idea. . .

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Financial Times

Above average
Reviewed by Kevin Jackson on Apr 01 2011

His book’s simple three-act narrative (discovery, training and competition) serves as a kind of picture rail from which Foer can hang other information about the art of memory.

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Financial Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Kevin Jackson on Apr 01 2011

. . .he has a gift for communicating fairly complex ideas in a manner that is palatable without being patronising.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Keith Staskiewicz on Feb 23 2011

...decided to train for the competition, using shuffled cards and thousand-digit integers as his weights and treadmills. But that’s just the skeleton on which Foer hangs a fascinating scientific analysis of mnemonic mysteries.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Marie Arana on Mar 04 2011

. . .reminds us that though brain science is a wild frontier and the mechanics of memory little understood, our minds are capable of epic achievements.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by Mark Turner on May 06 2011

Always fascinating and frequently mind-boggling, Moonwalking with Einstein is a book worth remembering.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Good
Reviewed by Jud Ashman on Mar 10 2011

While Foer ultimately fails to find the “world’s smartest person,” he succeeds in a much more important sense. He reminds us of our own capacity to remember, probing what our memories mean for the quality of our lives...

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Pajiba

Good
Reviewed by caitopotato on Mar 21 2012

I'm not about to strap on a pair of memory goggles and start training as Foer did, but his book was an enjoyable and informative glance at what's possible - maybe I too can actually learn people's names at parties and remember them if I run into one of them on the T.

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BookPage

Above average
Reviewed by Heather Seggel on Mar 01 2011

Our memories hold the content of our relationships and give us a context in which to view it—all the more reason to fine-tune this important and easily honed skill.

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BookPage

Excellent
Reviewed by Heather Seggel

Our memories hold the content of our relationships and give us a context in which to view it. . .

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The Seattle Times

Above average
Reviewed by Roger K. Miller on Mar 05 2011

In a curious and complex place, journalist Joshua Foer tells us in "Moonwalking With Einstein," a beguiling exploration of the manifold aspects of memory and memorizing...Oddly, he does not cover the rare individuals with phenomenal autobiographical memories that allow them to remember every day of their lives.

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Express

Above average
Reviewed by Leo Robson on Apr 08 2011

He does not tell his story as a salesman for mnemonic techniques...It is Foer’s gifts as a teacher and a storyteller that make this book essential reading.

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Oregon Live

Above average
Reviewed by Marc Covert on Mar 26 2011

While Foer's remarkable achievement makes for a compelling story, it would soon wear thin as the sole premise of a book or movie...points out that dismissing memory development and ignoring its long history as an important, worthwhile discipline is to completely miss the point.

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Tampa Bay Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Steven Rea on Apr 17 2011

. . .Foer's book is remarkable, and also remarkably practical.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Below average
Reviewed by Tess Taylor on Mar 14 2011

. . .this wonderful, rich, philosophical, well-written premise devolves over its 277 pages. . .By the end, even Foer seems tired. . .

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The Daily Beast

Excellent
Reviewed by Casey Schwartz on Mar 01 2011

One of the more intriguing ideas in Foer’s book: to know something, really, in the first place, is to memorize it.

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About.com Bestsellers

Good
Reviewed by Erin Collazo Miller on Nov 25 2016

Moonwalking with Einstein is the kind of book that can spark conversations. While reading it, I found myself saying to several people -- friends, my hair stylist, people I'd meet at a party -- how something they said reminded me of something from a book I was reading...

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Oprah.com

Excellent
Reviewed by David Ulin

. . .charming piece of participatory journalism. . .

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Boing Boing

Good
Reviewed by MARK FRAUENFELDER on Mar 24 2011

Moonwalking with Einstein brings Joshua Foer to the apex of the U.S. Memory Championship, and brings readers to a profound appreciation of a gift that we all possess, but that too often slips our minds.

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The Seattle Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Roger Miller on Mar 05 2011

. . .a beguiling exploration of the manifold aspects of memory and memorizing.

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The Spectator

Excellent
Reviewed by William Leith on Jun 04 2011

But Foer’s speculations are fascinating, and he slides you through this material effortlessly.

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Newcity Lit

Good
on Nov 26 2016

Even faced with that daunting bit of reality, the promise of improving the memory a little bit is compelling reason enough to read this wonderful first book.

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The Pacific Northwest Inlander

Above average
Reviewed by Terri Schlichenmeyer on Mar 30 2011

So if the old string-around-your-finger technique has failed you again, make a mental note and don’t forget this title: Moonwalking with Einstein.

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Scientific American

Excellent
Reviewed by Frank Bures on Mar 25 2011

. . .rich with information about the nature of memory and how it makes us who we are.

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Destination Wake Forest

Good
Reviewed by Julie on Apr 20 2012

If you are interested at all in the art of memory through the ages...I highly recommend Moonwalking with Einstein. I found it to be a fascinating look at how memory works.

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Mars Hill Online

Excellent
Reviewed by Michael Biornstad on Mar 28 2012

. . .an enlightening read with a valuable message for a society that has made technology its surrogate memory.

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EzineArticles

Above average
Reviewed by Steven M King on Dec 03 2011

Although the title seems a little bizarre, it is not until you are reading his blow-by-blow account of the championship that you realize that one of his "mental images," was Foer moonwalking with Einstein to help remember a playing card...This book is commended as a good read of an interesting memory challenge.

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Luxury Reading

Good
Reviewed by Erin McKibbin on Mar 30 2011

Joshua Foer does a fantastic job in proving that with largely forgotten methods, we can all improve our memories.

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Sophisticated Dorkiness

Good
Reviewed by Kim on Mar 09 2011

Foer’s book is wonderful when exploring the ideas of memory, but lacks the same sort of passion when Foer focuses on himself and tying his experiences to broader themes.

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Between The Covers

Above average
Reviewed by Heather on Jun 06 2011

It’s entertaining and interesting, very well-written and very well-researched, and I think the memory techniques it teaches have the potential to be quite helpful in certain situations.

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No Charge Bookbunch

Above average
on Apr 05 2011

Moonwalking with Einstein might have you seeing the world differently. You may learn how to memorize a poem, and even pick up some visuals you can use to help you remember where you parked the car.

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So Many Books

Good
Reviewed by Stefanie on Jan 08 2012

Moonwalking turned out to be a fun read with just the right mix of the science of memory and the quirky people who compete in memorization championships.

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BookPeople's Blog

Good
Reviewed by Jenn S. on Mar 07 2012

Part Oliver Saks, part memoir, part plain old self-help guide, Moonwalking with Einstein is a piece of new nonfiction I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

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TLC Book Tours

Above average
Reviewed by Trish on Jan 03 2011

Moonwalking with Einstein brings Joshua Foer to the apex of the U.S. Memory Championship and readers to a profound appreciation of a gift we all possess but that too often slips our minds.

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http://timlepczyk.com

Good
Reviewed by Tim on Apr 22 2012

Overall, it creates a book which showcases how one person was able to train their memory in an extraordinary way while providing context for those techniques. Moonwalking with Einstein is a wonderful book that is deeply reflective of the human mind.

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Man of la Book

Above average
Reviewed by Zohar on Mar 07 2011

The path we find ourselves going along with Mr. Foer on his journey is delightful, inventing and funny, the people he meets are interesting and quirky.

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Leadership and Learning

Good
on Jun 13 2011

The book falls a bit short as simply a story about that journey, but it excels in other areas. It provides more insight and specific examples about the deliberate practice research that has been written about in books including Outliers and Talent is Overrated...

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Getting Oriented, The Novel

Above average
Reviewed by Wally Wood on Apr 08 2013

The "tricks" for improving your memory (of certain things) have been known for a couple thousand years. I don't think there is anything new about how to improve your memory, and Moonwalking with Einstein is not really a how-to book anyway.

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Gates Notes

Good
Reviewed by Bill Gates on Sep 12 2012

The book reminds us that we all start off with pretty much the same tools for the most part, and we can be intentional about strengthening them, or not.

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Phronk

Good
Reviewed by Phronk on Feb 05 2012

By wrapping fascinating facts and anecdotes about memory up with his own story, Foer keeps it riveting throughout. This is one of those books that I literally had trouble putting down. Anyone with even a passing interest in the human mind should remember to stick Moonwalking With Einstein in their brain hole.

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Bibliomantics

Good
Reviewed by Cassie-la on Sep 16 2011

While the book is an interesting look into the world of memory and the techniques one can use to train it, a lot of Foer’s discoveries cannot really be harnessed in every day life.

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Withered Papyrus

Good
on Oct 05 2013

A book that should definitely arouse your interest in mnemonics and will surely help you realize that if just another average guy like us, Joshua, could do it, then even we can do it - not to win any memory championship but to improvise our retention which definitely will be a great booster professionally and personally too.

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Yael Writes

Above average
Reviewed by Yael Grauer on May 15 2012

So if you thought of reading the book, but were hesitant because it’s all about dudes and these techniques couldn’t possibly work for you, I’d urge you to pick up a copy.

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Reader Rating for Moonwalking With Einstein
79%

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rahul 31 Jan 2013

This is a really entertaining book. It is encouraging to learn that a guy with an average memory can train to become a 'memory athlete' and commit anything he likes to memory. The concept of a 'mem...

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Mohit Aggarwal 31 Jan 2013

Very interesting read!

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